Instant Replay: Braves 7, Giants 3


Instant Replay: Braves 7, Giants 3


SAN FRANCISCO Cant win em all. Isnt that what they say?

After the Giants had played just about as well as they can play in winning seven of eight and five in a row, the streak ended with a thud, a 7-3 loss to the Braves on Saturday at AT&T Park.

The Giants did a little of everything wrong. Madison Bumgarner had a shaky outing, including trouble with the opposing pitcher. The Giants offense was stymied by lefty Mike Minor and the hitters didnt wake up until he was out of the game.

And then, just when a quiet afternoon turned exciting on a Gregor Blancos two-run double that brought them within a run in the seventh, the Giants bullpen had an eighth-inning meltdown that put them back in a three-run hole.

Starting pitching report
Bumgarner, who will have to wait until his next start to try to become the Giants first left-handed 15-game winner since Shawn Estes in 2000, was pretty good except for a few costly lapses.

Bumgarner issued four walks, equaling his season high, and none was more regrettable than a leadoff walk to Minor in the third. Walking any pitcher is bad, but walking Minor is truly unforgivable. He came into the game batting .024. He had one hit and one walk in 45 plate appearances this season.

Bumgarner walked him, and then an out later he walked Martin Prado. Then he missed his location to Jason Heyward, and it really cost him. Catcher Buster Posey was set up outside for the 1-0 fastball to Heyward, but Bumgarner left it over the inner half of the plate, right where Heyward likes it, and he jacked it over the right-field fence for his second homer in as many days.

After that, Bumgarner didnt give up another run until the seventh when he gave up a double off the wall to Minor. Yes, his second hit of the year. Michael Bourn then singled up the middle to drive in Minor with the fourth run of the game.

Bullpen report
The eighth inning was the killer. Just after the bullpen had escaped a jam in the seventh and the Giants hitters had rallied to within a run in the bottom of the inning, Clay Hensley started the eighth. He allowed three of the four batters he faced to reach base, and he left with the bases loaded.

Jeremy Affeldt got the first out, but then he walked Michael Bourn and Martin Prado, forcing in two runs and allowing the Braves to push their lead back to three runs.

Affeldt has given up six hits and six walks in four innings in his past six games.

Eric Hacker then gave up another run in the ninth.

Before that, George Kontos and Jose Mijares had done their job in the seventh. Kontos would have retired the only batter he faced if not for his own error. Mijares then got Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, the Braves dangerous lefties, to hold the Braves at four runs.

At the plate
The Giants didnt do much with Minor, and they probably got a break when Braves
manager Fredi Gonzalez gave his lefty a quick hook in the seventh inning.

Minor had a 2.29 ERA in his previous eight starts and hed stymied the Giants on one run and four hits with two outs in the seventh. Rookie Francisco Peguero, who had not looked good in the first two at-bats of his career, was due. But Gonzalez pulled Minor in favor of right-hander Chad Durbin, and that prompted Bruce Bochy to bring former Brave, Blanco, off the bench. He delivered a two-run double to get the Giants back into the game.

That hit woke up a Giants team that had been virtually silent against Minor.

Marco Scutaro singled in the first, but then the next 11 Giants hitters went down before they got a rally started when Hunter Pence was hit by a pitch. Joaquin Arias then smoked a double into left on a pretty good pitch, up and in, by the way to move Pence to third. Belts well-placed grounder drove in Pence and moved Arias to third with one out, but the Giants couldnt get Arias in.

Peguero had the chance to knock in Arias simply by putting a ball into play, but he struck out.

Even sizzling Angel Pagan, who had four hits on Friday night and an eight-game hitting streak, went hitless.

In the field
Scutaro had a great day at second base. His biggest play was a diving stop of a Heyward grounder with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning. He also made a nice play to get a force in the seventh, and he ranged over the middle to start a double play in the fourth inning.

Arias, at shortstop, had a day when nothing was routine. He had to go into the hole in the first to try to nab Martin Prados hot smash, and it got past him for a hit. Then he went over the middle to make the play on Paul Janish in the second. In the seventh he went back to his right against Janish, and this time he made a nice play, with Belt making a nice play on the one-hop throw. Arias also couldnt handle a throw from Posey on a stolen base attempt in the fifth. Poseys throw was wide, and the catcher was charged with the error, but Arias got his glove on it.

The ball found Peguero in a huge spot in his first inning in the big leagues. With two on and two outs, David Ross smoked one toward the left field fence, and Peguero had to race back and make a nice running catch to save at least two runs.

Kontos tried to hurry to get the lead runner on Prados dribbler in the seventh. Instead, he mishandled the ball for an error and he got nothing.

It was the 148th consecutive regular season sellout at AT&T Park, with an announced crowd of 41,679.

Up Next
The Giants finish this homstand yep, thats it, just four games with a 5:06 p.m. start against the Braves. The game was scheduled for 1:05 but it was moved back for ESPNs Sunday Night Baseball. The pitching matchup is a good one, with Tim Lincecum (7-13, 5.30) taking the mound against Tim Hudson (12-4, 3.69). A national TV appearance will certainly put a big spotlight on Lincecums struggles. Although the season ERA is still ugly, Lincecu has a 3.03 ERA in his past five starts.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami


SAN FRANCISCO — The flight from Miami to San Francisco is one of the longest in the league. It will not be a happy one.

The Giants fell behind early and never recovered, losing 8-1 in the series finale with the Marlins. The Giants had won six of nine entering the road trip. They dropped a series in Washington D.C. and then lost two of three to the Marlins. 

You are here already, so here are five things to know … 

—- Matt Cain deserved better in the first, and it was kind of a stunning error that cost him. With two outs, Brandon Crawford dropped a liner that was hit right at him. The next batter, Tomas Telis, hit a two-run double. 

—- Cain was charged with five runs in four innings, but only two of them were earned. He struck out seven and walked just one, showing a good curveball throughout. Several times, he dropped down for a new look. Like I said, he deserved a bit better than that final line. 

—- Pablo Sandoval’s walk in the eighth was his first since returning to the Giants. His numbers, by the way, are right in line with his Boston numbers. 

—- Albert Suarez has seen his stuff take a tick up during this stint with the Giants, but it’s not leading to results. After giving up a walk-off grand slam on Sunday, he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings in relief of Cain. Suarez currently has a 7.43 ERA. 

—- Giancarlo Stanton was 2 for 4 with two singles. His run of six games with a homer came to an end. I suppose that’s a small victory for the Giants?

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective


Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

Because we are too cool to allow the games to sustain us and because we all think the purpose of sports is actually not to be the best player but the general manager, the new item on the baseball menu is not the pennant races but “Where should Giancarlo Stanton go?”

The usual suspects are listed – the Yankees, the Giants, the Chunichi Dragons, Real Madrid – and the $295 million still on his contract is not considered an impediment.

But the logic behind the Marlins keeping him is just as clear and more pressing. Namely, Bruce Sherman, the incoming owner, and Derek Jeter, the designated face, did not buy this team and promptly try to make themselves detested by the few people who still care about it.

So far, we know that the monstrous thing in center field (no, not Christian Yelich) is likely to be torn down, and that Stanton is don’t-go-to-the-bathroom-during-his-half-inning entertainment. Beyond that, we know only that the Marlins draw when they win a lot and barely at all the rest of the time. They are clearly a distant third in a four-team race with the Dolphins and Heat for people’s hearts, and now that hating Jeffrey Loria’s living guts are off the table for the fans, there really is no there, there.

So what’s the up-side of moving Stanton (and before we go any further, the Giants don’t have nearly enough assets to make that work, so calm the hell down) for the Marlins? Prospects, the dark hole that makes a three-year plan a six-year plan.

And the down-side? Sherman may as well move the team for the level of fun he’ll get from it, and the only reason to buy a team looking at a $60 million loss is for the fun. Besides, onlky a very few owners have ever made the full turn from villain to hero – the first impression almost always lasts forever.

So while Stanton may create immediate wallet relief for this aggressively average team (their current record of 57-61 is the 12th best in their 25-year history, and they’ve only had eight winning seasons ever), they also have nothing to sell the fans that they have to live with every day. And if they don’t have enough fans . . . well, I hear San Jose is always hot for a mediocre franchise that lurches between spending money and hoarding it.