Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2


Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2


SAN FRANCISCO When a full double rainbow stretched spectacularly over the AT&T Park scoreboard in the first inning, it seemed an omen to the home crowd that the Giants would win Wednesday night, but Trevor Cahill's sinker was dialed in and Madison Bumgarner prolonged the stretch of starters' struggles to eight games. Not even a benches-clearing scrum could spur a Giants comeback as San Francisco dropped the series to the Diamondbacks with a 6-2 loss.Starting pitching report:With a chance to become the first Giants left-hander to win 15 games in a season since Shawn Estes did so in 2000, and the first Giants starter to pitch into the eighth inning since Matt Cain did so on Aug. 28, Bumgarner failed to accomplish either feat.The Giants needed Bumgarner to go deep Wednesday, after using 10 relief pitchers over seven and two-thirds innings on Tuesday. The 23-year-old southpaw retired Trevor Cahill to start the seventh inning before Adam Eaton and Aaron Hill coaxed Giants manager Bruce Bochy to the mound with a single and a run-scoring double.Bumgarner didn't look sharp from the get-go. Eaton roped the second pitch of the game up the middle for a single, spurring a 22-pitch first frame from Bumgarner that included Miguel Montero's run-scoring single. Chris Johnson connected with a 87-mph slider in the fourth inning and it stayed hit for a long time, dropping between Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence square in Triple's Alley ... for a triple. In a strikeout situation with one out, Bumgarner locked in and got Gerardo Parra for the second time in two at-bats, and looked like he escaped the inning when a flare by shortstop John McDonald was corralled in on a dive by Xavier Nady. Wearing No. 12 for the first time, Nady held the ball up high, but third base umpire Greg Gibson correctly ruled McDonald safe on a trap, allowing Johnson to cross home plate and push Arizona's lead to two.RELATED: Giants' Nady set for MRI after straining hamstring
Bumgarner dialed back in until his undoing in the seventh, and he finished with six and one-third innings pitched and four earned runs allowed. It lowered Giants starters' ERA over their last eight games from 7.88 to 7.51.Bullpen report:Jean Machi was the first reliever out of the bullpen, inheriting Bumgarner's runner at third base. He got Justin Upton looking, but Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero and Chris Johnson went single-single-double and broke the game open, pushing their lead to 6-0 before Jose Mijares recorded the final out.Brad Penny pitched the eighth, and aside from the benches-clearing conversation -- detailed in the In the field segment below -- it was uneventful.Dan Runzler began the ninth. Dan Otero finished it.With the bats:Over their past seven games, the Giants averaged 6.43 runs per game -- over two more than their season average. They needed to take the "over" to beat the Diamondbacks Wednesday, and it wasn't happening against former Athletic Trevor Cahill, nor was it happening against Arizona's bullpen, thanks in large part to the double play.Cahill, who lost both his prior starts against the Giants this season with a 6.17 ERA, pitched like he was still in Green and Gold. As an Athletic, Cahill was 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA in four starts against San Francisco.Cahill was perfect through five and one-third innings, and his sinker was in fine form in the third, freezing Xavier Nady, Brandon Crawford and Madison Bumgarner in succession. Crawford's final strike looked to be low, but with Cahill pounding the strike zone, there's no excuse for not getting the bat off the shoulder.Crawford's eye would be vindicated in the sixth, though, when he took four balls and walked to first base to break up the perfect game. The no hitter lasted another two outs, as Marco Scutaro delivered the Giants' first hit of the game with a solid base knock to right field to lead off the bottom of the seventh.AT&T Park came to life as Buster Posey singled, Hunter Pence walked, and Brandon Belt delivered a base hit to break up the shutout and make it a 6-2 ballgame. But the fanfare was short-lived as pinch hitter Ryan Theriot bounced into the inning-ending double play with runners at the corners.The eighth inning also ended on the double play, this one hit by Angel Pagan.Matt Lindstrom made the heart of the Giants order look foolish in the ninth, striking out Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. Sandoval, who was 7-for-15 with four RBIs in his last four games, fanned while checking his swing on a ball in the dirt to finish his day 0-for-4.With the gloves:After back-to-back singles from the bottom of Arizona's lineup to lead off the eighth inning, Eaton hit a ground ball to first base that began the most exciting play of the game. Brandon Belt fielded it cleanly and fired to third base. Pablo Sandoval was not on the bag for the forceout, and shortstop Josh McDonald didn't slide. Sandoval applied a hard tag that send McDonald rolling towards third base coach, and former Giants star Matt Williams. Sandoval followed up, moving forward with an earful for McDonald, presumably for not sliding. Third base umpire Greg Gibson bear-hugged Sandoval and the benches poured onto the field as Williams frantically tried to keep his two former teams apart.Lost on the play was Belt's fine defensive effort to get the lead runner, which proved critical as Penny induced a would-be sacrifice fly and a popout to escape the inning unscathed. Every fly ball to right field seems an adventure for Hunter Pence. He called off Marco Scutaro at the last second on Cahill's shallow fly ball in the second. And his route was less than direct on Paul Goldschmidt's fly ball down the line to end the third. Nonetheless, both balls found his mitt. As it turns out, Nady is no Gold Glover in left, either. Aaron Hill -- he of the five hits on Tuesday -- connected with a backed-up changeup in the fifth. After a step in, a step left and three frantic steps back, Nady leapt to make the grab, but Hill's scorched drive caromed off the tip of his glove and safely fell to the warning track. It took two solid defensive plays to strand Hill. Pablo Sandoval scooped a backhanded short-hop and fired across the diamond for the second out. And Brandon Belt ranged to his right to field a grounder, spun and found Bumgarner at first base for the touchdown putout. With a runner on third in the seventh inning, Posey's unreal forehand block on his backhand side from a Jean Machi offering won't be remembered after a string of Arizona hits.On the bases:The Giants didn't have a baserunner through the first five innings. Brandon Crawford was granted the honor of standing safely with Paul Goldschmidt when his four-pitch walk broke up the perfect game in the sixth. He was stranded on second base when center fielder Adam Eaton kept Cahill's no hitter in tact with a full-extension dive to put away Angel Pagan.Attendance:The Giants announced a paid attendance of 41,035, many of whom were left after the loss wondering profoundly, "What does this mean?"
Up next:The Giants head into their natural day off Thursday in first place in the NL West.When San Francisco resumes baseball on Friday, it will open a pivotal three-game series with the second-place Dodgers at AT&T Park. Unlike Los Angeles, who will skip Joe Blanton's Sunday start in order to slide reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw into the series, Bruce Bochy said the Giants will avoid stacking the deck.Tim Lincecum (8-14, 5.21) will take on newly-acquired Josh Beckett (1-1, 2.92) -- coming off his first win as a Dodger -- in the series opener. Matt Cain (13-5, 2.98) will face Chris Capuano (11-10, 3.63) in the Saturday matinee, and the Giants will stick with Barry Zito (10-8, 4.51) against Kershaw (12-8, 2.79) in the series finale.

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.