Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2

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Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2

BOX SCORE

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.

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

SAN FRANCISCO — With the winning run on second and a bat in his hands, Cory Gearrin allowed himself to dream. He was a second baseman at Mercer University years ago and he entered the night with a 1.000 batting average in the big leagues. Why couldn’t this be his night on the mound and at the plate?

Gearrin stopped on the way to the plate and told Buster Posey that he was going to walk it off. He dug in against right-hander Chad Qualls and waited for the first sinker. He swung over the top of it, but he felt it was a quality hack. And then he missed the next sinker, and then the next. 

“I felt good going into that at-bat,” Gearrin said. “It was fun getting that opportunity. I’ve never faced a sinker like that. I felt like I missed it … by a lot.”

Gearrin can take solace in two facts. First, using his own sinker, he pitched three shutout innings, more than earning his keep, and he was a well-deserved winning pitcher in a 4-3 win over the Rockies that became official one minute after midnight.

Second, perhaps he gave the next hitter, Denard Span, a better view of an opposing pitcher’s repertoire. 

“Yeah ... he gave me a lot of information during that at-bat,” Span said as he laughed. 

Okay, so maybe Gearrin’s contributions were limited to the mound, but oh what a job he did against one of the best lineups in the National League. Span didn’t glean anything from Gearrin’s brief battle, but he didn’t need to. He spat on a changeup and then ripped a sinker into right, allowing Gorkys Hernandez to race home for a 14th-inning victory. 

Span, who is open about his distrust of birds, had spent nearly two hours standing under a circling flock of seagulls. Between pitches, he often dropped his hands onto his knees, looking more eager than anyone for the night to end. 

“Those birds were dropping stuff all around me,” he said. “I was like, you know what man, I don’t got time for this.”

The single gave the Giants back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. It validated so much good work, from the five relievers who got the ball to Gearrin, to the Brandons who turned a snazzy double play in the 11th, to Buster Posey, who twice threw out runners at second in extra innings. Gearrin shouted out the defense in his post game media session. 

“It’s not news to us that we’ve got gold glovers all over the field,” he said. 

The Giants trailed by a pair after Matt Cain hung a curveball to Mark Reynolds, but they chipped away. The Rockies were the jumpier team in extra innings, but every rally was cut down by stellar defense and quality pitches. Gearrin threw 34 of them. 

The veteran right-hander had never before recorded more than six outs in a big league game. He got nine outs Tuesday, giving Bochy one extension after another as he battled to make it through a game shorthanded. With Conor Gillaspie headed to the DL, the Giants had just three position players on the bench. That meant Ty Blach was used as a pinch-runner. Jeff Samardzija pinch-hit in the 11th. Bochy thought of using Matt Moore in the 14th when the pitcher’s spot came up. Hunter Strickland was warming up to pitch the 15th, but …

“I could have hit Moore — I probably should have,” Bochy said, smiling. “But Cory is a pretty good athlete and had a pretty good average going into that at-bat. The numbers swayed me.”

Gearrin got his first career at-bat last season and singled. He has not even taken batting practice since that day, but he was fired up when given the opportunity. He was still so fired up after the Giants chased Span into the outfield that he didn’t mind the fact that his shiny 1.000 batting average has been cut in half. 

“I got to use that line for a year,” he said. “But I’ll gladly sacrifice the 1.000 average for a walk-off win.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This, at long last, is a winning streak. A modest one, but still. 

Denard Span hit a walk-off single to right in the bottom of the 14th inning, giving the Giants a 4-3 win that became official one minute after midnight. The Giants have back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. 

The Giants led early, fell behind on a three-run dinger, and then chipped away until the game went to extras. Buster Posey twice gunned runners down at second to help keep the score tied and the bullpen held tough, with Cory Gearrin throwing three scoreless innings. 

Gearrin had a chance to win it for himself in the 14th, but he struck out with Gorkys Hernandez on second. Span promptly singled. If you’re just waking up for work, here are five things to know from a night when the seagulls outnumbered the humans … 

--- Matt Cain needs an assist on the first run of the night. With Gorkys Hernandez on first, he got a sacrifice bunt down on a two-strike curveball that was headed for the dirt. Hernandez went to second and promptly scored on Denard Span’s single to right. The curveball wasn’t so kind in the sixth. With a runner on, the Giants intentionally walked lifelong nemesis Nolan Arenado to get to Mark Reynolds. Cain hung a curve and Reynolds crushed it to left for a three-run homer. 

--- The Giants got a run back in the sixth when Brandon Crawford’s deep fly allowed Buster Posey to trot in from third. Crawford leads the majors with nine sacrifice flies. He also turned a ridiculous double play that can’t adequately be described, except to say that he should expand his trophy case. 

--- Kelby Tomlinson came off the bench to tie it in the bottom of the eighth. His single to right brought Brandon Belt in from third. Tomlinson is 9 for 27 as a pinch-hitter this season. That’ll keep you on the chartered jets. 

--- Sam Dyson, with a fastball that reached 97 and an infield defense that was just as firm, pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings in extras. What a find. 

--- With the go-ahead run on first and no outs in the 13th, Nolan Arenado put down a sacrifice bunt. That's one of the five best moments of the Giants' season.