Instant Replay: Dodgers 3, Giants 2

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Instant Replay: Dodgers 3, Giants 2

BOX SCORE
LOS ANGELES The Giants have their ticket punched to the postseason. Theyll have to wait another day to try to knock out their archrivals.With the Dodgers a loss away from elimination, Andre Ethier hit a two-run home run off Matt Cain and Elian Herrera sent the Dodgers storming onto the field in the ninth, singling off the glove of second baseman Marco Scutaro with the bases loaded as the Giants lost 3-2 at Dodger Stadium.The Dodgers remained two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals with two to play for the final NL wild card spot. The Cards won earlier in the day to shrink the Dodgers tragic number to one. No matter what the Dodgers do, they'll be eliminated with the Cardinals' next victory. That scenario would deprive the Giants the pleasure of dispatching their archrivals on the field, though.Santiago Casilla gave up singles to Hanley Ramirez and Luis Cruz, then intentionally walked A.J. Ellis to set the stage for Herrera, a lightly used, 27-year-old rookie who took advantage of a spotlight moment.Starting pitching reportGiants manager Bruce Bochy lifted Cain after five innings and 68 pitches, deciding his right-hander got close enough to the 75-pitch limit imposed on him.Cain only allowed a two-run home run to Andre Ethier and finished the season with career lows in ERA (2.79) and WHIP (1.08) while compiling a career-best 193 strikeouts.He faced the minimum over the first three innings, courtesy of some solid infield defense by Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford. But Mark Ellis led off the fourth with a single and Cains first-pitch slider to Andre Ethier ended up in the right field pavilion.Cain can think all winter on ways to get Ethier out. The Dodgers outfielder owns a .456 average in 57 at-bats against Cain. He hadnt homered off him before Monday, though.Dont try telling Cain it was a meaningless shot in a meaningless game. He snapped a new ball into his glove and made a sturdy toss to second base while going around the horn after retiring Adrian Gonzalez on a 3-1 ground out.Cain departed trailing 2-1 but the Giants tying rally in the eighth kept him from taking a loss. He ended the year with a 16-5 record.Bullpen reportJose Mijares, Guillermo Mota and Jeremy Affeldt combined to hold the Dodgers scoreless from the sixth through the eighth before Casilla entered and took the loss in the ninth.At the plateBuster Posey keeps inching toward the first NL batting title by a catcher since Ernie Lombardi in 1941. He collected his 101st RBI when he double in Marco Scutaro in the first inning and finished 1 for 4 to drop just one point off his average to .336. The Pirates Andrew McCutchen was 1 for 3 to remain at .329.Even when Posey doesnt get a hit, he can impress. He grounded out on the 12th pitch of his at-bat in the fourth inning. But Posey struck out looking to start the seventh and tapped out to end the eighth. He left the game for precautionary reasons with what manager Bruce Bochy said were back spasms in the bottom of the eighth inning.
After Poseys double in the first inning, the Giants couldnt do much more with Aaron Harang. The big right-hander retired 14 of 15 batters after Brandon Belt drew a leadoff walk in the second inningThe Giants tied it in the eighth, as Scutaro tried to summon the spirit of Joe Morgan with a tying single. Angel Pagan started the rally with a leadoff double an important hit for him, since he had been 0 for 12 on the road trip and in a 2-for-23 slump dating back a bit longer.Scutaro called timeout just as Kenley Jansen started his delivery. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly went to the mound to calm down his pitcher, and then Scutaro lined the next offering over the shortstops head as Pagan raced home from second base.The single extended Scutaros hitting streak to 18 games the longest current streak in the majors. Hes two away from matching Pagan and Pablo Sandoval for the longest streak by a Giant this season.In fieldThe Giants executed a Brandon-Brandon-Brandon double play in the third inning, when first baseman Brandon Belt made a nice throw to shortstop Brandon Crawford and then scampered back to first base to accept the relay.It was just one in a series of solid plays by the two young infielders. Belt also made a diving stop of an A.J. Ellis grounder down the line in the third. Crawford picked Matt Kemps one-hop smash in the sixth and also made a nice play on Mark Ellis to start the game.Left fielder Xavier Nady stuck another feather in his cap when he threw out Adrian Gonzalez trying to score from second base on a single. Although Gregor Blanco is the superior defender, he has been battling a sore shoulder and theres little doubt that Nady has the stronger arm between the two.AttendanceThe Dodgers announced 33,624 paid which means there were enough empty seats at Dodger Stadium (22,376) to accommodate all 21,162 fans who paid to see the As try to clinch a playoff berth at the Coliseum Monday night.Up nextThe Giants continue their final regular-season series with a Tuesday night game at Dodger Stadium. Theyll try to win an 11th consecutive game in which Barry Zito (14-8, 4.19) takes the ball. The Dodgers counter with left-hander Chris Capuano (12-11, 3.69).

Hundley impresses while working with Bumgarner for first time

Hundley impresses while working with Bumgarner for first time

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Nick Hundley, the Giants’ new backup catcher, has faced only two active pitchers more than 30 times: Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner. That’s not the easiest way to go through big league life, so Hundley appreciated the opportunity to work with Bumgarner in Friday’s Cactus League opener. 

“I’d much rather catch him than hit him, that’s for sure,” Hundley said, smiling. 

The two lined up together because Buster Posey will work with Matt Cain and Mark Melancon on Saturday. Hundley likely won’t see much time with Bumgarner during the regular season. Posey caught all but 10 of Bumgarner’s innings last year, but Hundley, the veteran backup won’t be out of place if he’s called on. He pleased Bumgarner on Friday by smothering a first-inning curveball in the dirt with a runner on third. 

“That’s a tough pitch to block,” Bumgarner said. “A backdoor curveball and I pulled it a little bit. I’m sure that caught him off guard. I was impressed by it. That was pretty good.”

Hundley similarly impressed another pitcher Friday. Clayton Blackburn said he shook Hundley just once while throwing two perfect innings. The rapport with a prospect he has never played with was no accident. When Hundley signed with the Giants, he asked video coordinator Yo Miyamoto to send him clips of every pitcher on the 40-man roster, as well as prospects.

“I don’t want to come in blind,” Hundley said. “I want to watch and observe and put these guys in the best possible position to succeed.”

Hundley noted that guys like Blackburn are working hard to break through, and they don’t need to be held back by a new catcher. He has been watching video on a team-designed app to continue the learning process. 

“They’ve had so much success for so long (here) that it’s my job to get on the same page with them,” Hundley said. 

Bumgarner felt they were in sync, but the results weren’t perfect the first time out. Bumgarner pitched an inning, giving up two hits and two earned runs. He walked one and hit a batter. 

There was, of course, absolutely no concern. It’s February. He’s Madison Bumgarner. Friday was simply about getting back on a mound. Asked how he felt in his debut, Bumgarner smiled. 

“I felt,” he said. 

Crawford leads off in first Giants game of 2017

Crawford leads off in first Giants game of 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants have put a focus this spring on getting Brandon Crawford ready for the World Baseball Classic, which meant a slight surprise for the first lineup of the new year. Crawford is hitting leadoff in Friday's exhibition opener so he can potentially get extra at-bats. Crawford and Buster Posey will leave camp in early March to represent the United States in the WBC. 

Manager Bruce Bochy went heavy on the regulars in the exhibition opener. Crawford is one of six likely opening day starters to play right away:

Crawford SS
Panik 2B
Belt 1B
Pence RF
Morse DH
Parker LF
Gillaspie 3B
Hundley C
Hernandez CF

Madison Bumgarner is scheduled to pitch an inning Friday against the visiting Reds, followed by Clayton Blackburn, Steven Okert, Derek Law, Cory Gearrin and others. The opener is meaningful to a couple of players fighting for spots. Michael Morse, the DH, is trying to make the team as a left fielder/first baseman. Jarrett Parker is trying to beat out Morse, Mac Williamson and others for the starting spot in left. 

The Giants are facing a Reds team full of prospects, including the starter, right-hander Rookie Davis, who was acquired in the Aroldis Chapman deal. Former Giant Adam Duvall is hitting fourth for Cincinnati.