Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Giants 0

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Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Giants 0

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Clayton Kershaw dealt the Giants their second consecutive shutout loss and dropped them into a tie with the Dodgers for first place in the N.L. West after a three-game sweep at home.Starting pitching report: Ryan Vogelsong was his usual razor-sharp self for three innings, but he needed to be at his best to match Kershaw and he was far from it in the series finale.Coming into Sundays game, Vogelsong boasted the best home ERA in the National League at 1.41. He lowered that mark with a nine-pitch 1-2-3 first inning and worked around a one-out single by Hanley Ramirez in the second with an inning-ending strike em out, throw em out double play. Vogelsong struck out Mark Ellis looking on a close call to end the third frame after issuing a one-out walk to A.J. Ellis.Vogelsong finished the third inning with just 41 pitches thrown on the afternoon, but needed another 37 just to make it through the fourth. After starting off Juan Rivera with three straight balls, Vogelsong eventually had to come in with a 3-1 fastball. Rivera responded with a clean single and Matt Kemp followed with a single of his own. Rivera advanced to third on Andre Ethiers deep fly to center, then scored on Hanley Ramirezs ground ball to third that the Giants almost turned into an inning-ending double play. Instead, Ramirez barely beat Ryan Theriots relay throw to collect his sixth RBI of the series and keep the inning alive. His hustle paid off even more when Marco Scutaros error and Luis Cruzs double led to a second Dodger run.For all the work Vogelsong did in the fourth inning, he enjoyed a much-needed rest in the fifth, as he used just six pitches to set down Ellis, Rivera and Kemp in order.The Dodgers wasted no time getting Vogelsong back in the stretch in the sixth, as Andre Ethier led off the inning with a single and, after Ramirez flew out to center, moved up on James Loneys single. Vogelsong struck out Cruz, then walked Ellis to load the bases for Kershaw. Kershaw didnt go down easy, taking Vogelsongs 101st pitch for a strike and a full count. The lanky lefty then fouled off two tough pitches before he struck out swinging to end the inning.Vogelsong turned in his 19th straight start of six innings or more to start the season, but those innings included six hits, three walks and two runs, one of which was earned. Vogelsong struck out five in the loss, his fifth of the year, and threw 104 pitches, 59 of which were strikes.Bullpen report: Clay Hensley relieved Vogelsong in the seventh inning and didnt last long, giving way to Jeremy Affeldt after sandwiching a fielders choice with two singles.Affeldt inherited Hensleys two baserunners and saved his bullpen-mate by getting Andre Ethier to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.Affeldt came back out for the eighth inning and started off with a strikeout of Ramirez, but gave up a double followed by a wild pitch and a single to let L.A.s lead increase to 3-0. Affeldt then walked Ellis and struck out Kershaw before giving way to George Kontos.Kontos, who put in a rough 1.2 innings of work in Saturdays loss, promptly gave up a single back up the middle to Ellis to put the Giants in a 4-0 hole. He left two runners in scoring position, though, when he induced a foul pop up from Rivera to end the inning.Santiago Casilla started the ninth inning but didnt finish it. The Giants closer got Kemp to ground out before giving up a double to Ethier. Casilla struck out Ramirez looking but Bruce Bochy still decided to turn to his lefty specialist Javier Lopez to face Loney. Lopez did his job, getting Loney to ground out to second and send the game to the bottom of the ninth.At the plate: San Franciscos bats were shut out for nine innings Saturday and didnt look any better in the series finale against Giant-killer Clayton Kershaw.Kershaw worked around an error and two singles in the second inning and was nearly flawless the rest of the way.The Giants came closest to erasing their scoreless streak in the second inning, when Angel Pagan reached on an error with one out. Kershaw picked off Pagan, though, making back-to-back singles from Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt immediately after go for naught.Kershaw was in cruise control from the third inning on, mixing in his devastating breaking balls with an overpowering fastball to keep the Giants hitters off balance.After the two singles in the second the Giants mustered just two more singles, one from Pagan in the fourth and another from Blanco in the sixth, until the ninth inning.Kershaw entered the ninth inning having thrown just 98 pitches. In the final frame he got Theriot to hit a fly ball to the left-centerfield gap and struck out Cabrera for the third time for two quick outs. Posey kept the game alive with a sharp ground ball off third baseman Hanley Ramirezs glove for the Giants fifth hit, but Pagan grounded out to third to end the game in a sharp three hours and three minutes.The top of the Giants order, Blanco, Theriot, Cabrera and Posey, combined to go 1-for-15 with a walk and five strikeouts against Kershaw.In the field: The newest Giant, Marco Scutaro, made a smart play on Clayton Kershaws bunt in the third inning. With a runner on first, the Dodgers ace popped up his sacrifice bunt attempt in between Buster Posey and Ryan Vogelsong. Nobody could get to the ball on the fly, but Scutaro charged it and threw across his body to second base to get the force out.Scutaro erased the memory of his good defense with a sun-induced dropped pop up in the middle of a fourth-inning rally. The two-out error kept the inning alive for the Dodgers and led to their second run.On the bases: In his first plate appearance of the game, Angel Pagan reached base on an error but wasted the gift by getting picked off. The mistake was made worse when the next two San Francisco batters singled but the Giants were kept off the board.After drawing a walk in the third inning, Gregor Blanco stole his 18th base of the season to take the team lead and continue to add to his career-high total.Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,902 for their 135th consecutive sellout.Up next: The Giants will try to regain sole possession of first place in the N.L. West when they host the New York Mets for four games starting Monday. In the series opener, the Mets will send RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-4, 5.40 ERA) to the mound to oppose LHP Madison Bumgarner (11-6, 3.10 ERA).

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Madison Bumgarner aims to get all 27 outs every time he takes the mound, but on Tuesday the coaching staff gave the ace a nice view of the man who will help out if his nights are cut short. 

Bumgarner threw his first live batting practice session of the spring on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium. Mark Melancon, the new closer, followed him. Both players said they felt good. Both also found things to work on in advance of opening day. 

“Strength-wise I felt pretty good, really good, actually,” Bumgarner said. “My command up in the zone was right where I want it. I’m pretty happy with that. My cutter was pretty straight, but that usually comes around pretty quick.”

Melancon didn’t even throw his go-to cutter, saying he usually pockets it until later in camp. He’s getting the feel for his curveball back because he doesn’t throw it until he reports. Like Bumgarner, Melancon said he’s where he needs to be physically.

“I feel really good,” he said. “In years past there has been some slowness but I don’t feel that this year. I’m right where I want to be.”

The Giants have not finalized a Cactus League rotation, but Bumgarner will likely throw an inning in Friday’s opener. Melancon could follow him, as he’ll throw in the early innings until late March. He said he’ll talk to pitching coach Dave Righetti about closing a game or two over the final days of camp so he can start locking his routine down. It’s probably a lock that he’ll close out that first Bay Bridge Series game back at AT&T Park. 

ICYMI: Here’s actual (shaky) footage of Bumgarner throwing today. At one point, he gave Denard Span a hard time for missing a slider that he was told was coming. Span had a good reason. “I didn't understand him when he said it because of his accent,” he said. 

ICYMI, PART II: The latest podcast is a couple of interviews with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Law explained how he ordered 800 chicken nuggets for his wedding. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants now expect Johnny Cueto to join camp this weekend. His status for the WBC is up in the air. Speaking of the WBC, trainer Dave Groeschner will be leaving camp on Feb. 27 to work with manager Hensley Meulens and the Netherlands. Bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu is also working with the team, which opens play in Seoul. Anthony Reyes will be head trainer while Groeschner is gone.

PROSPECT WATCH: Bruce Bochy said right-hander Ray Black was a standout during early live BP sessions. “He had a hell of an outing yesterday,” Bochy said. “They said he was really good.”   Black, 26, still throws 100-plus. He still has command issues, though, with 32 walks in 31 1/3 innings last year. If he can get over that hump and stay healthy, he might rocket to the big leagues.

QUOTABLE: After just about every start last season — most of which were dominant — Bumgarner said he wasn’t happy with his mechanics. He said Tuesday that he’s still searching for the perfect feeling. “I was being a perfectionist,” he said. “If you’re being a perfectionist, I really haven’t had (my mechanics) where I wanted the last couple of years. It’s not like it’s too far off, obviously.”

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants have been watching high-quality clips of Johnny Cueto all spring, even though the co-ace has remained in the Dominican Republic. On Monday, manager Bruce Bochy finally managed to get face-to-face with Cueto. Kind of. 

Cueto spoke to Bochy, trainer Dave Groeschner and others via FaceTime, and all involved finally managed to hammer out a schedule for Cueto’s arrival. Cueto has been in the Dominican Republic tending to his ill father, Domingo, but he is expected to arrive in Scottsdale this weekend. Cueto is working to secure a visa for his father, who will travel with him.

Bochy wanted to have a long discussion with Cueto to get a sense of how ready he’ll be for the World Baseball Classic. Cueto’s participation is still up in the air, and not just because he has missed the first week of camp. There is a chance, Bochy said, that Cueto will choose to stay in Scottsdale to continue taking care of his father. The Dominican Republic opens play in Miami on March 9.

“He said he knows he’s got to make a decision real soon regarding what he does,” Bochy said. “Pitching or not pitching, he’s got to let them know as soon as possible.”

Cueto has been throwing to hitters at a facility in Boca Chica. He threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday.