Instant Replay: Giants 4, Pirates 3

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Instant Replay: Giants 4, Pirates 3

BOX SCORE

Before the game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Freddy Sanchez is close to a rehab start. Emmanuel Burriss isn't ready. Burriss led off the bottom of the ninth inning and slapped a solid base hit to right field on the first pitch he saw, spurring the Giants' walk-off rally.

Brandon Belt, who was in the on-deck circle, was called back and veteran Ryan Theriot was sent out to sacrifice Burriss over. Only he failed to do so, worked an eight pitch at-bat and executed a textbook hit-and-run to get Burriss to third base.

After Angel Pagan was intentionally walked, the Giants' hottest hitter Melky Cabrera came to the plate. Cabrera, 0-for-3 on the night, wouldn't get his first hit of the night, but he would win the game. Shortstop Clint Barmes' throw home short-hopped Rod Barajas, who could not coral it, allowing the winning run to score.

Starting pitching report: The Pirates made sure there would be no back-to-back shutouts for Barry Zito early. With two outs in the first inning, Andrew McCutchen roped a single into left field. Casey McGehee's bloop single and a walk to Rod Barajas brought Neil Walker to the plate. Walker delivered a two-run base hit to open the Game 2 scoring.

Zito settled down, though, going three-up-three-down in the second and third.

He was tagged with an unearned run in the fifth inning on a forgettable defensive play for the Giants.

With his pitch total at 97 after six innings and the top of the order coming up in the seventh, Zito's night looked to be done. But he emerged from the dugout in the seventh, induced a first pitch fly-out, struck out Tabata and got Andrew McCutchen to fly out to end the seventh. It sent the AT&T Crowd into a frenzy, and Zito didn't so much as raise his head walking back into the dugout.

Bullpen report: Santiago Casilla entered the game in the eighth inning. Zito's final pitch -- a cutter -- came in at 80 miles per hour. Casilla's first pitch registered a 95 on the gun, and a decidedly different sound entering Hector Sanchez's glove.

Casilla and Javier Lopez were dominant, allowing one hit in two innings of work.

With the bats: The Giants came out swinging in the second. Four consecutive hits from Hector Sanchez, Nate Schierholtz, Brandon Crawford and Emmanuel Burriss plated two and tied the game.

Schierholtz's opposite-field triple was scorched. It got to the wall in a hurry and gave Sanchez enough time to lumber in to score all the way from first.

His chest's rise and fall was clearly visible as he removed his helmet, stuck out his tongue, and headed for the dugout for congratulations.

Sanchez led the rally off with a base hit. He has hit safely in each of the three games he's played in this year.

In the bottom of the fifth, Angel Pagan got his first AT&T Park triple. It was a three-bagger all the way as his drive landed right in Triple's Alley. Third-base coach Tim Flannery contemplated sending Pagan home for more than one arm circle.

With the gloves: The Giants suffered their second two-error play of the season. With one on and one away in the fifth inning, Jose Tabata hit a slow bouncer to third. Pablo Sandocal charged, but didn't get his glove down and the ball rolled into shallow left field. Brandon Crawford tracked it down and threw off balance to second. The throw was off line and ended up in the no-man's land in the middle of the infield, allowing Alex Presley to score the then-go-ahead run.

In stark contrast, Crawford ended the inning by ranging far to his left to vacuum a ground ball up the middle, spinning and firing to first to retire Casey McGehee and prevent a fourth Pittsburgh run.

Sandoval again erred in the sixth inning, bringing his error total to three after going all of last year with just 10.

Crawford drew the crowd's applause again in the eighth when he bare-handed McGehee's chop over the pitcher's mound and threw on the run in time to record the first out.

Attendance: It was the 86th consecutive sellout at AT&T Park with an announced attendance of 41,657. Nobody left early and they were loud at all the right times.

On deck: The Giants and Pirates are scheduled to play the third and final game of the series on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. It's an interesting pitching matchup. Ryan Vogelsong returns from a strained back to make his first start of the season. It's a familiar face that will be opposing him; former Giant and 2011 All-Star Kevin Correia gets the nod in Game 3 for the Pirates.

Odds and ends: Barry Zito will perform at The Fillmore Sunday night, helping Train with "Save Me San Francisco." ... 49ers QB Alex Smith was at AT&T Park Saturday night, sitting in Row 1 next to the Giants' dugout.

Before the game, Matt Cain presented Smith with a jersey signed by members of the Giants.

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — In a quiet moment in the dugout Friday, manager Bruce Bochy tried to figure out a nickname for his new budding star. During a week where Christian Arroyo has made the game look so easy, this has turned out to be the most difficult part. 

Bochy briefly settled on “Yo” before that was scuttled because the team’s video coordinator is Yo Miyamoto. Joe Panik said some players have tried C.A. or YoYo, but admitted that neither is all that good. The team’s Twitter account spent a few days trying to make Boss Baby a thing, but Arroyo wasn’t thrilled with that one and the experiment appears to be over. In a back room of the clubhouse, there’s a printout showing Arroyo and Buzz from “Home Alone,” but that comparison is much better made with Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman. 

Perhaps the answer is as simple as the path Arroyo’s bat takes to a fastball. As he watched Arroyo field grounders during batting practice, Dick Tidrow was asked about the 21-year-old. Tidrow, the team’s senior VP of player personnel, has seen and worked with Arroyo since he was drafted. 

“We always just called him The Kid,” Tidrow said. “He would turn around when I called him Kid.”

The Kid is growing up quickly. Arroyo’s second homer of the week was the game-winner Friday, an eighth-inning blast that put a lead in Mark Melancon’s hands. The new closer made sure the new third baseman’s homer didn’t go to waste, clinching a 4-3 win that got the Giants out of the National League West’s cellar. 

The homer might have surprised Arroyo as much as anyone. He came here with a reputation as a mature and talented hitter, but power is not his calling card. 

“I’m not trying to hit a homer there,” he said. “Get the head out, see a pitch over the plate, barrel something, just keep the line moving. I got a good pitch, elevated it, and fortunately it went out.”

Arroyo already speaks like a hitting coach, but he is not afraid to admit that there are things he doesn’t know. It’s easy to get film on opposing starters, but there’s little a rookie can do to prepare for late-inning pitching changes. Arroyo consulted Buster Posey and Conor Gillaspie before facing Ryan Buchter, who has been in the division for two years. Gillaspie told him Buchter’s fastball has some late life and gets on a hitter. 

“I wanted to see it and the first pitch was a little low so I got a good read on them,” Arroyo said. 

The second one was right at the belt and Arroyo pulled it down the line for his second big league homer. He had just three last year in Double-A, but the Giants felt the 36 doubles showed that power was on the way. 

“He’s got pop,” Bochy said. “He’s not a guy trying to hit homers. He tries to put a good swing on it. But he drives balls and you saw it tonight. We see him more as a gap guy, but he’ll get more power as he gets older. We’re not asking him to hit homers, trust me, but it’s good to see him letting it go.”

The homer secured a win on a night when a lot went right. Jeff Samardzija was sharp, paying for one pitch to Ryan Schimpf that left the park but otherwise pitching seven strong. Panik and Brandon Belt ignited the offense early and Michael Morse came through with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. Derek Law and Mark Melancon closed it out, with Melancon getting help from Panik, who made a spectacular tumbling catch on a flare to shallow right-center. It was a big first out given that Melancon was pitching for the third straight day. 

“It was going to be in no man’s land,” Panik said. “You give it everything you’ve got. Fortunately the ball stayed in the glove.”

When it was over, the youngest Giant was in for another round of interviews to cap a hectic week. On Monday he made his debut and on Tuesday he picked up his first hit. Wednesday brought the first homer and Thursday was the first multi-hit game. What will the weekend include? Maybe a real nickname? 

For now, the Giants are fine with leaning on The Kid, because many of them didn’t even know how young the star of the week was until he was a couple of days into his big league career.

“I was thinking he was 23 or 24,” Samardzija said. “This has been really impressive.”

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday, Christian Arroyo made his MLB debut. Tuesday brought his first hit and on Wednesday it was the first homer. Thursday’s game was his first multi-hit game as a big leaguer. What was in store Friday? The best swing yet.

Arroyo hit a go-ahead shot to left while leading off the eighth, giving the Giants a 4-3 win in their series opener with the Padres. The player coaches simply call “The Kid” has two homers in his first five games, and both have come in huge spots. Friday’s sent another jolt through AT&T Park and got a lead to Mark Melancon, who closed out the Padres. 

For four innings, a long-haired right-hander was no-hitting the Padres. Jeff Samardzija was sharp early and he got a nice cushion in the first. Joe Panik and Brandon Belt led off with singles and Panik scored on Erick Aybar’s two-out error. A Conor Gillaspie knock made it 2-0. 

The first hit allowed by Samardzija was a painful one. He plunked Yangervis Solarte to open the fifth and Ryan Schimpf hit a long dinger to dead center to tie the game. Cory Spangenberg followed with a single to left that skipped under Belt’s glove. Spangenberg went to third on the play and scored on a bloop. 

Belt made up for the play in the bottom of the inning, beating the outfield shift with a double and scoring on Mike Morse’s sacrifice fly to right two batters later. Samardzija ran into trouble in the seventh, but with two in scoring position and one out, he got a strikeout and a grounder to third. The Giants put the go-ahead run on second in their half, but Hunter Pence and Morse struck out. 

Starting pitching report: Samardzija has allowed six homers. He’s tied for fourth in the NL with a handful of players, including Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore. 

Bullpen report: Melancon has five straight saves since blowing his first opportunity as a Giant. 

At the plate: Belt reached base four times. His on-base percentage is sitting at a cool .390. 

In the field: Panik made a brilliant diving catch in center for the first out of the ninth. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a sellout crowd. One of the fans looked just like Samardzija, possibly on purpose. 

Up next: Matt Cain has a 2.42 ERA but he left his last start with a tight hamstring. He’ll face Jhoulys Chacin (2-3, 5.90).