Giants

Instant Replay: Giants 6, Diamondbacks 0

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Instant Replay: Giants 6, Diamondbacks 0

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Matt Cain breezed through seven scoreless innings, Buster Posey picked up his 100th RBI of the season, and the Giants beat the Diamondbacks 6-0 in their final night game of the regular season at AT&T Park.Starting pitching report The game opened with an error by Brandon Crawford, but Matt Cain worked around it and completed a scoreless first inning with only four pitches thrown. Crawford committed another inning-opening error in the third, but Cain kept his composure and the Diamondbacks off the board with three straight ground ball outs. Paul Goldschmidt, who haunted Tuesdays starter Tim Lincecum as he has throughout his young career, struck out looking against Cain in the fourth. The punch-out was Cains 187th of the season, which set a new career-high.The fifth inning started with another error, this time by Brandon Belt, but Cain retired the next three batters to keep his shutout intact. The sixth was as smooth as they come for Cain, who induced back-to-back fly outs, then struck out Miguel Montero swinging to end the inning.Cain ran into his first self-induced trouble in the seventh, when Goldschmidt hit a towering fly ball off the wall in right that a leaping Hunter Pence couldnt get to. Gerardo Parra followed with a perfectly placed bunt, which Pablo Sandoval watched as it went past the bag at third and suddenly Arizona was threatening with runners at first and third and no outs. But Cain reared back to strike out former Giant Cody Ransom and John McDonald for the first two outs, then got pinch hitter Jason Kubel to ground out to Belt at first to escape the jam unscathed. Cain walked back to the Giants dugout after his seventh scoreless inning to a standing ovation. The Giants veteran right-hander gave up four hits, walked one, was charged with a wild pitch, and struck out six. He threw 91 pitches on the evening, 67 of which were strikes. Cain extended his career-high win total to 16 and lowered his full-season career-low ERA to 2.77.Bullpen report After Aubrey Huff flew out pinch-hitting for Cain in the seventh, Bruce Bochy turned to Guillermo Mota in the top of the eighth. Mota allowed a leadoff single to Adam Eaton and got bailed out by defensive replacement Gregor Blanco on a deep fly ball to left. He struck out Justin Upton before giving way to southpaw Jeremy Affeldt. Affeldt gave up a single to the left-handed hitting Montero, and Bochy left him in to face the right-handed Goldschmidt, who grounded into an inning-ending fielders choice.Dan Otero got the call in the ninth and promptly gave up a leadoff double to Parra. But he struck out Ransom, induced a shallow fly ball to left from McDonald and got pinch-hitter Ryan Wheeler to fly out to center to end the game.At the plate Cain sparked the Giants first run-scoring rally of the game with a line-drive single to center to lead off the third inning. Angel Pagan followed with a walk and Marco Scutaro dropped a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third for Pablo Sandoval. Diamondbacks shortstop John McDonald booted a ground ball up the middle off Sandovals bat that was ruled an RBI single, though it may have been an error in Arizona. There was no official scoring to debate when Buster Posey lined a clean single to left to score Pagan for his 100th RBI of the season. Posey became the first Giant since Barry Bonds in 2004 to reach the century mark.The Giants expanded their lead with another two-run inning their next time up. Brandon Belt led off the fourth with a triple that fell just out of the reach of rightfielder Justin Upton in Triples Alley. Brandon Crawford followed with a walk and Matt Cain reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt to load the bases. After Pagan popped out to shallow right, keeping Belt at third, Scutaro came through with an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Sandoval hustled down the line to avoid an inning-ending double play and pick up his second RBI of the evening for a 4-0 Giants lead.Cains second single of the game gave the Giants a 5-0 lead in the fifth. Hunter Pence reached on an error to lead off the inning and moved into scoring position on Belts second hit of the game. Cain followed with a ground ball in the hole that McDonald backhanded but didnt get enough on the throw, allowing Pence to score and Cain to reach first.The Giants added an unnecessary insurance run in the eighth. Scutaro hit a one-out double, advanced to third on a wild ball four to Sandoval and scored on another wild pitch.The Giants racked up 12 hits and finished 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position. Every Giants starter reached base. Pagan and Xavier Nady did so with walks, while the rest of their starting teammates recorded at least one hit.In field Brandon Crawford tripped while fielding Adam Eatons routine ground ball to open the game for a rare error from the sure-handed shortstop. But Marco Scutaro picked his fellow middle infielder up by tagging out Eaton on his way to second and throwing to first to double up Aaron Hill.Crawford had a line drive pop out of his glove in the third inning for another error, just the fifth in his last 75 games, but it didnt cost Cain.Brandon Belt committed his seventh error of the season in his seventh career three-hit game.On the bases The Giants didnt attempt a single theft and the Diamondbacks didnt test Posey, who has allowed 85 steals (second in MLB), but caught 30 runners (also second in MLB).Attendance The Giants announced a paid crowd of 41,516 for another sellout, their 164th straight. Up next The Giants conclude their three-game series with the Diamondbacks in a Thursday matinee game. Arizona will start LHP Patrick Corbin (6-7, 4.02 ERA) opposite LHP Barry Zito (13-8, 4.18 ERA) in the last regular-season game of the year at AT&T Park.

Gary Brown never recovered on the field from 2015 DFA: ‘Hurt me to my core’

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AP

Gary Brown never recovered on the field from 2015 DFA: ‘Hurt me to my core’

There was a time when Gary Brown was considered the Giants’ top prospect – their center fielder of the future. Hype was never higher than in 2011, when the fleet-footed 22-year-old set a franchise record with 188 hits in 131 games, earning California League Rookie of the Year honors with the San Jose Giants in his first full minor league campaign.

But six seasons and seven major league at-bats later, Brown’s professional baseball career ended at 28 years old.

“I feel like I let my emotions get the best of me in the years after that (2011 season),” Brown told NBC Sports Bay Area in an exclusive phone interview. “I think I started to believe the hype that everyone started to give to me.”

Brown never matched his magical .336-season in High-A ball with 14 home runs plus 53 stolen bases, and then struggled finding a routine with the rigors of the Pacific Coast League’s travel schedule once he reached Triple-A. Despite three hits in his seven at-bats as a September call-up with the Giants in 2014, Brown was designated for assignment on March 31, 2015.

Brown’s career spiraled playing the draining waiver game. Unsuccessful stints with the Cardinals and Angels sent Brown to the land of the last chance: Independent ball in the Atlantic League.

“It was not fun for me for quite a few years. I wasn’t a very happy person,” Brown said. “After I got DFA'd by the Giants, that really took a toll on me. I never really recovered from that, so I was kind of stuck in the past and things kind of just got away from me. 

“I was kind of heartbroken to be honest. I mean, it hurt me to my core.”

Through tumultuous career turns, the Southern California native never turned on the team that drafted him 24th overall in 2010.

“I'm thankful for the opportunity the Giants gave me. No matter how big or small mine was, I am very thankful” Brown said emphatically. “I definitely wish I could have shown what I feel like my true potential was, but it didn't work out that way. 

“I still root for the Giants. All my friends with the Giants, I'm still pulling for them. They run that organization so well. I have no ill intentions or anything bad to say about the Giants organization.” 

Far removed from his days with the Giants, Brown found new life with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2016. Brown batted .249 and returned to the team in 2017. He started strong with a .298 batting average in 31 games while having fun for the first time in years, but injuries struck at an inopportune time.

Chronic aches in his hip joints and intense back spasms, in addition to a frustrating lack of interest from MLB teams and the fact he and his wife had twins on the way, spurred Brown to retirement in the middle of the season on July 5.

“Retirement has nothing to do with the lack of competitiveness (of the Atlantic League). It was the distance and the time away, matching the minor league salary,” Brown said. “Going back to that makes it really hard on the family and when you get older it really becomes about what you value more.”

The player he once was is gone, but the person he is has only grown. There’s one piece of advice which goes beyond the diamond that Brown was sure to pass on to the next wave of future top Giants prospects.

“Never stop making adjustments,” Brown said ruefully.

Days away from turning 29 on Sept. 28 and out of baseball for the first time in his life, Brown is certainly making his own.

***

Part 2 of our interview with Gary Brown focusing on where he is now in his life will be released Friday on NBCSportsBayArea.com.

Matt Moore blanks Rockies, continues late-season surge

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AP

Matt Moore blanks Rockies, continues late-season surge

SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Moore knew there was something different about his final home start at AT&T Park this season, and not just the fact that he received a loud ovation as he walked off the mound in the seventh. Moore noted later that the outing was the first shutout he has been a part of this year. In fact, it was the first time in 30 starts that he walked off the mound without having allowed a run. 

“I guess it’s better late than never,” he said. 

The Giants are hoping it’s actually a preview of things to come. They counted on Moore to be a big part of their 2017 push, but instead, he likely will finish with the worst ERA of any full-time starter in the National League. Still, general manager Bobby Evans has informed Moore that his 2018 option will be picked up, something that Moore appreciated given the time of year. 

“I always pictured myself here,” he said. 

Whether coincidence or some kind of “weight off the shoulders” situation, Moore’s first start since the public revealing of the decision was his most encouraging of the year. Facing a good lineup, and a team that needed a win desperately, he pitched six shutout innings. The Giants beat the Rockies 4-0. 

Moore was already showing signs of life, with a 3.76 ERA over his seven previous appearances. Bruce Bochy viewed this as another step forward. 

“It’s been getting better and better with each start,” he said. “What he did really well today was on the arm side. He had good balance to both sides of the plate.”

Moore peppered the outside corner with fastballs, and he credited catcher Nick Hundley with stealing a few strikes. The plan allowed Moore to put hitters away in big spots, one of three points of emphasis he brought into the second half. The other two: limiting lefties and getting ahead of hitters.

That’s Moore’s roadmap back to being the player the Giants acquired. For the team as a whole, the roadmap back to relevance is similar to Wednesday’s plan. This is not a home-run hitting lineup, but the Giants are 47-21 when scoring four runs, and Wednesday was a reminder of the different paths to that magical number. 

Brandon Crawford had a solo homer, but the first two runs came on sacrifice flies and the fourth on a walk-wild pitch-single combination. Bochy said he liked “the brand of ball” his team played.

“They executed so well today,” he said. “It’s just good baseball, and that’s what I felt good about.”