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.

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

CHICAGO — Had a half-dozen other things gone differently Wednesday night, the Giants might have spent the hour after the game shrugging off a blowout loss or celebrating one of the best at-bats of the year. 

Three innings after the game was nearly lost for good, Mac Williamson saw 12 pitches from Wade Davis, who entered with a perfect ERA in 19 appearances, fouling eight of them off before slamming a two-run homer to right. The play came with some comedic value, as Williamson nearly passed Eduardo Nuñez on the bases. It also came with some historic value, as it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive solo shots that was two shy of the MLB record. 

The homer was not, however, the talking point after the game. A few minutes after Williamson went deep, Joe Panik was tossing his bat into the grass in frustration over a called third strike that ended the game and clinched a 5-4 win for the Cubs. Ten minutes after that, Bruce Bochy watched the highlight and tossed his phone onto his desk. 

“It’s a shame to end on that call, it really is,” Bochy said. “We had him on fumes and that’s not a strike. But they got the call and that’s it.”

The Giants were left with their third loss in four games, a run that has halted their momentum. They again are 11 games back in the National League West, with so many nights like this one: A comeback seemed real, but the mistakes were too much to overcome. 

Williamson, in talking about his homer, pivoted and pointed to a blunder of his own. In a tied game in the fifth, Miguel Montero hit a single to right with Addison Russell on first. The speedy shortstop watched Williamson as the ball rolled into the outfield, and when Williamson didn’t charge as hard as he otherwise might, Russell took off for third. The throw was perfect, but late. Russell scored on a fly ball. 

“The home run is really cool but it would have been a lot cooler if I hadn’t have made the mistake earlier in the game and given them the extra run,” Williamson said, explaining that he has tried to focus on being smooth to the ball and not rushing on fast outfields. In the past, rushing has led to bobbles and extra bases. 

Another costly sequence came in the eighth. After the Giants left the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Steven Okert gave up a triple to Jason Heyward, who scored on a sacrifice fly. Okert, so good when he was first called up, has been less effective of late. 

“We’ve got to get our lefties going,” Bochy said. “We gave them a run there and that put it at three and that’s just enough to cover it for them.”

Truth be told, the Giants were probably lucky to even have worries at that point. The wind blew a three-run Heyward homer inches foul in the sixth, and while the Giants grumbled about the final call of the game, an earlier call on Heyward for running inside the base path took a Cubs run off the board and killed a rally. It was correct by the letter of the law, but one you rarely see. The Giants escaped, but they wouldn’t come all the way back, despite Williamson’s late push. 

The young outfielder has been looking to make an impact since coming back up on the last homestand. He knew how tough Davis has been. 

“He’s been the best in the game this year and the numbers speak for themselves,” Williamson said. “He has phenomenal stuff. You get in the box and figure you’ve got nothing to lose, battle as tough as you can.”

Williamson fouled off good strikes and tantalizing balls. When he lofted a 2-2 pitch toward right, he took off out of the box. The ball carried just over the wall, and Williamson didn’t look up until he rounded third. That’s when Phil Nevin started yelling at him to slow down. Nuñez, who had a tight hamstring, turned and told Williamson to slow down.

“I kinda blacked out for a second there,” Williamson said. 

“I was like, ‘Bro, it’s a homer — just jog,’” Nunez said.

The moment temporarily sent a rush through the dugout. Minutes later, the Giants were left livid over a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close, but nonetheless was right there for them to steal. 

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time.