Instant Replay: Giants 9, D'backs 8 (10)

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Instant Replay: Giants 9, D'backs 8 (10)

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO After blowing an early four-run lead, the Giants put together another come-from-behind victory, walking off against the Diamondbacks on Marco Scutaros single in the 10th inning.Starting pitching reportBarry Zito finished a 1-2-3 first inning with back-to-back strikeouts, the first swinging and the second looking, and struck out the side in the second to work around Paul Goldschmidts one-out double. Zito didnt have his strikeout pitch working in the third and fourth innings, but still held the Diamondbacks scoreless as he worked with a 4-0 lead.The Diamondbacks got to Zito in the fifth inning, though, as Miguel Montero led off the inning with a single and trotted home on Chris Johnsons no-doubt home run to left. Zito stranded Chris Young on second base after his two-out double to keep Arizona from getting within a run of tying the game.Justin Upton and Jason Kubel put together back-to-back singles to open the sixth and knock Zito from the game. Guillermo Mota, a frequent follow-up to short Zito starts, allowed both of his inherited runners to score.Zitos final line: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. He threw 59 of his 89 pitches for strikes.Zito was 36-3 in his Giants career when receiving at least four runs of support while in a game. The Giants offense gave him that magic number in the first, but Zito uncharacteristically didnt return the favor.Bullpen reportBruce Bochy turned to Guillermo Mota with two men on and no outs in the sixth inning and the veteran right-hander had an outing to forget. He got lucky when Paul Goldschmidts drive to left-centerfield hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double, keeping the tying run at third. That run would come across anyway, when Chris Johnson tallied his third RBI on a sacrifice fly. But the Diamondbacks werent done beating up on Mota. Former Giant Cody Ransom worked a walk and pinch-hitter Willie Bloomquist followed with a single to drive in Goldschmidt.With Arizona now leading 5-4, Bochy turned the ball over to George Kontos, coming off his first career win in Houston. Kontos, who has admitted putting more pressure on himself when he inherits another pitchers baserunners, didnt do Mota or the Giants any favors, as he allowed back-to-back singles. Kontos got Justin Upton to fly out to right to end the inning, but not before Arizona batted around for a five-run inning and a 7-4 lead.Brad Penny got the call in the seventh and was in immediate trouble after a leadoff double followed by a walk. But Penny danced out of danger by getting Miguel Montero to fly out and ended the inning with a blind-luck grab of a screaming comebacker for a double play.Shane Loux allowed an Arizona insurance run in the eighth, but was hit hard in what couldve been a much uglier inning if not for the defensive efforts of Pablo Sandoval and Angel Pagan.Recent call-up Jean Machi, a right-hander who saved 15 games for the Fresno Grizzlies this season, made his major-league debut in a one-run game and held his own. He put sure-handed shortstop Brandon Crawford to work, inducing back-to-back infield pop ups before Jason Kubel hit a routine ground ball to short to end the inning.El Mechon blared over the AT&T Park speakers as Sergio Romo ran in from the bullpen to pitch the 10th inning. He struck out the first two Diamondbacks he faced before inducing a weak ground ball to third from Gerardo Parra to end the inning.At the plateThe Giants came into Mondays game averaging just 3.45 runs per home game, ahead of only the Seattle Mariners. They raised that average with their first inning output alone.Angel Pagan lined out on the first pitch, but the Giants strung four consecutive hits together to score first. Marco Scutaro started the rally with a single and Pablo Sandoval kept the line moving with another single. Buster Posey followed with a drive to deep right that Arizonas Justin Upton appeared to have a beat on. But Upton watched as the ball sail over his head and bounced off the wall past him and towards the infield, allowing Scutaro to score easily. Upton had to hustle again when Hunter Pence one-upped Posey with a two-RBI triple into the right-centerfield alleyway. Sanchez drove in Pence with an infield single for a 4-0 San Francisco lead.After the four-run first, the Giants were held scoreless until the seventh inning, when Aubrey Huff led off with a pinch-hit single. Pagan grounded into a fielders choice and the baserunner swap paid off, as the faster Pagan advanced to second on Scutaros grounder to third and came around to score on Sandovals single up the middle.The Giants added two more runs in the eighth with a two-out rally to cut the Diamondbacks lead to one. Pence struck out looking to open the frame and Xavier Nady grounded out to second, but Hector Sanchez and Brandon Crawford hit back-to-back doubles and pinch-hitter Brandon Belt drove in the other Brandon with a single to right. Pinch-runner Gregor Blanco, in for Belt, represented the tying run, but Pagan lined out to right to end the threat.The Diamondbacks turned to J.J. Putz in the ninth, fresh off a blown save in Los Angeles on Sunday, and Scutaro greeted him with a leadoff double to left. Sandoval hit a weak ground ball to second to advance Scutaro and set the stage for Posey. With the tying run 90 feet away and the Arizona infield playing in, Posey laced a ground ball past diving third baseman Chris Johnson for a double and a brand new ballgame. Posey was left stranded to keep the game tied, however, after Putz intentionally walked Pence and struck out Nady and Sanchez. The double was Poseys first career game-tying hit in the 9th inning or later.Crawford led off the 10th inning with a towering chopper behind the pitchers mound that he beat out for an infield single. Big Brett Pill followed with his first career sacrifice bunt to advance the game-winning run into scoring position. Pagan pushed Crawford 90 feet closer to ending the game with a groundout to first base, and Scutaro came through with his 11th career walk-off hit, which was nearly identical to Poseys grounder past diving third baseman Johnson.The Giants finished 9-for-15 with runners in scoring position, including three doubles, a triple and all nine of their RBIs.In fieldBrad Penny made the play of the day, even if it required more instinct than skill, when he snagged Chris Johnsons comebacker in the heel of his glove for one out, then lobbed the ball back to first for a double play.Pablo Sandoval made a pair of nice plays in the eighth to keep the Diamondbacks from putting up a crooked number. With Cody Ransom on third, Sandoval fielded a sharp ground ball off the bat of Chris Young and threw home to Hector Sanchez, who chased Ransom back to third, where Sandoval got the ball back and applied the tag. The next batter, Aaron Hill, ripped a liner right at Sandoval, who stood his ground and hit the dirt to complete the catch.Angel Pagan also helped limit Arizona to one run in the eighth, as he ended the inning with a leaping catch on the warning track just in front of the avocado tree past the centerfield wall.On the basesGregor Blanco took off for second base in the eighth after coming in as a pinch-runner, but Angel Pagan hit the pitch foul. No other Giant attempted a stolen base against Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero.AttendanceThe Giants announced a crowd of 42,045 for their 150th consecutive regular season sellout.Up nextThe Giants continue their series with the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night with right-hander Ian Kennedy (12-11, 4.27 ERA) starting opposite fellow right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (12-7, 3.02 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Giants Pregame Live kicks off at 6:30 p.m.

Three more Giants likely to join Posey in World Baseball Classic

Three more Giants likely to join Posey in World Baseball Classic

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Four years ago, Giants coaches made no secret of the fact that they felt some veterans were affected by playing in the World Baseball Classic. The Giants were coming off a long postseason run, but eight of their big leaguers chose to participate in the 2013 event. 

Four years later, the list is down to just four, and the Giants won’t stand in their way. Buster Posey has already been announced as a catcher for Team USA and Brandon Crawford is expected to play as well. Johnny Cueto has told the Giants that he intends on pitching for the Dominican Republic and Albert Suarez plans to pitch for his native Venezuela. 

In past years, clubs have primarily been concerned about pitchers. In an odd way, hitters are almost better off playing in the WBC instead of facing amped up prospects in Cactus League games. The Giants learned that lesson the hard way in 2015 when Hunter Pence was drilled by a prospect with a lack of command, causing him to miss the start of the season. For pitchers, the run-up to Opening Day is a tedious one, but Giants officials said they’re not concerned about their co-ace, Cueto, participating. 

“Major League Baseball is doing everything it can to help us protect them in terms of the quantity of players on the roster and pitch counts and innings,” general manager Bobby Evans said. “We feel MLB is working carefully to help all of us manage guys while they’re away from camp. We feel as confident as ever that they’ll be protected. Lessons have been learned, and everyone involved will try to find ways to avoid issues.”

If Crawford commits to playing, he could find himself in a fun spot. Nolan Arenado has already said he will play for the United States and the two National League West stars could form one hell of a defensive duo on the left side of the infield. Posey will start for a team that already has Max Scherzer and Chris Archer as part of the starting staff. Evans said the teams will carry three catchers, and Posey isn’t expected to be overworked. His manager said he’s not worried about the decision. Posey will simply have to start his preparation process a bit sooner.

“I’m fine with it,” Bruce Bochy said of Posey playing. “Buster wants to do it and I’m good with it.”

This will be the fourth edition of the WBC. In 2013, the Giants were represented by Ryan Vogelsong, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Angel Pagan, Santiago Casilla, Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and Jose Mijares. 

Bochy: Game 4 loss to Cubs toughest I've ever had to bounce back from

Bochy: Game 4 loss to Cubs toughest I've ever had to bounce back from

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Bruce Bochy had grown accustomed to being in the October spotlight during even years, so he had a hard time getting on board as a spectator during one of the most exciting postseasons in recent memory. 

Bochy’s Giants blew a three-run lead in their final game of the season, a loss so devastating that several players headed home the next day without even packing up their lockers. Two months later, Bochy is all smiles. He likes his team, and on Monday he got the closer he needed back in Game 4 of the NLDS. 

Bochy sat down with CSN Bay Area on Tuesday for a one-on-one interview about Mark Melancon, left field, that postseason loss, his new coaches and much more. It will air tonight on SportsTalk Live at 5 p.m. and we’ll run the whole thing back as a podcast. But for now, here are Bochy’s thoughts on the loss that ended his even-year run: 

“I had a hard time, I’m not going to lie. In all my years, that’s the toughest game I’ve ever had to bounce back off of,” he said. “It took a while. It was hard to watch that first postseason game but gradually it got a little better. Just the way we went out, that’s a tough way to go. Our bullpen has been such a big reason for our success so to go out that way, it really wasn’t just that game — it was the second half — we just had a hard time trying to get it figured out. 

“You know, you’ve got to put it behind you, but I’m not going to lie, that was a pretty big blow to the chin. It took a while to get over it.” 

The Giants led the Cubs 5-2 when Bochy made the decision to pull Matt Moore after eight brilliant innings and 120 pitches. That night, Moore and Bochy and everyone else involved said that there was a consensus that Moore had reached the end of the line. Two months later, Bochy doesn’t regret the move. Moore’s 120 pitches went down as the postseason high. 

“I think you can always look back, but these cards have backs on them,” Bochy said. “I felt good about protecting Moore. If he goes back out there he’s probably looking at 135 or maybe more pitches or you’ve got to bring a reliever in with men on base. I felt with the three-run lead that the guys I had could get three outs.” 

Derek Law was the first man out of the bullpen and he gave up a single that was inches from Brandon Crawford’s glove. Javier Lopez walked Anthony Rizzo. Sergio Romo entered and gave up a double to Ben Zobrist. Will Smith gave up a single to pinch-hitter Willson Contreras. After an error, Hunter Strickland gave up a single to Javier Baez. The Cubs won 6-5 and went on to win the World Series. 

“We knew we could get the matchups that we wanted,” Bochy said on Tuesday. “It started out with Law and he got the ground ball right in the shift. The walk hurt. We got behind Rizzo and ended up walking him and Romo ended up getting behind Zobrist and that hurt, the double. And then we had Smitty. I was comfortable and sure they put in the right-handed bat, but the tying run was on second and I didn’t want a left-handed bat up there to pull the ball. He hits a ball that Smitty doesn’t quite get to, a seeing-eye base hit, and unlike us, we made a costly error. There was another, I felt, like a cheap hit there.

“But these are moments you relive. The good ones, but the bad ones stay with you too sometimes.”