It wasn't clean, but it was classically Giant


It wasn't clean, but it was classically Giant


SAN FRANCISCO -- Brian Sabean worked the fringes of the Giants clubhouse trying to avoid huge sprays. Hed done nine dogpiles before this one, and he knew the safest way to navigate a celebration.

Total veteran move, the San Francisco general manager said as he clutched a can of clubhouse beer. Besides, Ive had this viral thing I cant rid of.

And therein lies a central truth of all human endeavor: Bacilli do not honor the deeds of men.

Sabean, though, was not the only one to handle the NL West title with a measure of restraint. The team as a whole did what old fuds the world around always ask for that they act like theyve been there before. Because, well, they had.

Yeah, this was harder than it looked, Sabean said. We went through a lot this year in a lot of ways, and it really was a tale of two seasons. But they were pros when they needed to be.

Thats the thing, manager Bruce Bochy added while he choked his own beer can. They went through so much more than it looked like, but when it came time to stand up, they did. We couldnt win at home, but when it got to be crunch time, we did just that. And this was the hardest one, because it was 162 games.

BAGGS' INSTANT REPLAY: Giants are 2012 NL West champions

That last part is open to interpretation, since the Giants have played their last meaningful game against a team with a losing record. By slapping the San Diego Padres for the seventh time in playoff clinching situations, they also showed that they did not let up against their inferiors, going 54-30 against National League teams with losing records.

But it wasnt the victimization of the weak that Sabean, Bochy or the players will remember. It will be what they did when they were weakened. They adapted to the loss of closer Brian Wilson, the zany expulsions of Melky Cabrera, the struggles of Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum and Brandon Belt and Ryan Vogelsong and Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford.

Indeed, this was not a clean win, but it was classically Giant. They ran into walls face-first, and then got up and sought out the next wall. They went about routing the field in an odd way, and they routed it anyway.

And maybe because of the way they won the division, they celebrated with a slight edge. There was much more beer than champagne, much more satisfaction than hijinks, and the temperature of the room was significantly lower than for any other clinching in the last 15 years. It was a celebration with purpose, a quick release of steam before the boilers are stoked again. They know what awaits, and they know how much harder it gets in 10 more days.

Between now and then, though, Bochy and Sabean will go over their rosters again and again (remember, they had Jose Guillen on the roster in 2010 until two days before the end of the season), and they will check their rotations against the two teams they most likely could play in the first round.

It will not be a series of sentimental choices, either. Barry Zito learned that two years ago, and so did Sandoval. This time, the decisions seem easier, but the amount of time they will spend examining the alternate permutations will be no less.

In an odd way, it is how the fans felt as well. They did not linger long in the ballpark, for they didnt need to savor every drop of a division title that had been over for all intent and purpose a week ago. They seemed to remember the lessons of 2010 as well, and determined not to peak too soon, revelry-wise.

I dont know about that, Sabean said. Every one is unique, and this one was different than all the rest of them, no question. But theyre all special, and you have to enjoy them all, because theyre so hard to get, no matter how many of them you have.

Then he coughed, swallowed a swing of beer, and sidled along a line of lockers to shake hands with any players, staff or shareholders he might have missed his first two times around. It was the veteran move.

Melancon wastes Blach's gem, Giants fall to Padres in 12 on Myers' homer

Melancon wastes Blach's gem, Giants fall to Padres in 12 on Myers' homer


SAN FRANCISCO -- With a timely swing in the 12th inning, Wil Myers turned his frustrating day into a fantastic one.

Myers hit a three-run homer in the top of the 12th to send the San Diego Padres past the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

His seventh home run and second in two games came on a 1-0 fastball from reliever George Kontos (0-2). Cory Spangenberg singled against Kontos leading off the inning, and Erick Aybar singled two batters later.

Myers was hitless in his five previous at-bats.

"I had some tough pitches. I thought they pitched me very well in my first five, but I felt really good," he said. "I was just looking for that one mistake and I was able to get it in that last at-bat."

Hector Sanchez, who played parts of five seasons with the Giants, socked a pinch-hit, two-run homer off San Francisco closer Mark Melancon in the ninth to send the game to extra innings.

Sanchez turned on a 1-1 cut fastball over the heart of the plate for his first home run of the season and third career pinch-hit homer. It was the Padres' first pinch-hit drive in the ninth inning or later to tie a game since Adrian Gonzalez connected against Arizona on Sept. 16, 2009.

Melancon's flop followed a full meltdown by the Giants' bullpen Saturday, when the Padres tagged San Francisco relievers for 11 runs in three innings of a 12-4 win that included Myers' three-run homer.

"I felt really good about the fight to the end," Padres manager Andy Green said.

It was Melancon's second blown save in seven chances.

Sanchez represented the tying run after shortstop Eduardo Nunez booted Luis Sardinas' leadoff grounder for an error.

Ryan Buchter (2-1) pitched two shutout innings for the Padres. Jose Torres worked a scoreless 12th for his first save.

Giants starter Ty Blach pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, retiring 10 of his last 11 batters in his second start for San Francisco since taking injured ace Madison Bumgarner's spot in the rotation. Bumgarner is expected to miss three months with a separated left (pitching) shoulder he sustained in a dirt-bike crash.

Padres starter Clayton Richard gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings of six-hit ball.

The Padres have won 12 of 16 games against the Giants dating to last season.

San Francisco (9-17) has the National League's worst record and is 39-59 since going into last year's All-Star break 24 games over .500 with the best record in the majors.

"We better start panicking," Melancon said about the Giants' awful April. "If we don't get our act together, it's going to be ugly. There's too many good teams out there ready to go after us. This energy level needs to get going. We need to pick up our play, throw quality strikes. We need to figure it out."

Padres: RHP Jarred Cosart, on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, tentatively plans to pitch for Class A Lake Elsinore on a rehab assignment Tuesday, Green said. Cosart will throw three innings or about 45-50 pitches.

Giants: RHP Neil Ramirez was designated for assignment and the Giants called up RHP Bryan Morris from Triple-A Sacramento. ... CF Denard Span, on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury, tentatively plans to take batting practice in Los Angeles on Monday.

Padres: After an off day, RHP Trevor Cahill (1-2, 4.50 ERA) will pitch the home series opener against Colorado on Tuesday. Cahill is 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in his career against the Rockies.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (3-1, 5.10) starts the series opener against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Monday. The two-time All-Star gave up three runs in six innings vs. the Dodgers last week and was 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA against them last season.

Giants DFA RHP Neil Ramirez, call up RHP Bryan Morris from Triple-A

Giants DFA RHP Neil Ramirez, call up RHP Bryan Morris from Triple-A

The Giants designated right-handed reliever Neil Ramirez Sunday and purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Bryan Morris from Triple-A in a corresponding move, the team announced.  

Ramirez appeared in nine games for the Giants this season. In 10.1 innings pitched, he went 0-0 with a 13.06 ERA. 

Morris has spent time with both the San Jose Giants and Sacramento River Cats this season. Between the two levels, Morris is 1-0 with 0.00 ERA in five games. 

The 30-year-old fractured his right foot in spring training during a live batting practice drill. Over five years in the majors, Morris is 18-12 with a 2.80 ERA.