Giants

Kemp serves Giants dagger

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Kemp serves Giants dagger

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Matt Kemp tweeted on his way to the stadium, "Let's end the season wit a bang!" Did he ever.Kemp went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer and a career-high three doubles in his final home game of the season, Juan Rivera homered and drove in three runs and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat San Francisco 8-2 Thursday night, pushing the Giants to the brink of elimination in the NL West playoff race.The Giants open a three-game series at first-place Arizona on Friday and a victory by the Diamondbacks, who were idle Thursday, would eliminate the defending World Series champions."We're still in there, I guess, but we've got to win from here on out and hope the other teams don't," Giants starter Madison Bumgarner said. "Everything went wrong this year pretty much."The Dodgers moved a game over .500 with Hall of Famer Tom Lasorda serving as honorary coach of the team he managed to two World Series titles during his 20-year tenure."They played hard, they played great," said Lasorda, who stood next to rookie manager Don Mattingly at the dugout railing for much of the game. "It was a great night. It was fun."Mattingly said Lasorda spent the game telling him stories."He was into the game the whole night," he said.Fans saluted Hiroki Kuroda as he left the game in the eighth, and they chanted "MVP!" in response to Kemp's offensive show."I felt it tonight," Kemp said. "I had my mom sitting there in the front row. It was definitely a happy night."Kemp's mother Judy was in town from her home in Oklahoma and she'll follow her son to San Diego for a three-game series starting Friday."I might take her to Arizona, too," Kemp said, laughing. "Every time my mom comes, I play good."Kemp's two-run homer in the eighth inning off Barry Zito was his 36th, second-best in the NL. The league MVP candidate scored three times to extend his NL lead to 109 runs and and 118 RBIs. His .326 batting average is just shy of league leader Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, who is hitting .330."To see a night like that really puts an exclamation mark on what he's been doing all season," Mattingly said.Kemp said, "I wish we'd been playing like this at the beginning of the season."He told fans after the game that the Dodgers would make the playoffs next year, something they haven't done since 2009."It's sad we're not making the playoffs, but we've been playing great the last two months," Kemp said. "We're going to come back even harder next year. I have all the faith in my team to go out there every day and win."Kuroda (13-16) allowed two runs and five hits in seven-plus innings to extend his career high in wins. The right-hander struck out four and walked none. By pitching the first inning, Kuroda earned a 175,000 bonus. He gave up a run and two hits as the Giants took a 1-0 lead on Carlos Beltran's two-out homer.It might have been Kuroda's final start at Chavez Ravine. He becomes a free agent after the World Series and will turn 37 in the offseason. He was the subject of considerable trade speculation before the non-waiver deadline, when he declined to waive his no-trade clause with the only major league team he's pitched for since coming from Japan four seasons ago. Kuroda has spoken of wanting to pitch the final seasons of his career with the Hiroshima Carp in his hometown."At this moment, I really don't know (about the future)," Kuroda said through a translator. "It was great to win the last game of the season here."Bumgarner (12-13) gave up four runs and nine hits in four innings, struck out one and walked none to snap his five-game winning streak. It was the left-hander's shortest outing since he also pitched four innings in a 7-2 loss at Cincinnati on July 30.Nothing worked for Bumgarner against Kemp."It seemed like it didn't matter where I threw it. He was going to find a way to get a knock," Bumgarner said. "It seemed like that this whole series. He's having a career year. When you're facing a good hitter and he's hot, it makes it even harder."The Dodgers took the lead for good in the bottom of the first on Rivera's two-out, two-run homer. His RBI single in the third made it 3-1.Dee Gordon's RBI single with two outs in the fourth extended the Dodgers' lead to 4-1.Waldis Joaquin gave up a bases-loaded walk to Rod Barajas, the first batter he faced in the fifth, before Jamey Carroll's fielder's choice grounder increased the Dodgers' lead to 6-1.The Giants' other run came on Pablo Sandoval's 23rd homer on Kuroda's first pitch of the seventh.NOTES: The announced crowd of 37,560 gave the Dodgers a season home attendance total of 2,935,139, the first time they failed to draw at least 3 million in a non-strike year since 1992. They averaged 36,236 and had just three sellouts at the 56,000-seat stadium. ... Bumgarner is 2 1-3 innings short of reaching 200 innings for the first time in his career. ... The teams ended their season series with nine wins apiece. ... The Giants have given up 95 homers this season, fewest in the majors. ... The Dodgers went 42-39 at home, their sixth straight season with a winning home record. ... Lasorda presented Dodgers jerseys to the Little League World Series champions, Ocean View from Huntington Beach. The youngsters received a commemorative Frosted Flakes cereal box featuring the team. ... Lasorda delivered the Dodgers' lineup card to the umpires, chatting with them and Giants manager Bruce Bochy at home plate.

Bochy, Melvin need to start giving us something out-of-the-box-y

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AP

Bochy, Melvin need to start giving us something out-of-the-box-y

These are difficult, which is to say battleship-gray dull, days for the Oaklandcisco Giletics. They go out, they lose three of every five times they play, they disappear again. It’s like watching Nerf whack-a-mole.
 
Which is why, in these final 40 games, both Bob Melvin and Bruce Bochy need to start giving us something out-of-the-box-y we can linger on, at least for a bit. The transition from the end of the Warriors season (and the subsequent fetishizing of everything they do) to the start of football training camp has been too easy, and baseball’s window to captivate the easily distracted has pretty much been closed.
 
And this is why we enjoyed Cincinnati second baseman Scooter Gennett, pitching in a lost-cause game Tuesday night (the Reds have given up double digits 20 times this year, so that’s not a big enough thing), referred to his speed gun rating in the mid-90s, which was corrected by reporters to the more accurate “68.”
 
Gennett’s response? “Yeah, I don’t believe that. I think the radar gun might be broken or something. That, Statcast, off-the-bat speed, all that’s fake news.”
 
Perfect, and perfectly timely, too.
 
Then there is manager Terry Collins of the injury ravaged New York Mets, who is so bereft of players that he had to play catcher Travis d’Arnaud at third base but also needed to find a way to avoid having the ball hit to him. So he had d’Arnaud switch with second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera every time a right-handed hitter came up for the Yankees. So you get a box score that looks like this.
 
This is also the game in which Aaron Judge hit a 457-foot home run AND set a record for consecutive games with a strikeout, with 33. His season has fallen into a chasm since the All-Star Break, thus making him the latest “face of baseball” to find out that this “face of baseball” thing isn’t such an easy gig after all.
 
Besides, the new face of baseball is Scooter Gennett, whom the Giants or A’s should absolutely pay Giancarlo Stanton money to get in 2018. I mean, this is a guy who gave a fake name to the cops because his mom brought him to a stationhouse once to scare him into wearing his seatbelt -- when he was still watching Muppet Babies.
 
If that’s not the true face of baseball, there is none at all. Billy, Bobby, make this happen, or resign.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The flight from Miami to San Francisco is one of the longest in the league. It will not be a happy one.

The Giants fell behind early and never recovered, losing 8-1 in the series finale with the Marlins. The Giants had won six of nine entering the road trip. They dropped a series in Washington D.C. and then lost two of three to the Marlins. 

You are here already, so here are five things to know … 

—- Matt Cain deserved better in the first, and it was kind of a stunning error that cost him. With two outs, Brandon Crawford dropped a liner that was hit right at him. The next batter, Tomas Telis, hit a two-run double. 

—- Cain was charged with five runs in four innings, but only two of them were earned. He struck out seven and walked just one, showing a good curveball throughout. Several times, he dropped down for a new look. Like I said, he deserved a bit better than that final line. 

—- Pablo Sandoval’s walk in the eighth was his first since returning to the Giants. His numbers, by the way, are right in line with his Boston numbers. 

—- Albert Suarez has seen his stuff take a tick up during this stint with the Giants, but it’s not leading to results. After giving up a walk-off grand slam on Sunday, he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings in relief of Cain. Suarez currently has a 7.43 ERA. 

—- Giancarlo Stanton was 2 for 4 with two singles. His run of six games with a homer came to an end. I suppose that’s a small victory for the Giants?