Lincecum outduels Latos; Giants sweep Padres

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Lincecum outduels Latos; Giants sweep Padres

Sept. 14, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARDSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- In less than two months, Carlos Beltran has been through a cross-country move to switch teams and a hand and wrist injury that landed him on the disabled list.That left little time to think about his latest milestone: home run No. 300.Beltran connected twice to give him 300 for his career and Tim Lincecum ended a three-start winless stretch in the San Francisco Giants' 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday that completed a rare sweep in this rivalry."It means a lot for me, actually. Thank God for that, being able to play this game for a long time," said Beltran, both knees wrapped in ice bags and his hand sore. "Three hundred, for a guy from Manati, Puerto Rico, a small town, it's good."Beltran became the sixth Puerto Rican-born player to reach 300 home runs.He homered in the first inning and again in the sixth with a splash hit into McCovey Cove to put the Giants ahead. It marked the slugger's 30th career multihomer game, third this year and first since joining San Francisco in a trade from the Mets on July 28."Beltran is one of the best players in the National League. And he's got that in him," Padres manager Bud Black said.Lincecum (13-12) outdueled Mat Latos (7-14) for his first win since beating the Padres on Aug. 24.The defending World Series champion Giants began the day trailing the first-place Diamondbacks by 8 12 games in the NL West. Arizona had a night game at Los Angeles.San Francisco has its first four-game winning streak since July 9-15.Lincecum allowed four hits and an unearned run in seven innings. He struck out six and walked two as the Giants wrapped up their first winning home series in the last eight sets since taking two of three against Milwaukee from July 22-24. September call-up Hector Sanchez caught Lincecum for the first time."A lot of credit goes to Sanchez for making adjustments from our first inning on," Lincecum said.After Dan Runzler walked pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia to start the eighth, Sergio Romo relieved and retired the side in order. He pumped his fist after striking out Cameron Maybin to end the inning. Santiago Casilla finished with a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.San Diego, which dropped its fourth straight this season at AT&T Park and sixth in seven games, was swept in a series of three or more games against the Giants for the first time since Aug. 22-24, 2008. This was San Francisco's first sweep this year since taking three in a row June 24-26 from Cleveland.It was largely because of Beltran.The slugger's shot into the water beyond the right-field arcade was the fourth by a Giants player this year, 59th by San Francisco overall and No. 83 in the history of the 12-year-old ballpark. Home run king Barry Bonds has 35 of them."He makes this park look small at times," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I think it puts you in a really elite class - 500 is the benchmark for guys who are going in the Hall of Fame, 300 is quite a feat. Few guys have done that."Beltran also homered over the elevated brick wall in right to tie the game in the first. He went 7 for 12 (.583) with a double, three homers and four RBIs in the series and is batting .520 (13 for 25) with four homers in seven games against San Diego this season."You really have to hit the ball good in order to hit it out," Beltran said. "That's why in the dugout we always talk about what Barry Bonds did here for many years."Kayaker Dave Edlund, a McCovey Cove regular, retrieved Beltran's 300th and also No. 298 after it hit the water on the bounce. Beltran was open to a trade with Edlund but also fine with the fan keeping the souvenir.Whether Beltran will be hitting home runs here beyond this season is unclear. He said that will be a decision for after the season, though it's not certain the Giants will want to pay him the contract he seeks, either. Beltran can become a free agent after the World Series and is represented by Scott Boras."It's not my decision, but I'd be happy if he comes back," All-Star third baseman Pablo Sandoval said.The Padres took a 1-0 lead against Lincecum on Jesus Guzman's two-out RBI double in the first.Latos was tagged for seven hits and three runs in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked one.Sandoval provided a big defensive stop to end the third with Will Venable on third after he stole his 26th base. Sandoval lunged to his left to field Guzman's sharp grounder, then fired to first just in time while throwing from one knee. He chuckled after doing it again on nearly an identical play on Maybin's grounder in the sixth."Tough as he usually is," Maybin said of Lincecum. "That's why he's a Cy Young Award winner."NOTES: San Diego is 4-17 in its stretch of 30 straight games against division foes. ... Longtime Padres broadcaster and former New York Yankees 2B Jerry Coleman celebrated his 87th birthday. A retired Marine Lt. Col. and Bay Area native, Coleman worked the radio booth from the fourth through the sixth innings. ... Giants rookie Brandon Belt will play five or six weeks of winter ball in the Dominican Republic to make up for time missed while he was injured this summer. Belt was sidelined after sustaining a hairline fracture in his left wrist when he was hit by a pitch from St. Louis' Trever Miller in June. The team approached Belt last month about going to winter ball. ... All-Star RHP Ryan Vogelsong (10-7) starts Thursday night for the Giants at Colorado while trying to end a five-start losing streak. ... After an off day Thursday, RHP Tim Stauffer starts for the Padres on Friday, looking for his first career win against the Diamondbacks in his fifth start and 11th appearance. ... Lincecum is 54-4 when the Giants score at least three runs for him. ... Romo appeared in all three games in the series.

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Morse isn't ready to give up on his comeback. 

Morse, sidelined by a hamstring injury, said he will continue to rehab with the organization, with the plan of eventually going to Triple-A and working his way up to the big leagues. Morse hasn't played since getting hurt March 20 in Glendale. He was initially given a two-to-three week diagnosis, but because he wants to let the strain heal completely, he anticipates missing closer to a full month. 

Morse said he's on the same page with general manager Bobby Evans. He will get healthy at the minor league facility in Scottsdale.

"I'll then go to Triple-A and play games and figure it out from there," he said. "I'm going to get healthy and play some games and if that point the team is 20-0, I know I probably won't get called up. If they need me, that'd be great."

The Giants are hopeful it works out. Before getting hurt, Morse had three spring homers and was in position to make the opening day roster. Without Morse, the Giants are light on right-handed power options for the bench.

 

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

BELT RIVER FIELDS, Ariz. — Earlier this spring, Brandon Belt moved his schedule around so he could get additional at-bats. That led to some random trips across the desert, but there was never any doubt Belt would be in Friday’s road lineup.

Belt demolishes the ball at Salt River Fields, spring home of the Rockies and Diamondbacks. After coming out of Friday’s win, he shook his head in mock disgust when talking about the day’s stats.

“One for four, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Belt said. “That’s terrible.”

That one happened to be a homer, a three-run shot off Jon Gray, the likely opening day starter for the Rockies. Belt thought he crushed the ball but it ended up pretty high, so it simply dropped onto the berm in right. 

“It squeaked out,” Belt said. “Good mojo, I guess.”

The mojo kept his remarkable run going at Salt River. His updated career stats here: 22 for 35, with eight homers, four doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. Belt said he’s not quite sure why he turns into the flames emoji every time he steps onto this field. 

“I don’t know what it is, but I like hitting here,” he said. “Maybe it’s the batter’s eye?”

Salt River has a dark green batter’s eye with no distractions on either side, and the Giants certainly saw the ball well Friday. They had seven straight hits in the third before Gray was pulled with a sore foot. Belt hit second, and manager Bruce Bochy said that wasn’t simply because Joe Panik had the day off. Bochy will look at several different lineup permutations over the next week, and a Span/Belt/Pence/Posey/Crawford one-through-five is one option. 

“I like (that spot) a lot,” Belt said. “I feel good getting started and knowing I’ll get to bat in the first inning. It’s a good spot. I don’t think my approach changes that much: Get a pitch to hit and try to hit it hard.”

GAME RECAP: Jeff Samardzija was sharp in four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three. He threw about 45 pitches on the field and then went down to the bullpen for 45 more. Samardzija certainly benefited from having Buster Posey back in the lineup. He said Posey noticed during warmups that Samardzija’s delivery was a little flat and his arm was dragging too low. 

“That doesn’t happen often,” Samardzija said of having a guy like Posey back there. “You have a lot of catchers who are afraid to say something.”

The rest of this one was a laugher until the ninth, when the Rockies rallied and brought the winning run to the plate. It hasn’t been a great spring for the bullpen.

STOCK WATCH: Chris Marrero hit a deep homer, his seventh of the spring. He also made a nice pick at first, where he looks much more comfortable. At this point, it appears it’s either Marrero or Kelby Tomlinson for that final bench spot.

TRAINER’S ROOM: The news on Will Smith was as expected. He will have Tommy John surgery next week. 

There is good news for Trevor Brown: The catcher, who has a sore ankle, took some swings and he’s feeling much better. Brown did not, as first reported, get hurt hiking on an off day. It happened during a game. Brown won’t be ready in time to return to Cactus League action, so he’ll likely stay here during the Bay Bridge Series and then travel home with Triple-A Sacramento. 

ICYMI: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Mark Melancon are back in camp. Here’s a story on Posey’s WBC experience, with the catcher saying he’d like to play again in four years. Here’s Crawford on his month, which ended with him giving an NL West rival a slump-busting bat. 

ROSTER UPDATE: The Giants released David Hernandez, at his request. They have started to tell others that they’re not making the opening day roster, so there should be a series of minor transactions this weekend. (You know where to go.)

QUOTABLE: "I swung at a heater and a slider went right into my bat. I was happy to be able to track (pitches), and happy that the next time the bunt didn't go off my beautiful face." -- Samardzija, when asked about his double off the wall.