'Mad' Giants ready to move past Dodgers' sweep

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'Mad' Giants ready to move past Dodgers' sweep

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SAN FRANCISCO Ryan Vogelsong is mad. Not at his offensefor failing to score against Clayton Kershaw. Not even at Marco Scutaro for hiserror that led to an unearned run. Instead, the Giants veteran right-hander ismad at himself for failing to pick up his teammate after the error. I need to pick him up right there, Vogelsong said ofScutaros two-out, sun-induced blunder that led to the Dodgers second run ofthe fourth inning. I felt worse about not picking him up after that play thananything else today.The lingering anger from Sundays 4-0 loss to cap athree-game sweep that creates a tie for first place in the N.L. West shouldserve the Giants well moving forward, according to Vogelsong.If anything, this makes us a little mad, Vogelsond said.You have to take it out on the Mets.The New York Mets are in town for the first of four gamesstarting on Monday to face a Giants team with a familiar perspective. After aseason-high 13 consecutive days atop the standings, the Giants are back tofighting for sole possession of first place with the Dodgers, who leaveNorthern California with their first back-to-back shutout wins in San Franciscoin franchise history.Giants manager Bruce Bochy didnt express anger like hisstarter did. As the skipper of a floundering club, he stayed positivethroughout his postgame press conference. Unfortunately in this game youre going to get it handed toyou some times and your lineup, theyre going to go through their tough times,Bochy said. I dont care who you are or what club you are, its going tohappen. Whats important is how we deal with this.The only thing you do is press on. Thats the only thing we can do.The Dodgers went through a similarly tough time earlier thisseason and responded by acquiring Hanley Ramirez, who drove in six runs in thesweep. Bochy wasnt ready to say the Giants need to make a move to match theirrivals headline-grabbing trade. Ive got 25 guys here that were going to battle every daywith, Bochy said. Thats all I can be concerned with. Thats all they need tobe concerned with, not were getting this or that. If were doing that, thenwere distracted. Angel Pagan, who had one of the Giants five hits Sunday,said the team just needs to focus after Kershaw struck out seven and didntallow an extra-base hit in his fifth career shutout, two of which have comeagainst San Francisco.He kept the ball down and over the plate and he didnt make many mistakes,Pagan said. Turn the page and keep going. Its no fun losing games but wecant panic.Pagan had the best chance to snap the Giants scorelessstreak back in the second inning, when he reached first on a one-out error byDodgers shortstop Luis Cruz. But he was picked off just before Scutaro andBrandon Belt put together back-to-back singles, helping Kershaw escapeunscathed.Where the Giants failed, the Dodgers succeeded, as theyturned Scutaros error into a run in the fourth inning. Vogelsong was on theverge of dancing out of danger like Kershaw did in the second, but came up justshort. The Dodgers had runners at first and third with one out when Ramirez hita sharp ground ball to third. Scutaro made a quick turn to get the force out atsecond, but Ryan Theriots relay to first was a split-second too late.Ramirezs hustle paid off even more when he came around to score afterScutaros error kept the inning alive.Despite throwing 41 pitches in the fourth, Vogelsong stillstayed on the hill for six innings and has now worked at least that deep intoall 19 of the games hes started this season. Only one of his two runs wereearned and he struck out five Dodgers on the afternoon.Ill take that start any time, Bochy said.While Vogelsong earned his managers seal of approval, he knows he has a thinmargin of error to work with when dueling Kershaw, who he beat in two priormatchups this season.Thats what happens when youre facing one of the bestpitchers in the game right now, Vogelsong said. One mistake, one run can costyou the game.One run will cost the Giants any game if they continue tolook so helpless at the plate. The top of the Giants lineup, which consistedof Gregor Blanco, Theriot, Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey, combined to go1-for-15 with a walk and five strikeouts. The lone hit came from Posey on aground ball to Ramirez at third base with two outs in the ninth and couldvebeen ruled an error. Cabrera accounted for three of the top half of thelineups five strikeouts for his first hat trick as a Giant.Cabrera had just one strikeout and hit .364 as the Giants reeled off threestraight shutout wins over the Dodgers at AT&T Park from June 25-27. Butthat series is ancient history now that Don Mattinglys club has returned thefavor.They pitched well, they played great, just the opposite oflast time we played them, Bochy said. Thats baseball.

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

MESA, Ariz. — The Giants went 0-62 last season when trailing after eight innings. Chris Marrero wasn’t around for any of that, but it’s a stat that could help Marrero as he tries to lock up a bench spot. 

The first baseman/left fielder crushed a three-run shot in the ninth inning Tuesday, wiping out a two-run deficit against the Cubs. Marrero also has two walk-off homers this spring. 

“This kid, you see it when he goes up there. He’s got great focus,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s intensity and determination. From day one, you could see it in his at-bats. Late in the game, he seems very comfortable. He wants to go up there.”

Tuesday’s homer, which shot out to right-center, was the eighth of the spring for Marrero. That ties him with a guy named Bryce Harper for the MLB lead, and the vast majority of Marrero’s bombs were no-doubters. 

“It’s been a great spring for him,” Bochy said. “The last game here, it seems fitting that he would do something like that. He’s already done it a couple of times. This kid has done all he can. I love his swing and the work that he’s put in.”

With Michael Morse down, Marrero is the best remaining option as a power right-handed bat off the bench, a glaring need a year ago. Justin Ruggiano, another one in the mix, followed Marrero’s shot with one of his own. The homer was Ruggiano’s second of the spring. 

Ruggiano is a better fit defensively in the outfield, but Marrero has been solid at first and Bochy said he’s fine with what he’s seen in left field. “He’s still working on it,” Bochy said, noting that Marrero will play left field during the Bay Bridge Series. 

LEADING OFF: Denard Span saw a wild pitch bounce off the bricks behind home plate, and he never slowed down. Span sped around third in the second inning and slid in ahead of the throw. The notable part of the play wasn’t that a quirky bounce allowed Span to take 180 feet on a wild pitch. It was that his legs did. The 33-year-old has been a different guy in his second spring with the Giants. Last year, Span was coming off hip surgery. This spring, his old game has returned.

“I’ve just been able to do the things I’ve always been able to do,” Span said. “I have more control of my body. I’m stronger. I had a full offseason and a full spring training to get my legs up under me. The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt much better and more confident.”

A healthy and spry Span would be a big boost to a lineup that often looked flat in the second half last season Span showed off every aspect of his game Tuesday. He blasted a leadoff homer on Jake Arrieta’s second pitch, and during their second matchup, he put a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Span stole second easily before his race home. 

“He’s playing terrific baseball and he’s been a real inspiration, being our leadoff hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s what we needed — energy at the top of the order.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) is feeling much better, and Bochy said he’ll play third base during the games at AT&T Park before getting four or five innings at shortstop on Saturday. Joe Panik (drilled in the back on Monday) said he’s feeling fine. 

POSITION BATTLES: Here’s the latest on Matt Cain, and here’s an update on Aaron Hill and Jimmy Rollins. 

ICYMI: Big news today from NBC Bay Area. Matt Williams, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross have joined out pre- and post-game shows. You can find stories about those guys on our homepage here. Those shows will also now be an hour long on both ends of the game, adding an extra hour of Giants coverage to your day. Which is good. 

That’s all on the way during the regular season. If you missed any of our spring coverage, you can find a bunch of features here, and podcasts here (spring pods included Mike Morse, Matt Cain, Mac Williamson, Jimmy Rollins and others, with one more coming this week). And in case you’re new to our coverage, the Twitter account is here and the Facebook page is here. Next stop, San Francisco … 

 

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

MESA, Ariz. -- Aaron Hill didn't play in the final Cactus League game, but he didn't need to. By simply being on the flight to San Francisco on Tuesday, Hill got good news. 

The veteran infielder was due a $100,000 bonus on Tuesday, and while the Giants haven't formally announced their roster, you don't pay a man that much money to come play three exhibition games against the A's. Hill appears to have made this club as a second backup infielder, along with Conor Gillaspie. Another veteran, Jimmy Rollins, got the news that the Giants are headed in a different direction. 

Team officials spoke with Rollins this week about their future plans. He was not on the travel roster Tuesday and did not attend the game against the Cubs. 

"We're waiting to hear back from him," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He knows the scenario and the situation. We're waiting to hear back."

Rollins, 38, showed the Giants that he can still handle shortstop defensively, and he was a quick learner when he moved to second. But he hit just .119, falling behind Hill, Kelby Tomlinson and others in the mix for bench spots. It would seem unlikely that Rollins would want to get additional at-bats in Triple-A, but that feeling hadn't been fully conveyed to team officials Tuesday. There was a hope that Rollins, an East Bay native, might join the team for the Bay Bridge Series, which finishes Saturday in Oakland. Rollins grew up an A's fan.

Rollins and Hill were part of a crowded infield group at the start of camp. Gordon Beckham also had a retention bonus and he asked to be released when he was told he wouldn't make the opening day roster. David Hernandez, the third player due a bonus, also was released. He promptly signed with the Atlanta Braves.