'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.

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

CHICAGO — Had a half-dozen other things gone differently Wednesday night, the Giants might have spent the hour after the game shrugging off a blowout loss or celebrating one of the best at-bats of the year. 

Three innings after the game was nearly lost for good, Mac Williamson saw 12 pitches from Wade Davis, who entered with a perfect ERA in 19 appearances, fouling eight of them off before slamming a two-run homer to right. The play came with some comedic value, as Williamson nearly passed Eduardo Nuñez on the bases. It also came with some historic value, as it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive solo shots that was two shy of the MLB record. 

The homer was not, however, the talking point after the game. A few minutes after Williamson went deep, Joe Panik was tossing his bat into the grass in frustration over a called third strike that ended the game and clinched a 5-4 win for the Cubs. Ten minutes after that, Bruce Bochy watched the highlight and tossed his phone onto his desk. 

“It’s a shame to end on that call, it really is,” Bochy said. “We had him on fumes and that’s not a strike. But they got the call and that’s it.”

The Giants were left with their third loss in four games, a run that has halted their momentum. They again are 11 games back in the National League West, with so many nights like this one: A comeback seemed real, but the mistakes were too much to overcome. 

Williamson, in talking about his homer, pivoted and pointed to a blunder of his own. In a tied game in the fifth, Miguel Montero hit a single to right with Addison Russell on first. The speedy shortstop watched Williamson as the ball rolled into the outfield, and when Williamson didn’t charge as hard as he otherwise might, Russell took off for third. The throw was perfect, but late. Russell scored on a fly ball. 

“The home run is really cool but it would have been a lot cooler if I hadn’t have made the mistake earlier in the game and given them the extra run,” Williamson said, explaining that he has tried to focus on being smooth to the ball and not rushing on fast outfields. In the past, rushing has led to bobbles and extra bases. 

Another costly sequence came in the eighth. After the Giants left the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Steven Okert gave up a triple to Jason Heyward, who scored on a sacrifice fly. Okert, so good when he was first called up, has been less effective of late. 

“We’ve got to get our lefties going,” Bochy said. “We gave them a run there and that put it at three and that’s just enough to cover it for them.”

Truth be told, the Giants were probably lucky to even have worries at that point. The wind blew a three-run Heyward homer inches foul in the sixth, and while the Giants grumbled about the final call of the game, an earlier call on Heyward for running inside the base path took a Cubs run off the board and killed a rally. It was correct by the letter of the law, but one you rarely see. The Giants escaped, but they wouldn’t come all the way back, despite Williamson’s late push. 

The young outfielder has been looking to make an impact since coming back up on the last homestand. He knew how tough Davis has been. 

“He’s been the best in the game this year and the numbers speak for themselves,” Williamson said. “He has phenomenal stuff. You get in the box and figure you’ve got nothing to lose, battle as tough as you can.”

Williamson fouled off good strikes and tantalizing balls. When he lofted a 2-2 pitch toward right, he took off out of the box. The ball carried just over the wall, and Williamson didn’t look up until he rounded third. That’s when Phil Nevin started yelling at him to slow down. Nuñez, who had a tight hamstring, turned and told Williamson to slow down.

“I kinda blacked out for a second there,” Williamson said. 

“I was like, ‘Bro, it’s a homer — just jog,’” Nunez said.

The moment temporarily sent a rush through the dugout. Minutes later, the Giants were left livid over a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close, but nonetheless was right there for them to steal. 

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

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CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time.