Marrero, Crawford help Cueto become first pitcher to three wins

Marrero, Crawford help Cueto become first pitcher to three wins

SAN FRANCISCO — Chris Marrero has been dressed early all week, smacking balls in the cage with hitting coaches, taking fly balls in left with instructor Cody Ross, and doing swing drills by himself on a patch of grass alongside the dugout. 

Marrero entered play Friday in a 1-for-18 slump to start the season, his first as a semi-regular in the big leagues. A 28-year-old veteran with more than 4,000 minor league plate appearances on his resume, Marrero admitted he was pressing. But he did not press to make changes. 

“Did I want to start the season this way? No,” he said. “But I tried not to change anything. How are you going to change if what you worked on in spring training worked?”

That eight-homer spring earned a first opening day nod for Marrero. His first regular season homer doubled as the first of his big league career, and it gave Johnny Cueto a 2-0 lead that would only grow as the Giants pounded the Rockies 8-2. 

Cueto improved to 3-0 on the season and showed some of his trademark fire as he halted a mid-game rally that could have wiped away Marrero’s work. It was a night full of emotion for the Giants. Marrero was still trying to settle himself as he jogged out to left minutes after his blast to the bleachers. Brandon Crawford, who lost his sister-in-law this week, added a homer of his own, one he dedicated to Jennifer Pippin.

There was little doubt Marrero would be in the lineup Friday against lefty Tyler Anderson. Manager Bruce Bochy has stuck by him during the early struggles. But Bochy wasn’t sure he would have his shortstop. The two spoke after Thursday’s game. Bochy told Crawford he could take a couple of days off.

“He said, ‘I want to play,’” Bochy said. 

Crawford’s homer in the fourth rocketed out of the ballpark. As he always does, he pointed to the sky as he touched the plate. Crawford's wife, Jalynne, took to Twitter and wrote, "I know she's screaming in heaven right now! She would be so proud of that!!"

AT&T Park shook and later it lit up.

Fans took out their cell phones as Brandon Belt worked a 13-pitch at-bat in the seventh, culminating in a single. Belt saw 35 pitches in five at-bats, and his lone hit of the night kicked off a string of five straight singles that broke the game open.

The sudden blowout allowed the Giants to relax a bit after a couple of stressful weeks. Derek Law and Cory Gearrin took it home, clinching a second straight 3-0 start for Cueto. He’s the first Giant to do that in back-to-back years since Rick Reuschel in 1988-89. 

When the final pitch was thrown, Marrero went off in search of a baseball. The fan who caught his blast wanted just one thing: Dodgers tickets. Marrero took care of that on a night that he won’t forget.

“You think about these moments when you first start playing baseball,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in my career. It was a battle early in the season but I didn’t lose confidence.

“This game is a grind, man. It’s tough mentally and physically. It’s tough to get out of a hole. You’ve got to believe in yourself and keep fighting.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants get swept by Mets at home

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants get swept by Mets at home

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The Mets spent the first half of this week in Los Angeles, where they got swept by the Dodgers and outscored 36-11. Their beat writers publicly wrote an end to any thoughts of the postseason. The fan base renewed the calls for manager Terry Collins to be fired. 

That’s where they were. And then they flew to San Francisco. 

AT&T Park continues to be a place where others get healthy, and this weekend it was the Mets. The Giants lost 8-2 on Sunday, getting swept by a similarly disappointing team. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games. 

There’s not much more to be said about it, but I did anyway. Here are five things to know from the day a relief pitcher got an at-bat but it would have been far too cruel to text your friends … 

—- Matt Moore’s line: 4 1/3 innings, seven hits, five earned runs, three walks, five strikeouts. Through 16 starts, he has a 6.04 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. He ranks last among qualified NL starters in ERA. Only Matt Cain (1.73) has a worse WHIP. Good times. 

—- Mets righty Rafael Montero entered with an 0-4 record and 6.49 ERA. He gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings. Good times. 

—- With runners on the corners and two outs in the third inning, Brandon Belt strolled to the plate. He leads the team in homers. Hunter Pence tried to steal second for some reason and he was caught, ending the inning and keeping Belt from batting in a two-run game. Good times. 

—- With two on and no outs in the sixth, the Giants sent the runners to make sure Buster Posey didn’t hit into a double play. Posey popped up softly to first and Joe Panik was doubled off of second. Good times. 

—- One last bit of bad news: Austin Slater was removed from the game with a tight right hip flexor. 

Barry Bonds predicts he can still smash Splash Hit: 'Without a doubt'

Barry Bonds predicts he can still smash Splash Hit: 'Without a doubt'

Barry Bonds stepped into Giants' broadcast booth with Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow during the top of the third inning Sunday and Kuiper immediately brought up the shape Bonds is in at 52 years old. 

"Still think you can play, probably?" Kuiper asked Bonds. 

After giving Kuiper the look, Bonds replied, "About an inning or two."

Moments later, the cameras moved to McCovey Cove past the right field wall at AT&T Park where Bonds famously hit home runs deep into the water. Of the 73 Splash Hits off Giants bats into the cove, Bonds is responsible for 35 of them. 

Now an avid cyclist who still picks up a bat from time to time, Bonds is fully confident that number would rise if he stepped into the batter's box again. 

"I promise you I will," Bonds replied when Krukow asked if he could still hit home runs into the water. "Without a doubt." 

Krukow predicted Bonds would need 10 swings to get it done. Bonds says he might need just a few more.

"Well it would take me eight swings to get warmed up, three pop ups and then I'd get it," he said with a laugh. 

During spring training this year, Bonds joined the Giants as a special instructor. And he proved his claim of more Splash Hits could certainly be true as he showed off his legendary swing and cracked balls over the wall in Scottsdale

Bonds hit his final home run of his career, No. 762, on Sept. 5, 2007 on the road against the Rockies in a 5-3 Giants win. The Giants are adding Bonds to their Wall of Fame on July 8.