NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball appears unlikely to interfere if Melky Cabrera wins the NL batting title while serving his 50-game suspension for a positive drug test.The San Francisco Giants outfielder began Wednesday with a league-leading .346 average, seven points ahead of Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen.Cabrera has 501 plate appearances, one fewer than the required amount if the Giants play 162 games. Under section 10.22(a) of the Official Baseball Rules, he would win the batting title if an extra hitless at-bat is added to his average and it remains higher than that of any other qualifying player."We'll see how it all plays out," baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said Wednesday after taping an episode of "CenterStage" for the YES Network. "We generally don't interfere in that process. We'll take a look at it at the end of the year."Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, was suspended Aug. 15 for a positive test for testosterone and is missing the final 45 games of the regular season.During the YES interview, scheduled to air for the first time Sept. 27, Selig was asked whether records set during the Steroids Era should be revisited."You can't change records because once you get into that it would never stop," Selig said. "It would create more problems than it would solve."Selig did say he was pleased an agreement was reached Tuesday to suspend Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar for three games for wearing eye-black displaying an anti-gay slur written in Spanish during a game last weekend against Boston."When something like that happens, it's disappointing," Selig said.Selig would not indicate whether he was closer to making a decision on the dispute between the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. Oakland wants to build a ballpark in San Jose, which is part of the Giants' territory, and Selig appointed a committee in March 2009 to evaluate the issue."The committee has been working very hard," he said.
Mired in a big slump, rookie Christian Arroyo is getting a night off, while Nick Hundley is catching in place of Buster Posey Saturday.
1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Tyler Flowers (R) C
7. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
8. Danny Santana (S) 3B
9. Mike Foltynewicz (R) P
San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
3. Joe Panik (L) 2B
4. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Aaron Hill (R) 3B
7. Nick Hundley (R) C
8. Mac Williamson (R) RF
9. Ty Blach (R) P
SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.
At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs.
“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said.
The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still.
The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper.
“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”
That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league.
Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored.
“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”