Giants

Morning After: Padres inadvertently fire up Giants shortstop

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Morning After: Padres inadvertently fire up Giants shortstop

SAN DIEGO -- Long before the first pitch Tuesday, or the first hit, or Madison Bumgarner vs. Wil Myers, the Padres tried to gain an edge in a peculiar way. As the Giants took the field for BP, the Petco Park in-stadium employees played a collection of soft songs, from Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are" to "At Last" by Etta James. The DJ then shifted to songs more appropriate for middle-school dances in the 90s than a ballpark in 2016.

The soundtrack peaked when "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" by the Backstreet Boys blasted through Petco Park. Not exactly hitting music -- unless you're the Giants.

"They thought they were putting us to sleep," shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "They were locking me in."

While the Padres hired a DJ to set up his laptop on the field during BP, the Giants this season simply turned the job over to their shortstop/clubhouse DJ. Crawford's "sneaky awesome" BP soundtrack includes NSYNC, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and yes, those Backstreet Boys. A run of cheesy pop songs during BP was not going to throw him off his game. It only helped.

Crawford hit a three-run homer, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and tacked on a fifth Giants run with an RBI double. He finished one RBI short of his career-high. Later, he talked about how much he enjoyed the music the Padres played as he took his cuts two hours before the game.

"They were locking me in and they didn't know it," he said, smiling. 

You can scour the world in search of talent that can help you win games, and A.J. Preller's Padres have. But sometimes all you need to do for an edge is a little research. Read a blog post, maybe listen to a podcast where a certain shortstop talks about how much his team loves hitting to certain songs.

The Padres might lull some teams to sleep with Backstreet Boys during BP. The Giants in the DJ Crawford Era are not one of those teams. 

--- Crawford said he doesn't always have the green light 3-0, but he did when he homered. Andrew Baggarly looked it up and Crawford has five 3-0 swings in his career, leading to three homers and a double. Crawford remembered the lone out. "Cueto ... I flew out to left," he said. 

--- The other Brandon reached base for the 24th consecutive game. That's tied for the longest streak of his career. Belt is hitting .400 in his last 21 games against the Padres.

--- Madison Bumgarner pitched a complete game and got into it with another hitter. In the game story, a look at how the fire that led to that Wil Myers altercation is also leading Bumgarner to search for perfection with his mechanics. 

--- From yesterday, the Giants will be rooting for Tim Lincecum when he joins the Angels. 

Bumgarner flashes familiar form, leads Giants past Dodgers

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Bumgarner flashes familiar form, leads Giants past Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — A 2-1 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium all but assured that the Giants will not lose 100 games. They still could, sure, because any sort of downslide is possible in this 2017 season, but they would really have to finish with some sort of ugly stretch. 

Still, it’s been a long season, so it was no surprise when Madison Bumgarner admitted to some sleepless nights since Opening Day. As for Saturday night …

“It’s going to be much easier to go to sleep tonight, because we won,” Bumgarner said.

The big lefty did the heavy lifting, throwing 7 2/3 dominant innings and offering one more reminder that his shoulder is 100 percent fine after a season-halting dirt bike accident. Bumgarner topped out at 93.5 mph, and even though Bruce Bochy thought Dodger Stadium might have had a hot gun on this night, the swings told the story of a good fastball. Bumgarner said this was as good as he has felt in a while. 

“He did look strong,” Bochy said. “He did have really good stuff tonight. It was really crisp.”

It was the kind of night that reminds you that, for all their issues, the Giants will start 2018 with a leg up on many others. They have Madison Bumgarner and you don’t, and that should lead to plenty of good over the course of 32 or 33 starts. 

“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back,” Bochy said. “This is the kind of ball we can play.”

It was the brand Bochy appreciates: A strong start, a good bullpen, strong defense, and just enough offense. That’s how the Giants will win in 2018, if they are to do so, which bodes well for the man at the center of Saturday’s offense. The Giants plan to move Denard Span to left field and acquire a new center fielder, but they still lack depth in the organization, and Gorkys Hernandez has made it clear he would like to stick around. He had three hits — including two doubles — and a walk, scoring both Giants runs. 

After a slow start that almost got him released, Hernandez took off over the summer, providing a high average and sparkling defense at three spots. A left wrist tendon issue has slowed him in September, but he surprised the staff by being available for the final two weeks of games, and he said he’ll play through the end of the year before considering any rehab options 

“He certainly has made a statement,” Bochy said. “He’s one of our better athletes. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and what’s impressive is how he’s come on with the bat. A kid like this that plays defense the way he can, and shows he can do some things with the bat, he’s in the mix.”

Hernandez said he loves playing in San Francisco. He intends to spend his offseason getting healthy at his home in Scottsdale before competing for an outfield job. 

“Every time Bochy puts me in the lineup I’m trying to show everyone that I can be here and that I can be part of this team for a long time,” he said. 

Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers

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AP

Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers

Even with the Giants facing a left-handed pitcher Saturday night vs. the Dodgers, Bruce Bochy is going with Denard Span as his three-hitter.

San Francisco Giants (60-94)

1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 3B
8. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P

Los Angeles Dodgers (98-56)

1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Enrique Hernandez (R) LF
4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Austin Barnes (R) C
7. Kyle Farmer (R) 1B
8. Charlie Culberson (R) 2B
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) P