Giants

Offense awakens, Giants avoid sweep with 8-1 win

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Offense awakens, Giants avoid sweep with 8-1 win

Sept. 11, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Madison Bumgarner didn't have much problem handling the Los Angeles Dodgers while stopping another losing streak for the Giants.Convincing manager Bruce Bochy to let him finish out the season may be a bit more difficult.San Francisco's most reliable starter over the last three weeks, Bumgarner has already logged more than 186 innings on the mound this season. With their postseason hopes dimming almost every day, the Giants plan to take a cautious approach the rest of the way with their young left-hander."We had a little concern, not much, with how much he pitched the year before," Bochy said after Bumgarner allowed three hits over five innings in San Francisco's 7-1 win Sunday. "I just like where he's at right now. He worked hard today but made some great pitches."Bumgarner won his fourth straight start, Pablo Sandoval doubled home the go-ahead run in the fifth inning and the Giants beat the Dodgers to avoid a three-game sweep.Bumgarner (11-12) struck out eight and walked three, matching the longest winning streak of his career and improving to 8-3 with a 2.73 ERA since June 26."I'm just making better pitches and having a little better luck at the same time," Bumgarner said while insisting his arm strength is fine despite closing in on the 200-inning mark."I don't know if I've gotten stronger. I still feel good. I'm not worried about wins and losses for me. The biggest thing is innings. You want to stay out there and pitch late. That's probably the most important thing."Six of Bumgarner's victories, including each of the last four, have came after Giants losses.It's probably too little too late for the defending World Series champions, who snapped a three-game losing streak and trail NL West-leading Arizona by 8 12 games. When San Francisco scored two runs in the fifth and five in the sixth, it marked the first time since July 3 that the Giants scored multiple runs in consecutive innings.Slumping Aubrey Huff had two hits and a bases-loaded walk in his first start since Monday. Sandoval finished with a career-high three doubles, tying a Giants regular-season record at AT&T Park."It seems to be starting a little late," Huff said. "You could tell when we got a three-run lead, everyone relaxed and we started scoring more."Tony Gwynn Jr. doubled in the Dodgers' run but struck out with the potential tying run at second base in the sixth. Los Angeles lost for only the third time in 13 games.San Francisco had gone 18 consecutive scoreless innings until breaking through against starter Hiroki Kuroda, who had not lost in four previous appearances at the Giants.Sandoval drove in Jeff Keppinger for a 2-1 lead in the fifth and Huff followed with an RBI single on an 0-2 pitch. In a 5-for-36 (.139) slump coming in, Huff also walked with the bases loaded against Scott Elbert during a five-run sixth.In the second, Huff doubled leading off after initially thinking he had a home run. The ball hit the top of the fence and bounced back onto the field, but second base umpire John Hirschbeck ruled the ball was still in play. Umpires upheld the call following a video review.It was reminiscent of San Francisco's win over Texas in Game 2 of the World Series last year when the Rangers' Ian Kinsler hit a ball to almost the same spot as Huff did. Kinsler was also given a double on the play.Three batters later, Eli Whiteside singled in Huff with San Francisco's first run."I was touching first and everybody thought it was a homer," Huff said. "I'm like, 'Homer? I hit it high enough to get out?' I scored, so it's kind of a moot point."Kuroda (11-16) allowed three runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing since getting only 12 outs against San Diego on Aug. 2 last year."For the most part it looks like he isn't able to locate like he usually does," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Everybody is entitled to this kind of stretch. He's not going to cave in. It's not like he's missing with everything."Cody Ross hit a bases-loaded double and pinch-hitter Mark De Rosa added a two-run single in the sixth.Los Angeles scored its lone run in the second and had a chance for more with the bases loaded before Bumgarner worked his way out of it. He got Kuroda to ground into a force play at home then retired Dee Gordon on a comebacker.The Dodgers managed only four runners the rest of the way and ended their trip 7-3.NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the game to commemorate the victims of 911. There was no ceremonial first pitch; instead, Bochy walked out to the field alone and left a ball on the pitching mound. ... The previous San Francisco player to have three doubles in one home game was Nate Schierholtz on Sept. 24, 2008. ... The Giants activated LHP Barry Zito from the 15-day DL. Bochy plans to use Zito as a spot starter and out of the bullpen. ... Eric Surkamp (1-0) pitches for San Francisco in the series opener against San Diego on Monday. The rookie lefty beat the Padres on Sept. 6 for his only career win in the majors. ... Dodgers LHP Ted Lilly (9-13), who tied his season high of nine strikeouts in his previous start, will pitch for Los Angeles in the opener of a three-game set with Arizona.

Tough luck: Rich Hill throws nine no-hit innings, loses on walk-off HR in 10th

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AP

Tough luck: Rich Hill throws nine no-hit innings, loses on walk-off HR in 10th

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PITTSBURGH -- Dodgers lefty Rich Hill lost his perfect game on an error in the ninth inning, then lost his no-hitter on a leadoff home run in the 10th by Josh Harrison that sent the Pittsburgh Pirates over Los Angeles 1-0 Wednesday night.

Hill became the first pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1995 to take a no-hit try into extra innings.

The Pirates didn't have a runner until Jordy Mercer led off the ninth with a sharp grounder that smacked off third baseman Logan Forsythe's glove for an error. Hill retired the next three batters.

Hill (9-5) came back out for the 10th and Harrison sent his 99th pitch of the night into the first row of seats in left field, just out of the reach of Los Angeles leftfielder Curtis Granderson. Hill struck out 10 without a walk.

Juan Nicasio (2-5) picked up the win after working the top of the 10th.

After Mercer reached in the ninth, Hill quickly retired the next three batters. Chris Stewart laid down a sacrifice bunt, Jose Osuna grounded out to Forsythe and when shortstop Corey Seager gobbled up a grounder by Starling Marte, Hill held the Pirates hitless for nine innings.

But to get official credit for a no-hitter under Major League Baseball rules, a pitcher must complete the game - going nine innings isn't enough if it goes into extras. Back in 1959, a Pirates pitcher had perhaps the most famous near-miss of all when Harvey Haddix lost his perfect game and the game itself in the 13th at Milwaukee.

In what's been a charmed season for the Dodgers, a 37-year-old journeyman received an ovation from the Pirates crowd at PNC Park as he walked off the mound after the ninth. A large mass of fans clad in Dodger blue sitting behind the Los Angeles dugout rose to its feet after taking in the latest remarkable night in a season full of them for the team chasing the best regular season record in major-league history.

Rather than go to the best bullpen in the majors, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts sent Hill back out to see if he could keep the no-hitter going.

The appearance of his No. 44 jersey sent a jolt through the crowd of 19,859. It also proved to be one inning too many.

One batter, in fact. Hill could only watch the ball sail over the fence and, without expression, walked to the dugout.

"We knew we had a chance to win with one hit," Harrison said later.

Harrison broke up a no-hit bid by Detroit's Justin Verlander with two outs in the ninth in 2012. That game ended in a Pittsburgh loss. This one ended with Harrison sprinting toward a mob of teammates at home plate while Hill left as the losing pitcher following the best game of his career.

Hill raced through eight innings thanks in part to impeccable control and some spectacular defense behind him, most notably a diving grab by second baseman Chase Utley on a liner by Josh Bell leading off the eighth.

Bell was ruled safe on a close play at first in the second inning, but the call was overturned when replay showed Hill tagged him just before his foot hit the bag. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez also made a sliding grab on a bunt attempt by Harrison in the fourth but otherwise, Hill was in firm command.

Hill had come close to perfection in the past. Last Sept. 10, he retired all 21 batters at Miami before Roberts pulled him after seven innings and 89 pitches because of a recurrence of blisters on his pitching hand. He also was dealing with a groin injury.

In December, Hill re-signed as a free agent with the Dodgers, getting a three-year deal worth $48 million. The contract was quite a reward for a former journeyman who, as recently as 2015, was pitching for the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League.

Hill began this night with a 47-32 record in a career that began in 2005 and took him from the Chicago Cubs to Baltimore, then to Boston, Cleveland, the Angels, the Yankees, Oakland and the Dodgers. Hill has overcome serious injuries during his career, including a torn labrum in 2009 and elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2011.

Trevor Williams matched Hill out for out, if not pitch for pitch. The Pirates rookie kept Los Angeles off the board for eight innings, letting Hill to line out in the fourth to leave the bases loaded in the fourth, using a pair of double plays in the fifth and sixth and getting Forsythe to line out after a nine-pitch at bat with two on and two outs in the eighth.

The Pirates have been no-hit nine teams in team history. For nine innings it looked like they were on their way to a 10th. One swing from Harrison changed all that.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (lower back strain) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday. Roberts said the team considered having Kershaw return directly to the majors on Saturday but decided to exercise caution with such a large lead in the division. ... RHP Yu Darvish (lower back tightness) will be activated off the disabled list on Sunday and start against Milwaukee.

Pirates: Trainer Todd Tomczyk is "optimistic" RF Gregory Polanco will return from a strained left hamstring before the end of the season. Polanco is currently on the 10-day disabled list for a third time this season because of hamstring trouble. ... C Francisco Cervelli (left wrist inflammation) is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday and could return to the lineup.

UP NEXT:
Dodgers: Hyun-Jin Riu (4-6, 3.45 ERA) is undefeated in his last eight starts, going 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA since June 17.

Pirates: Chad Kuhl (6-8, 4.52) will try to bounce back from his worst start of the season on Thursday. Kuhl gave up eight runs in three-plus innings last week against St. Louis.

Two events in Wednesday's win show change in Jarrett Parker's luck

Two events in Wednesday's win show change in Jarrett Parker's luck

SAN FRANCISCO -- There have been more than 6,500 doubles hit in the big leagues this season. Only 55 have had an exit velocity of less than 62 mph. Only five of those 55 came with the go-ahead run on base.

So, it was a somewhat rare event when Jarrett Parker checked his swing, accidentally made contact, and drove in the go-ahead run with a two-run double. On a related note, Parker didn't care.

He's not one for luck or karma. He's also not a big student of exit velocity. Asked if he wanted to know how hard his double was hit, Parker shook his head.

"Nope," he said. "Don't care."

The rest of the team didn't, either. The Giants figure they're owed a few more in this down year, and nobody cared how the winning run came across in a 4-2 victory over the Brewers.

"You hear good things happen when you put the ball in play, and he did," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a break for us and we'll take it. It went our way there with that check-swing, which you'll take. We've had some tough breaks."

For a moment after the series clinching win, Parker thought he had suffered another bad one. He felt something grab in his right arm as he went up for the celebratory jump with the rest of the outfield, and he said he was thinking about it as he jogged off the field. Parker missed 96 games earlier this year after fracturing his clavicle. That delayed what appears to be a bit of a breakout. Parker said his arm felt fine once he got back to the clubhouse. 

"I was worried about it at first but I shook it off," he said. "It was just a cramp."

That was a relief for Parker, and it kept the good vibes going. After the way Parker's season started, he certainly is owed a bit more in that department.