Pagan quickly feeling at home with Giants

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Pagan quickly feeling at home with Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Angel Pagan has worn a Giants uniformfor just two spring training games, but hes already finding that his neworganization has his back.Even up in the broadcast booth.In the second inning of Sundays 11-1 exhibition victory over the ArizonaDiamondbacks, Pagan drilled a hard ground ball that hit runner Hector Sanchezbetween first and second base. Sanchez was ruled out, correctly. The inning wasover. The official scorer called it a fielders choice.Thats when Hall of Fame announcer Jon Miller came rushing out of the booth,waving his rulebook. He pointed to Rule 10.05 (section A, subsection 5), whichshowed that Pagan should have been credited with a single.

You cant just make this up, Miller said (and further explains in the embedded video). Under the rules of baseball, itsa hit.And so it was. Pagan went 2-for-4. You can look it up in the box score.Its very, very early in the spring, but Pagan has been a big hit in his shorttime as a Giant. He added an RBI single later in Sundays game to drive in arun. No. 2 hitter Melky Cabrera also doubled for the second consecutive game andprobably seared his retinas while making a tough catch on a sun ball in leftfield.With their catalysts leading the way, the Giants also got three hits each fromBrett Pill and Mike Fontenot on the hard-baked surface to rout the defending NLWest champions at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.Manager Bruce Bochy wanted to see plenty of Pagan and Cabrera in the top twolineup spots, which is why he put them in the same split-squad roster Sunday.He likes what he sees thus far.Its early. Its two games, Bochy said. But even with that, you like the wayits going right now. We have time to get this thing jelled together into alineup that will pretty much be our everyday lineup.As the two guys at the top of the order show, were a little more athleticnow. Theyre getting good at-bats and swinging the bat well. We ran the baseswell today. It was a very nice ballgame.Pagan is making an impression in the clubhouse, too. His upbeat personality wasreadily apparent to teammates from his first day he spent with them at FanFestat AT&T Park last month. It was a trip he didnt have to make, especiallyconsidering the long flight from his home in Puerto Rico.Wow, he said at FanFest, his face aglow as he was ushered from the stage toan autograph station. They dont have anything like this with the Mets.Pagan showed more personality when asked about the swarm of bees that delayedthe game for 41 minutes in the second inning."Never seen anything like it," he said. "I didnt know what todo. If I got stung by one, Id get stung by a million. I stood in the dugout bythe bathroom, ready to lock myself in."Asked about his upbeat, outgoing nature this spring, Pagan made reference to acouple of pretty good sparkplugs.What you see is what you get, he said Sunday. I like to be a good guy aroundmy teammates so they can be comfortable. I played with (Jose) Reyes so I try tohave that same infusion of energy in me. Its being energetic, no differentthan Andres Torres. Thats something that every team needs. When you have aspark like that at the top of the lineup, it can change your lineup dramatically.Youll remember that Pagan and Torres were traded for each other in December.The Mets wanted to cut costs, and Ramon Ramirez filled their need for adependable right-handed reliever.The Giants believe they got a more dependable everyday offensive player inPagan, without sacrificing too much defense in center field. As beloved asTorres was among Giants fans, its no secret he was mentally drowning as thestrikeouts piled up.And Pagan looks like he could be a fan favorite, too.This team is committed to win, he said. Im not saying that the Mets werentcommitted, but these guys have a very good chance to make it to the postseason.Theyre committed to get back. Last year, they got hit by injury bug and thatssomething they cant control.But this year is different. They put some speed in top of lineup with me andMelky. Weve definitely got some power. If we can provide some runs early, thatmight be the game. Seeing it from the outside, every time you put three orfourruns up with this pitching staff, its over.

He hopes to save some runs forthat staff in center field, too.Very wide outfield gaps, he said. Its good for me. Im a gap-to-gap hitterso hopefully I can get a lot of triples over there. Its a lot of room to cover(but) I worked really hard this offseason for that. Im ready.One other note of interest to Giants fans: Pagan is not related to former Giant Jose Pagan, who passed away last June. But they did meet a few times, and when people called to express condolences, Angel kindly accepted.

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.

But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.

Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto said through a translator. "I'm just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better."

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

"He did what he needed to do to get us out," Kemp said. "We had chances to score runs and we didn't. I think in this series we really didn't do a good score of scoring runs."

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.

"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much," Dickey said.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

"It's always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he'd been this year," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Hopefully it's something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good."

Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

FUN FACTOR:
The Giants scored the game's first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said "Yes, no question. It's not fun to hit, it doesn't look fun to catch, either."

FANCY FIELDING:
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

UP NEXT:
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

The Giants look to win two straight against the Braves and Bruce Bochy has made a few changes to the lineup Sunday.

Atlanta Braves (21-26)

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. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Rio Ruiz (L) 3B
8. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
9. R.A. Dickey (R) P

San Francisco Giants (21-30)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P