Pill, Christian lead Giants to win in L.A.

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Pill, Christian lead Giants to win in L.A.

BOX SCORE
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A couple of September call-ups are giving the San Francisco Giants an offensive boost in their last-gasp bid for a playoff berth.Justin Christian had a three hits and drove in three runs - all with two outs - and Brent Pill went 3 for 5 with two RBIS in an 8-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night."It's nice to see these guys called up and making the contribution," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "They're doing what you hoped to see and that's showing they can play in the major leagues."Christian, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Fresno on Sept. 5, is 5 for 8 in the first two games of the series. Pill, who played with Christian in Fresno, also scored twice."It's awesome," he said of his success. "I feel pretty relaxed, not trying to do too much."Pill grew up rooting for the Dodgers against the Giants."It's fun to be part of it and help the team," he said.The Giants can use all the help they can get at this point.Any combination of two Arizona wins andor Giants' losses would eliminate the defending World Series champions. San Francisco trails Atlanta by 3 12 games for the NL wild-card spot."We're in the mode right now where we got to win every game," Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong said. "The mood is try and win every night and see what happens."Los Angeles had its four-game winning streak ended as it dropped back to .500.Vogelsong (12-7) allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings, struck out three and walked one in extending his career-high victory total. The All-Star right-hander has gone 3-6 in his last nine starts after being 9-1 through his first 20 games."I just started missing a little in the fifth," he said. "They were pitches I wanted. I just didn't put them where I wanted to."After giving up an RBI single to James Loney in the ninth, Brian Wilson earned his 36th save in 41 chances, and his first since Aug. 13 after a stint on the disabled list.The Giants had their season-high eight-game winning streak snapped in the series opener Tuesday, but have won 11 of 15.They scored three runs with two outs in the first on RBI singles by Pill and Mike Fontenot. Christian's two-run double with two outs in the fourth increased their lead to 5-0.The Dodgers got to 5-4 in the fifth on Jamey Carroll's RBI single and Matt Kemp's three-run homer.Bolstering his bid for the NL MVP award, Kemp hit his 35th homer to tie Atlanta's Dan Uggla for second in the league. Kemp overtook Philadelphia's Ryan Howard for the league lead in RBIs with 116 and he surpassed Milwaukee's Ryan Braun for the runs lead with 106. He singled in the ninth for his 183rd hit.Dana Eveland (2-2) gave up five runs and six hits in four innings, struck out one and walked three in his fourth start for the Dodgers this season. The left-hander fell to 3-1 in his career against the Giants after having blanked them for seven innings of a 3-0 win on Sept. 10."I think on all three of my walks I was ahead in the count. I just struggled putting guys away," he said. "It wasn't so much the hits that I gave up in those situations. It was how I got into those situations that really bothers me. I don't like to walk people, especially from an 0-2 or 1-2 count. I was overthrowing some pitches, just trying to do too much."San Francisco extended its lead to 6-4 with two outs in the sixth on Christian's RBI single. The Giants added two runs in the seventh on Pill's RBI double and a sacrifice fly by Mark DeRosa.NOTES: Giants RF Carlos Beltran left the game with a right foot contusion after being hit by a pitch in the third. He doubled in the first to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Bochy said he expects Beltran to play in Thursday's series finale. ... Vogelsong improved to 6-1 on the road this season. ... Kemp's homer was the 94th given up by the Giants this season, fewest in the majors. ... Dodgers SS Dee Gordon extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the first, while RF Jerry Sands' streak extended to nine games with a single in the eighth.

After Giants' first Coors Field sweep in 15 years, Bochy preaches urgency

After Giants' first Coors Field sweep in 15 years, Bochy preaches urgency

DENVER — Bruce Bochy watched the first two games of this road trip from his home in San Diego and the final three from the top step of the dugout at Coors Field. He did not like what he saw, but at the moment he’s more concerned with what he might hear. 

“What you have to careful of — you can’t let any kind of complacency set in and say, ‘It’s early, we’ll be ok.’ I don’t want to hear that either,” Bochy said. “It’s the old adage that you come out with some sense of urgency. All these games are important. You’ve got to stay away from that attitude, too: ‘We’re not through April yet and have 140-something games left.’ That doesn’t work out.”

Three weeks into the season, nothing is working. The rotation has a 5.02 ERA, the worst in the Majors. The lineup scored 10 runs over a five-game road trip and got shut out twice. The bullpen hasn’t been given many leads with which to make up for the first-week trouble. The defense has been uncharacteristically sloppy. 

It has added up to a 6-13 start, tied for the worst in club history. The Giants have lost six of seven and they’ll head home seven games out of first place. 

“Right now there’s nothing clicking,” Bochy said. “Let’s be honest, this has been a rough start and we’re not very good right now. I’m not saying we’re not very good. We are good, but we’ve got to find a way to come out of this. This was a tough way to end this series. We’ve been through it. I’ve got men out there and that’s when you find a way to get through this. They will.”

Perhaps Monday will bring some fresh blood for the roster. Drew Stubbs appears poised to give the Giants another veteran option should they cut bait with a struggling outfielder. Michael Morse could be an option in left field soon, and if he’s mostly relegated to first, the Giants can put Brandon Belt in the outfield. He looked fine there Sunday while playing both corner spots. 

Those are moves made around the edges of the roster, though. There is no magic bullet coming from the outside, not even Christian Arroyo, who continues to mash at Triple-A. This is a $200 million roster and much of that has been spent on the rotation. Through 13 games, it is the worst in the National League, and the ace was lost to an off-field accident. Sure, the starters have pitched at Chase Field and Coors Field, but on back-to-back days they were dominated by Rockies rookies who make a living here. 

Samardzija could not keep pace with left-hander Kyle Freeland, who sawed off a handful of bats while cruising through seven. Samardzjiza gave up a run early, two more in the fourth on a hanging splitter that was blasted to right, and five in the sixth.

Bochy challenged his starting staff to improve after Saturday’s game. He has not publicly done the same with the lineup, but subtle changes have been made here and there. It is a group that, outside of a couple of players, has lacked energy. Because they don’t hit for power, the Giants are reliant on stringing together rallies. For the fourth time in seven games, the lineup failed to put a runner on base the first time through the order. 

“Even in spring training we had our games where we had trouble getting something going early,” Bochy said. “It’s the fourth or fifth before a hit. Somehow, we’ve got to change that.”

The Giants played Sunday without Jarrett Parker (clavicle) and Denard Span (right shoulder sprain), but for the most part the lineup is healthy. Bochy said he has talked to hitting coach Hensley Meulens about possibly altering pre-game routines, but that seems a cosmetic fix. 

“We’ve talked and we’ve shaken up the lineup, but as you saw today, there’s only so much you can do,” he said. 

Bochy knows there is outside noise regarding the roster. His eyes bulged the other day when asked if Arroyo would get a call-up next week. The Giants do not feel he is quite ready, or that there is a spot for him on the infield. For all the potential bench options waiting at Triple-A, this team's core is set, and it’s not outrageously banged-up compared to the rest of the division. 

The Dodgers, who come into town Monday, have 10 players on the disabled list, including No. 2 starter Rich Hill, second baseman Logan Forsythe, and left fielder Andre Ethier. The Rockies, the best team in the NL West thus far, are off to this start without big offseason acquisition Ian Desmond and young slugger David Dahl. Jon Gray, their opening day starter, went on the DL after facing the Giants in San Francisco. Chad Bettis, a rotation member, is getting treatment for testicular cancer. 

This division is better than expected, and as the end of April approaches, the Giants are bringing up the rear. Bochy’s plea for urgency was one that would have fit right in with last season’s second half. Back then, the Giants could at least lean on a huge start that got them into the postseason. As they flew home Sunday, there was nothing to fall back on but a simple truth.

This is the team. It must play better.

“We have everything we need in this room,” Samardzija said. “Sometimes you need to go out on the field and prove it.”

 

Instant Replay: Giants' struggles continue in sweep from Rockies

Instant Replay: Giants' struggles continue in sweep from Rockies

BOX SCORE

DENVER — Bruce Bochy spent about 10 minutes before Sunday’s game talking about potential options in left field and center. The problems for this lineup, however, currently go much deeper than the outfield. 

A day after the Giants managed just four hits off Antonio Senzatela, the bats went completely limp against fellow Rockies rookie Kyle Freeland. The Giants were shut out 8-0, a rarity at Coors Field. They were blanked twice on the road trip and scored just 10 runs during a five-game swing through Kansas City and Denver. 

The sweep at Coors Field was the Giants' first since 2002. At 6-13, they have the worst record in the National League.

For the fourth time in seven games, and third time on this five-game road trip, the Giants went one time through the order without a baserunner. That puts added pressure on your starter, and Jeff Samardzija couldn’t keep it close. Charlie Blackmon hit a leadoff liner to right that was misplayed into a triple and he scored on a sacrifice fly. Gerardo Parra got a spinner down in the zone in the fourth and blasted a two-run shot to right. 

As they did Saturday night, the Rockies pulled away with a huge rally. Nolan Arenado’s infield single and a walk of Carlos Gonzalez set the table in the sixth. Gerardo Parra lined a single to center and all runners advanced when Gorkys Hernandez kicked it. Trevor Story’s single to right was bobbled by Hunter Pence and two more scored. Blackmon’s double made it 8-0.

Starting pitching report: Samardzija was charged with seven earned in 5 1/3 innings. He has a 7.40 ERA through four starts. The starting staff has a 5.02 ERA, the worst in the majors. That won’t play, not when you’ve spent most of your resources the last two years on starters. 

Bullpen report: Hunter Strickland's Mullet had a scoreless debut. 

At the plate: Nope. 

In the field: Brandon Belt’s first start in left this season was rather uneventful. He caught a liner right at him in the first and came up inches short on a diving attempt in foul territory. Belt moved to right in the seventh inning. He had one previous inning there in the big leagues but he actually prefers right because it’s the same angle as his normal position. Belt gloved a liner right at him in the eighth. 

Attendance: The Rockies announced a crowd of 42,011 human beings and one donkey, who was a menace. 

Up next: The first look at the Dodgers. The Giants will see Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and likely Julio Urias in the four-game series.