Runs continue to come at premium in San Francisco


Runs continue to come at premium in San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO -- Given the events of the day, Matt Cain would have had a field day with the Giants Friday night.

As the Giants Saturday starter was being plaqued for his perfect game, the teams everyday lineup was showing that while perfect games are exceedingly rare, a shutout to even the most modest team is not out of the ordinary at all.

The Giants were granted a three-hit shutout defeat, 3-0, by Colorado rookie lefthander Tyler Chatwood and three relievers, and while the Rockies do some truly odd things with their pitching staff these days, this was not one of those nights when they were taxed nearly enough.

RECAP: Rockies 3, Giants 0

We got three hits against a guy who was effectively wild, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said between long, tortured face-rubs. They got a couple of timely hits, and we didnt get any.

Well, they got three in total, so timeliness was less noticeable than quantity.

One-out singles by Brandon Crawford in the third and fifth innings went begging, the fifth-inning one dying because Tim Lincecum couldnt get a bunt down, and the rest of the night was watching Giants hitters essentially run down the first base line and double back. The top six Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, Melky Cabrera, Hunter Pence, Hector Sanchez and Brandon Belt went 1-for-21, and Pence is now 6-for-43 as a Giant, a profoundly untidy .140.

The inability to do anything to a Colorado team had surrendered 35 runs to the Giants a week ago mooted an odd outing by Lincecum, who lasted seven innings but spent much of his night fighting from behind. He was going to a slightly bigger wind-up Friday, but the main result was that he started 15 of the first 18 Colorado hitters off with a ball, and that inability to pitch ahead in the count could have crushed him.

As it was, he was nicked only for two-out RBI singles by Dexter Fowler in the third and Tyler Colvin in the fourth, and then a Colvin single and stolen base and a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Chris Nelson in the seventh. It was by the definition a quality start, and it surely could have been worse, but it was not one of Lincecums finest since the All-Star break.

But as Bochy said, That wasnt it. It was three hits, and three hits wins very few games. Without Buster Posey, who got the night off but flied out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, the Giants were hitting their four, five and six hitters higher than they would normally, and they provided next to nothing for their efforts.

And Pence, who has one walk and 11 strikeouts to go with those six hits, is having a stunningly minimal impact since the trade that brought him from Philadelphia.

This may all change when Posey returns Saturday to catch, and Monday, when Pablo Sandoval, who went 0-for-2 in San Jose on a rehab assignment Friday night, is expected to return. Then again, the Giants have the second fewest runs in baseball at home this year (180 in 56 games, a ridiculous 3.21 per game), and the second most on the road (291 in 57 games, an impressive 5.11), so it may not just be personnel.

But the ballpark isnt going to change, so the players have to. Friday, though, was more of the painful same in a season that looks like a seismograph that gets kicked every few days whether it needs it or not.

Hundley still not ready to discuss future; Cain to start during final weekend

Hundley still not ready to discuss future; Cain to start during final weekend

PHOENIX — A few weeks ago, Nick Hundley said he preferred not to talk about his future until the end of the season. We’re close enough, so after hitting the go-ahead homer Monday night, Hundley was again asked about his 2018 plans. He smiled.

“How many have we got left? Five?” he said. “Ask me Sunday.”

It’s not just the media and fans seeking an answer from the popular backup who has nine homers. The Giants hope to get some feel from Hundley as they finalize offseason plans, and manager Bruce Bochy said he would talk to the veteran this week. Bochy left no doubt about what he hopes will happen.

“I think he knows what we think of him,” he said. 

Hundley, a 34-year-old who came over in the offseason, has been one of the few overachievers this season. He has 32 extra-base hits in 274 at-bats, taking advantage of increased time with Brandon Belt done for the year and Buster Posey sliding over to first base. Hundley is one of the lineup’s more potent right-handed options, and he has earned praise from the starting staff. Johnny Cueto said Hundley helped him navigate a post-clinch Diamondbacks lineup that was essentially pulled straight out of Triple-A. 

Cueto did so with ease, striking out eight in six innings. He evened his record at 8-8, and he’ll have a chance to clinch a winning season on Sunday. Bochy said Cueto will start the final game of the season, and he confirmed that Matt Cain will start either Friday or Saturday. Asked for more details, the manager kept it just as mysterious as his catcher. 

“I’ll let you know tomorrow,” he said.

Giants lineup: Pence leading off, lefties back in against D'backs

Giants lineup: Pence leading off, lefties back in against D'backs

After batting fourth on Sunday in Los Angeles, Hunter Pence is back in the leadoff spot in the series opener against Arizona.

Additionally, Denard Span, Joe Panik and Jarrett Parker return after sitting against Clayton Kershaw.

San Francisco Giants:
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
7. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
8. Nick Hundley (R) C
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

Arizona Diamondbacks:
1. Gregor Blanco (L) LF
2. Kristopher Negron (R) SS
3. Brandon Drury (R) 2B
4. Christian Walker (R) 1B
5. Rey Fuentes (L) CF
6. Adam Rosales (R) 3B
7. Jeremy Hazelbaker (L) RF
8. John Ryan Murphy (R) C
9. Zack Godley (R) P