Scutaro, Giants feel right at home in another road romp


Scutaro, Giants feel right at home in another road romp


ST. LOUIS Third baseman Marco Scutaro is still marveling over the diving play that shortstop Brandon Crawford made in the fourth inning Wednesday night. What most impressed Scutaro was the way Crawford scampered to his feet and unleashed a smooth, strong throw to first base.

Hes great, man. Hes very steady defensively unbelievable, Scutaro said, following the Giants 15-0 plucking of the St. Louis Cardinals. His arm, too. I (asked) him if I can have a little of his arm. He has too much.

Suuure. Says the guy who had seven RBIs.

Scutaro became the first Giant to drive in seven runs since Jeff Kent on May 1, 2001. Hes the first Giants third baseman with seven knocked in since Cory Snyder in 1992.

Elevated to the No.2 spot in place of a slumping Ryan Theriot, Scutaro had an RBI single in the third inning, a two-run double in the eighth and a grand slam in the ninth that might best be described as happy overkill.

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Theyre always welcome, Scutaro said of the RBIs. The last at-bat, with two strikes, I was just trying to put the ball in play. That guy had a lot of movement on his fastball. It went over the fence.

What kind of movement best describes the Giants this season? Well, there seems to be more than one of them. On the road, they are averaging a major league-best 5.18 runs per game including 56 runs on this current trip while winning five of six thus far.

I did not know that, said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, after a stunned pause.

Ah, but at AT&T Park, their 3.27 runs per game is the lowest home output among NL clubs, and better only than the Seattle Mariners in the major leagues.

Its hard to explain, Bochy said. Obviously, AT&T is not conducive to hitting and we know that. But for us to be where were at, thats amazing to me, really. Thats not the type of game we play, but its good to see us swing it on the road.

Hunter Pence had a pair of RBI hits, one following a pitch-around walk to Buster Posey, to help the Giants build a lead for Ryan Vogelsong. Theyve scored in the first inning in seven consecutive road games, something no major league club has done since the 2006 Mets.

It took a road trip for new additions Pence and Scutaro to feel at home. They appear settled in now, and perhaps that will make a difference when the Giants return to the shores of McCovey Cove on Friday.

These two guys are really good players, Vogelsong said. Marco has been a solid player everywhere hes gone and Hunter is a front-line player in this league.

Said Scutaro: I dont see any reason why this cant continue, especially when we get Pablo back.

That would be Pablo Sandoval, whose activation could come as soon as Sunday. Bochy acknowledged that Scutaros play merits an everyday role for now, although his versatility could allow him to mix in with Theriot at second base, take occasional starts for Crawford at short and yes, play third base with Sandoval moving to first.

Right now, sure, hell continue to be out there, Bochy said. He gives you depth and the ability to rest guys, and against righties, even an option to put Pablo at first base, if we wanted to go that way.

Hes been a great addition. Hes going to give you professional at-bats and good defense. Hes been a shot in the arm. Weve always thought a lot of Marco and its nice to have him here helping out.

Mariners designate former Giants pitcher for assignment

Mariners designate former Giants pitcher for assignment

CHICAGO -- Chris Heston was hopeful a move to a new organization could give his career a jolt. It hasn't worked out that way.

The former Giant was designated for assignment on Wednesday by the Mariners, who earlier acquired an outfielder from the Astros and needed the roster spot. Heston was traded to Seattle at the winter meetings for a player to be named later. The Giants have not yet picked that player off a list the teams agreed to.

Heston had a 3.95 ERA as a starter for the Giants in 2015 and threw a no-hitter at Citi Field, but he had trouble transitioning to relief the next season and dealt with an injury in Triple-A. Needing a roster spot in December, the Giants traded him.

Heston started Sunday for Seattle and gave up six earned runs in three innings. He allowed five earned in two innings in his previous appearance.

Giants notes: Span feeling better, hopes to return to lineup Wednesday

Giants notes: Span feeling better, hopes to return to lineup Wednesday

CHICAGO -- Joe Panik's leadoff homer in the series opener was a jolt, but the Giants are a much more dangerous offense when Denard Span is clicking atop the lineup, a spot ahead of Panik, and they hope to have that duo going Wednesday. Span got treatment all day Tuesday and said he could return to the lineup against Kyle Hendricks. 

"The swelling has gone down," Span said of his sprained left thumb. "The thing to do is to come in tomorrow, test it out, and if it feels good, you strap it on."

Span said an X-ray came back clean, but he didn't grab a bat Tuesday to test the thumb, focusing instead on treatment. He is batting .326 in nine games since coming off the DL. His replacement in center this week, Gorkys Hernandez, was 0-for-3 against Jon Lester, lowering his average to .160. 

--- The main story from the second game of this series: Johnny Cueto is now dealing with a second blister, and you can see the lack of movement on his pitches. The Cubs took advantage. Lester didn't need much help while throwing a 99-pitch complete game in two hours and five minutes. 

"He threw a lot more changeups than we've seen in the past," Buster Posey said. "He's shown it in the past but tonight he had good command of it. It wasn't just a show-me pitch. He used it a lot and threw it to lefties as well.

Posey twice grounded short rollers in front of the plate.

--- Posey's throw to nab Javy Baez on Monday was one of the best of the year, and on Tuesday afternoon, Bruce Bochy said, "If he's given a chance, I don't think there's anyone better in the game." That might be true, but Willson Contreras is threatening to get into the conversation. He threw an 85 mph rocket to second in the fifth to nab Eduardo Nuñez. If you're wondering how Lester -- who flat-out has the yips about throwing to first base and doesn't do it -- has allowed just six stolen bases this season, look no further than his young catcher. Long-term, Contreras is the guy I would expect to compete with Posey for Gold Gloves. 

"Nuney, with his speed, can go," Bochy said. "Their catcher made a great throw. Put it right on the money."

--- From before Tuesday's game, what do the relievers think of the new hidden bullpen at Wrigley? And if you missed the Power Rankings the other day, the records are outdated, but there are updates in here on old friends Matt Duffy, Chris Heston, Tommy Joseph, Adalberto Mejia, Yusmeiro Petit and others. Petit in particular is incredible ... just keeps doing his thing. 

--- This play was made by the shortstop. That's good for the old UZR.