Season-high four in a row


Season-high four in a row


SAN FRANCISCO When youve hit one home run in your last 18 home games, youd better be creative about scoring runs.

The Giants keep finding ways, and their pitching staff keeps making those runs hold up.

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro allowed the tying run to score in embarrassing fashion when he lost track of the outs in the fifth inning, Buster Posey scored the tiebreaking run in the seventh after drawing his fourth walk of the afternoon and Ryan Vogelsong maintained the rotations full-gallop pace as the Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 at AT&T Park on Monday afternoon.

The Giants completed their first four-game sweep over the Cubs in San Francisco since June 17-20, 1999, at Candlestick Park. They have 19 wins since May 5, tied for the most in the majors with the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox.

Starting pitching report
Vogelsong (4-2) turned in the Giants seventh consecutive start of at least seven innings and no more than two earned runs. Its a streak that has been done just one other time in the Giants San Francisco era, when they had nine straight starts meeting those qualifications in 1988.

Vogelsong gave up both his runs in the second inning, when the Cubs collected five singles most of them bleeders -- in a six-batter span. The right-hander stranded the bases loaded when he fielded Castros checkswing tapper and made an accurate throw to first base.

He only allowed one more runner into scoring position after that, and Ryan Theriots highlight play helped him escape the seventh inning.

Vogelsongs 2.38 ERA leads the Giants rotation and he has nine quality starts in 11 outings.

Bullpen report
Jeremy Affeldt went six up, six down to record a very impressive two-inning save. He even got an at-bat out of the deal, which his teammates enjoyed very much.

At the plate
The Giants extended their streak to 13 home games without a home run, the second longest in the clubs San Francisco era. They went 15 games without a homer from Sept. 4 to Oct. 3, 1980.

Its also the longest streak by any club at home since the Dodgers played 14 consecutive games at Chavez Ravine without a homer in 1992.

They utilized patience over punch to score enough to support Vogelsong. Buster Posey walked while seeing 27 pitches in each of his first four plate appearances. He became the first Giant with a four-walk game since Juan Uribe on May 9, 2010. It also was just the second four-walk game since Barry Bonds in 2007.

(Since 2000, Bonds owns 16 of the clubs 19 four-walk games. Posey, Uribe and Dustan Mohr own the others.)

The Giants began their comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the second inning when Brandon Belt and Joaquin Arias singled and Brandon Crawford followed with a double down the right field line. But Ryan Theriot struck out with the bases loaded and Melky Cabrera had the misfortune of lining out to second baseman Darwin Barney.

Cabrera grounded out to strand a pair in the fourth, but the Giants benefited from a huge mental mistake to tie it in the fifth.

Posey led off by drawing a walk against Jeff Samardzija and Angel Pagan ripped a single extending his hitting streak to an all-time franchise record 28 home games. Pagan doffed his helmet as the sellout crowd treated him to a standing ovation.

Belt walked to load the bases but it appeared the Cubs would escape when Arias lined out and Crawford hit a roller to second base for an easy double play. But Castro simply strode across the bag as he received the throw from Barney, causing faces to strike palms all through Cubs nation. Posey looked back after crossing the plate, surprised that his run counted.

Posey drew another walk from former Cubs closer Carlos Marmol to start the winning rally in the seventh. The Giants once again loaded the bases with no outs after Pagan reached on an infield single and Belt walked. Arias grounded into a double play as Posey crossed the plate.

In field
Was Theriot lucky or good?

Maybe a little of both when he stopped Castros short-hop smash in the seventh inning. With the tiebreaking run at third base, Castros hot shot deflected off Theriots glove but went straight up in the air. It was a bad bounce for the Cubs, as Theriot snatched the ball with his bare hand and threw in time for the out.

The Giants announced 41,524 paid. Approximately 41,523 knew there was one out when Crawford hit his grounder in the fifth.

Up next
The Giants begin a three-game road trip at Petco Park against the last-place San Diego Padres on Tuesday. Tim Lincecum (2-6, 5.82) will try to get back in the victory column against right-hander Anthony Bass (2-5, 4.00).

Lincecum is 10-4 with a 1.84 ERA in his career against the Padres. After San Diego, his next start is expected to come June 16 at Seattle the Washington natives first ever appearance at Safeco Field.

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

Editor's Note: The above video was recorded following Matt Cain's perfect game in 2012.

Gregor Blanco's bid to make the Arizona Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster is over.

The former Giants outfielder was released on Monday, Arizona announced.

Blanco had been dealing with an oblique injury and had played since March 21.

In 14 Cactus League games, Blanco went 9-for-40 (.225) with one double and three triples.

Blanco spent five years with the Giants and was part of the World Series winning teams in 2012 and 2014. During his time in San Francisco, the 33-year-old hit .259/.338/.360 with 78 doubles, 24 triples and 157 RBI in 649 games.

The D'backs signed Blanco to a minor league deal in January.

Giants spring training Day 43: A big game for veteran trying to lock up OF job

Giants spring training Day 43: A big game for veteran trying to lock up OF job

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For the first time, Gorkys Hernandez did not go back to Venezuela in the offseason to play winter ball. He's hoping that leads to another first. 

Hernandez has never made an opening day roster, but after breaking into the Giants’ outfield rotation last season, he entered the winter in a decent shot. To bolster his case, Hernandez stayed in Scottsdale over the offseason to work out at the minor league facility. The added strength didn’t lead to any notable results over the first month of games, but Hernandez broke through Monday with three doubles in the final home game of the spring.

“Sometimes (slumps) happen and sometimes you’re late (on pitches) and you don’t feel comfortable at the plate, but now I feel different. I feel better,” Hernandez said. “I’m recognizing pitches and trying to keep it simple and not do too much.”

The coaching staff has asked several players to head down to the minor league facility late in the spring and get additional at-bats, and Hernandez took Bruce Bochy up on the offer. He twice played in minor league games, and on Sunday he rotated into different games so he could get six at-bats. Hernandez said that helped him find his timing. 

“Without question, it helped his timing,” Bochy said. “He was off. He was getting out front, his timing was off. I think the at-bats he got paid off.”

The three-double day was perfectly timed. Hernandez entered with a .159 average and Justin Ruggiano, the other option as a backup center fielder, had started to put together better at-bats. Monday’s game was a reminder in more ways than one. Hernandez showed off the type of speed the Giants won’t have on the bench if Kelby Tomlinson is optioned, and he played all three outfield positions, switching from left to right to center. 

The role in play is one Gregor Blanco had for five seasons. The Giants would like Hernandez to be their defensive whiz at every outfield spot, and they’re light on true center fielders. If the Giants put Hernandez on the roster this week as expected, he’ll be ready to try and be the new Blanco. 

“If they give me that role, I’ll try to do the same thing,” he said. “Or better.”

THE ACE: Madison Bumgarner is going to Madison Bumgarner. He threw seven sharp innings Monday, lowering his spring ERA to 2.52. In 25 innings, he has allowed just 17 hits and struck out 23. Bochy appreciated Bumgarner’s intensity Monday against a Reds team that was filled with minor leaguers. 

“That’s what makes him so good,” Bochy said. “He takes every outing seriously. His preparation doesn’t waver.”

Bumgarner even added a single, and he liked that it came on a breaking ball. He’s worked on getting better at hitting those pitches, which he’s seeing more and more. 

“I feel I’m as ready as I can be to start the season,” Bumgarner said. 

His next pitch will be thrown Sunday at Chase Field. 

GAME RECAP: The Giants blasted poor Reds starter Cody Reed, hanging 10 runs on his line in 3 2/3 innings. Denard Span had two hits and Aaron Hill had three, driving in three runs. Bochy went with an interesting lineup, leading off with Span, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. He said he likes Crawford in that five-spot. He also plans to hit the pitcher eighth on occasion.

TRAINER’S ROOM: Joe Panik was drilled by a fastball in the lower back and he came out of the game as a precaution. Panik has a nasty welt, so he’s in for a night of ice, but there are no concerns. 

QUOTABLE: Posey turned 30 today. As he walked out to stretch, Bumgarner was asked if he was giving Posey a hard time. “No, he’s been 30 for the last seven years,” Bumgarner said.