Sergio Romo: 'Closer...I don't need that title'


Sergio Romo: 'Closer...I don't need that title'


PITTSBURGH Sergio Romo hears it all the time. He knowsthey always mean well.

They call it from the stands. They rain down sweet tweets.They tell him he should be the Giants closer, and not Santiago Casilla.

Romo heard it even when Casilla was dominating whilerecording 19 of his first 20 save chances. He heard it with greater frequencywhen Casilla hit a six-appearance skid, and blew three of four chances.

With Casilla unavailable because of a blister Friday night,Romo inherited the one-run lead in the ninth inning. He retired three hitters,including the incredible Andrew McCutchen on a ground out to end a badly needed6-5 victory at PNC Park.
RECAP: Giants 6, Pirates 5

Youd better believe Romo will hear it now.

Here is his response:

Closer I dont want that title, he said. I dont needthat title. I just want the opportunity to pitch. Casilla has done a great joball year. He hit a rough patch but who cares? He was our closer. He is ourcloser. So yeah.

Romos status as a fan favorite doesnt just stem from hissuccess on the mound. He exudes joy in everything he does. Most teams have toscour the clubhouse and beg a player to catch the ceremonial first pitch. Romoinsists on volunteering every single day. It could be a celebrity or aninsurance salesman who met his sales quota. Romo gets behind the plate forevery one of them, in full perma-grin.

Ceremonial catcher? Thats the only job he insists onhaving.

Im really fortunate things have gone well and I appreciatethe support and that people back me up, but Im here to get outs, Romo said. Seventh,eighth, ninth is irrelevant. The team needs me every time to be good so I havethat mentality: Do good, and Im fortunate to be put in tough situations.

The Giants had several of them Friday night. In addition to Romos guts and stuff in the ninth, they also needed two crisp innings from Brad Penny, who is becoming a regularcaddy for Barry Zito. They needed George Kontos to step into an eighth-inningrole and protect a one-run lead. They needed to get over the shock of JavierLopez allowing his first home run in three seasons as a Giant.

The Giants bullpen has been scored upon in 11 of the last 15games. Its a strength of the team, but Casilla had blown three saves in hislast four chances and the rest of the unit was having a rough stretch behindhim.

So this was an important game for the Giants bullpen,especially coming off getting swept in three games at Nationals Park.

Weve got some fresh arms and weve got Penny, whos beendoing it for 12 years, said Lopez, whose 457-foot gopherball to Pedro Alvarezearned the status of curiosity piece because of the happy outcome. He bringsconfidence to the pen, and then weve got Kontos who is getting an opportunityto establish himself and hes taken advantage of it. Well be playing a lot oftight ballgames in the second half, so were used to this.

So is Romo, who has a 0.72 ERA and has held opponents to a.129 average. Hes been unscored upon in 58 of 61 outings dating back to lastseason. And dont forget, last year he pitched the equivalent of a perfectgame, plus four more hitters. He retired 31 consecutive hitters over a stretchof 15 appearances.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is using Romo a little more oftenagainst left-handed hitters this season, but there remains no plans to have thefearless little Frisbee thrower enter the closer role.

The main reasons: Hes way too effective as a right-handedspecialist paired with Lopez, and his slight frame and history of elbowinflammation make it hard for Bochy to use him the way a closer needs to beused, sometimes pitching on a third consecutive day or four out five, etc., assave situations present themselves.

He pitches efficiently, Bochy said. He throws strikes. Hecan pitch to both sides of the plate. You talk about his slider but he can runa pretty good fastball by you at times.

There might comes a day when Romo proves hes durable enoughto get a look in that ninth-inning role. But Bochy isnt going to try it now, especiallywhen Casilla was so good until the last few bumpy outings.

Romo certainly has the stomach for any situation. He didnt backdown when McCutchen stepped in the box.

Everyone with a bat is dangerous, Romo said. I had to gothrough two guys before I got to him. Once he stepped in the box, yeah, thenits me and him. And really, I take pride in being able to get guys like himout. When I do, its really gratifying.

For Romo, and his fans.

Dodgers add to riches, acquire Mets slugger in trade


Dodgers add to riches, acquire Mets slugger in trade

NEW YORK — The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson and cash from the New York Mets for a player to be named later or cash.

The teams announced the deal after their games Friday night. The 36-year-old Granderson is hitting .228 with 19 home runs and 52 RBIs this year.

Los Angeles is running away with the NL West. The Dodgers are 86-34 after Friday's win at Detroit . Granderson gives Los Angeles another option for the outfield along with Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor and Joc Pederson.

Pederson has been struggling quite a bit of late, hitting .149 since the All-Star break. Granderson, like Pederson, offers some power from the left side of the plate.

Giants pound Phillies in blowout win, Moore pitches into eighth

Giants pound Phillies in blowout win, Moore pitches into eighth


SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Moore took his time walking off the mound after Giants manager Bruce Bochy came out to replace him in the eighth inning.

Moore wanted to enjoy the ovation from the crowd at AT&T Park, something he hadn't heard for quite some time.

Moore took a one-hitter into the eighth inning and picked up his first win in nearly two months as San Francisco beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-2 on Friday night.

"It's something that I think is one of the coolest parts about playing here, is just how loud it can get and the appreciation coming off the hill," Moore said. "It was definitely nice to have that."

Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford both homered, Pablo Sandoval had an RBI single and Denard Span added three hits and made a nice running catch in center field to help San Francisco to its ninth win in the last 12 games at AT&T Park.

One day after becoming the first team in major league history to reach 11,000 wins as a franchise, the Giants added on by beating the worst team in baseball again.

Moore (4-12) was crisp in his second straight strong start despite four walks, allowing two hits over 7 1/3 innings to win for the first time since June 20.

"He's got a good rhythm going," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It looks like he's playing catch with (catcher Buster Posey), that's the effort he's putting in it right now. I think it's helped his command on all his pitches."

Moore credited a calmer approach in his last two starts.

"For a lot of the season I was overthrowing," Moore said. "It's just too much to be gritting that much through. After the break that was something I was working on, making sure I'm not white-knuckling too much stuff."

Four relievers combined for five outs to complete the four-hitter.

Jorge Alfaro singled twice and scored for Philadelphia.

Pence doubled and scored as part of a three-run first inning, then hit his 11th home run in the second.

Crawford tacked on with a two-run home run in the third, his 10th, after Sandoval walked. Crawford, who also doubled in the eighth, had been in a 2-for-22 slump.

Philadelphia didn't get a runner past second base until the eighth when Freddy Galvis singled in both runs.

"We got four hits (and) Alfaro had two of them," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "The bats just ain't there right now."


Starting pitcher Zach Eflin (1-5) allowed six runs and seven hits over five innings for the Phillies and later complained of tightness in his right shoulder. Eflin has lost two of three starts since a two-month stint in the minors. "As the fifth inning came to an end it was more of a precautionary thing to come out because it wasn't feeling right at that point," Eflin said.


Posey has hit safely in 20 straight games against Philadelphia, the longest hitting streak of his career against any team.


Phillies: Mackanin's ballclub was one player short after the team placed OF Odubel Herrera on the disabled list with a hamstring injury in a move that is retroactive to Aug. 15. Herrera has a 17-game hitting streak that is the longest active in the majors. A corresponding move is expected before Saturday's game.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto threw 50 pitches in a bullpen session and could begin a rehab assignment early next week. Cueto also threw a 50-pitch bullpen during the team's recent three-game series in Miami. ... 1B Brandon Belt (concussion) and 2B Joe Panik (concussion symptoms) both did cardio work before the game.


Phillies RHP Jerad Eickoff (3-7, 4.45 ERA) makes his second start against the Giants this season Saturday while San Francisco counters with LHP Ty Blach (8-8, 4.37 ERA). Blach blanked Philadelphia with a seven-hitter on June 2.