Ultimate redemption for Zito, Lincecum


Ultimate redemption for Zito, Lincecum

BOX SCORESAN FRANCISCO -- If Bruce Bochy wishes to announce that his World Series Game 2 starter is Louis CK, you need to be prepared to nod, say, Yeah, good call. Well done. Brilliant stroke.

Because while we have always known that Bochy is one of the best pitching manipulators in managing history, its when his choices hit every note every time, game in and game out, that you see that his true ability is to see things mere mortals do not.

So it is that in the wake of the Giants 8-3 win over Detroit in Game 1 of the Series, the much-told redemptive story will be of Pablo Sandoval, the man who hit three home runs three different ways and re-defined the concept of the great bad-ball hitter.

But the back story will be of the other redeemed characters, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum, who took the Detroit lineup and muzzled it. They didnt need to worry about the long shadow of Justin Verlander, because they knew that ultimately the Tigers are defined by their offense.

And their offense was stripped and readied for lacquering.

To be able to go up against Verlander, and give our team a chance to go up 1-0, and the fact that we won, its just kind of surreal, Zito said.

And then, including Lincecum, he expanded the definition of the term.

To have him in the bullpen, its just like ridiculous, Zito said. Its such a tool in our pocket that we can bust out at any time a guy who has made history. It was just really special personally too to watch Timmy carve them and just do what he does.

Between them, they lasted eight innings, allowed six hits and a single run, walking one and striking out eight. These were Verlander numbers, only Verlanders looked like they were backwards: 4 6 5 5 1 4 .

And while Sandoval, and to lesser extents Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Buster Posey had their hands in most of the eight Giant runs, the eye-opener was that Zito and Lincecum seemed to merge as one, like some sort of heavy-lidded Transformer and redefine the series before it even got a chance to begin.

Zito gave up five of his six hits to the top four Tiger hitters -- Austin Jackson, Omar Infante, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. But only Cabreras in the sixth actually raised a welt, and the bottom five spots in the order did nothing whatsoever. In short, Zito carved Detroits lineup card in half.

Mostly he was just spotting his cutter and fastball in, Posey said. He just stayed with his plan, and moved the ball around. He got a couple of pitches up, but mostly he put it where he wanted it put.

And by the time Lincecum came in the sixth, the game was already boxed, taped and labeled. Still, he struck out five of the seven Tigers he faced despite his fastball capping at 92, and gave every indication that pitching out of the stretch and without a lot of time to fret about his work is actually becoming the cure to whats ailed him.

Mostly, Im just pitching, and not worrying about the mechanics and stuff, he said. I was just trying to get outs, really. We had a lead, and I know we came back from behind in the last two series, but we dont want to do that again. We want to get this over as quickly as possible.

That wont be as easy as Game 1 suggests, unless Bochy has also transmogrified Madison Bumgarner, the Game 2 starter. And bluff old seamhead that he is, he wont be banking on Sandoval hitting three more homers. This series got easier, but not easy. Not yet.

But a tone has been set, because the biggest pitching disappointments of 2010 and 2012 are only barely related to the fellows wearing their uniforms today. Barry Zito is one of the leading feel-good stories of the postseason, Tim Lincecum is beginning to reinvent himself two innings at a time, and the Giants are making a statement that looks an awful lot like a boot in the nethers.

Put another way, theyve given up four runs in four games and 22 in eight. One set of figures means one run a game, the other 2.75.

Either way, thats pitching, which is right in Bruce Bochys wheelhouse. That means well be writing about Louis CK gave up comedy to be a World Series hero, because at this point, any story line connected to San Franciscos pitching is completely believable.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for

Giants lineup: Pence sits in series finale vs Phillies


Giants lineup: Pence sits in series finale vs Phillies

As the Giants look for a series win over the Phillies at home, Hunter Pence will be replaced by a rookie in right field.

Philadelphia Phillies (44-77)

1. Cesar Hernandez (S) 2B
2. Freddy Galvis (S) SS
3. Rhys Hoskins (R) 1B
4. Maikel Franco (R) 3B
5. Jorge Alfaro (R) C
6. Nick Williams (L) CF
7. Pedro Florimon (S) LF
8. Cameron Perkins (R) RF
9. Ben Lively (R) P

San Francisco Giants (50-75)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
3. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
8. Carlos Moncrief (L) RF
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P

Giants start off quick, but Phillies rough up Blach to power past San Francisco

Giants start off quick, but Phillies rough up Blach to power past San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO -- Ty Kelly doesn't play much, but he's learned to make the most of his opportunities.

"He's my secret weapon," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.

Mackanin summoned him at the most opportune of times on Saturday night, and Kelly delivered.

Kelly had a pinch-hit grand slam, Rhys Hoskins hit a three-run homer and Philadelphia snapped a six-game losing streak, beating the San Francisco Giants 12-9.

"I take anything positive, but that was pretty amazing," Kelly said.

Down 12-4, the Giants scored five times in the ninth inning and brought the tying run to the plate before Hector Neris struck out Carlos Moncrief for his 14th save.

Adam Morgan (1-1) threw just one pitch and got the win.

Kelly batted for Morgan and hit a slam off Cory Gearrin that capped a seven-run burst in the sixth inning for an 11-4 lead. He has 14 RBIs on 14 hits this year.

"The one thing he does is he doesn't overswing," Mackanin said. "He doesn't try to do too much and he's got some quickness in his bat. If you make a mistake like they did tonight, he doesn't try to overpower, he just tries to put the head on it and that's what he did tonight."

Denard Span became the first Giants player to lead off with an inside-the-park home run in 72 years. The last Giant to do it was Johnny Rucker on June 20, 1945, when the team played in New York and was at the Polo Grounds against the Boston Braves, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Ty Blach (8-9) took the loss.

Cameron Rupp homered and doubled, and Freddy Galvis had three hits for the Phillies.

Rupp doubled off Blach with one out to start the sixth, with Span losing the high flyball to center field. The ball landed in front of him.

"He lost it. He never saw it in the twilight," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "The ball is tough to pick up at that time of the night."

Giants star Buster Posey was 1 for 4, extending his hitting streak against the Phillies to 21 games going back to 2014.

Hoskins homered for the fourth time in seven games. Since going hitless in his first 12 at-bats after being called up from Triple-A, the rookie is 7 for 21 with four home runs in seven games.

His power surge has coincided with his team making a trip to the Bay Area, near where he grew up in the Sacramento area. He had about 35 to 40 friends and relatives at Saturday's game.

"I grew up a Giants fan, to play in this ballpark is pretty special," Hoskins said. "It's something that I dreamt of, especially to get a win the way we did tonight is pretty cool."

Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin's status for his next turn in the rotation is uncertain after the 23-year-old reported tightness in right shoulder, Mackanin said. ... RHP Ben Lively is with the team and will be activated before Sunday's game to start the series finale, Mackanin said. Lively will take the roster spot of outfielder Odubel Herrera, who on Friday was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury (retroactive to Aug. 15). Lively will take RHP Mark Leiter's spot in the rotation in a move that sends Leiter to the bullpen.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto will pitch in a rehab assignment for Triple-A Sacramento on Monday and likely make one more rehab start before being activated, manager Bruce Bochy said. Cueto has been on the disabled list since July 15 with blisters on his right hand. He will throw 50 to 60 pitches on Monday, Bochy said.

Phillies: Lively (1-4, 3.80 ERA) recorded his lone career win against the Giants on June 3, when he gave up one run in seven innings of four-hit ball. Lively was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on pitch in the majors for the first time since July 5.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (3-5, 2.99) is 4-3 with a 3.60 ERA in nine career starts against the Phillies. He was 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two starts against the Phillies last season.