Vogelsong 'just along for the ride' in Giants' win

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Vogelsong 'just along for the ride' in Giants' win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ryan Vogelsong said it best: I was justalong for the ride tonight.Vogelsongs 19th consecutive start of six innings or more, datingback to his last outing of 2011, was overshadowed by a three-hit night fromBuster Posey, a cringe-inducing catch from Melky Cabrera and a crew of umpiresthat made itself a part of the game.The Giants had already pounced on the Padres for three first-inning runs whenBrandon Crawford hit a sinking line drive that San Diegos Mark Kotsay appearedto trap. Crawford and third base coach Tim Flannery, who had the best view ofthe play along with third base umpire and crew chief Dana DeMuth, were irateimmediately. Bruce Bochy trotted out of the dugout to voice his displeasurewith the call as well, and before the Padres had time to switch their fieldinggloves for batting gloves, the umpires met on the field and overturned DeMuthscall of a catch.Its a tough call, Bochy said. You run and you try and make the call. Weknew it short-hopped him. Its all about getting it right, which they did. Theydid a great job of getting together and getting it right. Thats a big call toobecause the run scores.Vogelsong, who was in the on-deck circle with Crawford atthe dish, said he never returned to the dugout despite the out call on thefield.I saw the ball hit the ground, Vogelsong said. I didntknow if they were going to overturn it or not.The four-run first inning gave Vogelsong a cushion he rarely enjoys. Cominginto Mondays game, the Giants had provided their veteran right-hander with3.16 runs of support, lowest on the teams staff and third lowest in theNational League. Though the four runs would end up being more than enough forVogelsong, the Giants werent done.Posey, who was in the middle of the Giants first inning rally, put the gameout of reach with a three-run shot into the first row of arcade seats in right.The fans above Levis Landing seemed to know off the bat it was gone, but didPosey?Not off the bat, Posey said of only the 14th home run by aright-handed Giant at AT&T Park. I knew I got the barrel on it. I sawMark Kotsay keep drifting and thought it was going to go off the wall, butwas even happier when it went over.Posey collected three hits, as did Cabrera and Ryan Theriotfor a potent 2-3-4 part of the lineup that combined for six runs and four RBIs.Multi-hit games from Cabrera have become the norm since he came to SanFrancisco in an offseason trade, but his catch in the sixth inning as he fellinto the stands was nothing short of spectacular.Even in a 7-1 game in July, Cabrera hustled to make it to the short wall nearthe Giants bullpen, then sacrificed his body as he left his feet to make thecatch. Cabrera landed on a few fans, who helped him back onto the field, thentrotted back to his position with a wide smile and chants of Melky! Melky!surfacing around the stadium.Bochy and Posey both said they did not think Cabrera had a chance to catch theball.First of all, I thought it was going to be in the seats,Posey said. He went a really long way and that was an unbelievable catch.Bochys take is nearly identical.I thought the ball was in the seats, Bochy said. Its a dangerous play. Youhate to see him go into the stands like that but hes so athletic and he landedpretty soft there. It looked like he landed in the seat. But what a grab. Ittakes great focus to catch that ball. Thats the way he plays.For Cabrera, its just part of the job.I always play hard because I like to help my team in any way I can, Cabrerasaid through a translator. Before Cabrera even had time to catch his breath, the umpires re-took centerstage. In a cruel twist of fate, Crawford went from having an out turned intoan RBI hit in the first inning to having a double turned into an out in thesixth. After splitting the right-centerfield gap, Crawford appeared to have aneasy double, but was called out when first base umpire Jordan Baker said henever touched first on his way to second. Unlike in the first inning, argumentsfrom the Giants side fell on deaf ears.When Crawford grounded out to first in the eighth, he stepped on the bag harderthan normal and tried to have a conversation with Baker. But the umpire wasntin the mood and handed the Giants young shortstop his first career ejection.I didnt think I said anything worthy of getting tossed, Crawford said. Other than the hit to Crawfords batting average, the Giants had a bannerMonday to open a 10-game homestand. The bats looked lively, the defense stepped up in big spots, and the starterthe Giants picked up off the scrap heap continues to prove that his 2011breakout season was no fluke.

Headed for 100 losses, Giants quietly give up on "Don't Stop Believin'" tradition

Headed for 100 losses, Giants quietly give up on "Don't Stop Believin'" tradition

SAN FRANCISCO — At some point over the last month, the Giants quietly stopped playing “Don’t Stop Believin’” in the late innings of games they trail. 

It’s unclear exactly when it started, or who made the decision. A number of team employees, surveyed over the past week, had noticed. But nobody knew the exact details. Perhaps the longtime staple of AT&T Park was shelved on July 9, when FanGraphs dropped the playoff odds to 0.00 percent for the first time in a lost season. Maybe it was during a bad loss before that or a bad loss after that. You can take your pick. This season has been filled with so many of them it’s hard to keep track. 

Friday’s stood out, in part because this was the kind of night where Journey briefly made sense. The Giants gave Jeff Samardzija a 4-0 lead in the first inning against a Padres team that spent the early innings kicking and throwing the ball all over the field and making mistakes on the bases. It was 5-1 after three innings. By the sixth, the Padres had tied it. By the seventh, they had the lead. By the eighth, it was a three-run lead. 

Before the bottom of the eighth, the in-stadium crew played Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” for a crowd of a few thousand. Last weekend, Huey Lewis was the fill-in for Journey. On Wednesday, a game the Giants actually came back to win, the scoreboard played a singalong game to “Happy Together” by The Turtles. 

On this night, the Giants actually would come back. Conor Gillaspie hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth, tying the game and sending it into extras. The Giants had trailed by three with one out remaining, but the momentum provided by Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Gillaspie was just a blip. The Padres scored three in the 11th off George Kontos, who has pitched five times over the last eight days and was supposed to get a night to rest. 

Kontos was the last to give up runs in a 12-9 loss, but hardly the only one. Samardzija took blame after failing to get through five with a big early cushion. That put pressure on the tired bullpen, and the relievers blew it over and over again. The Padres scored runs in six consecutive innings at one point and had 20 hits. 

“We couldn’t stop them,” Bruce Bochy said, shaking his head. 

Nothing can apparently stop this skid. The Giants are 37-61 and six games behind the Padres. They are much closer to the No. 1 draft pick than they are to fourth place in their division. 

“Don’t Stop Believin’” survived the 2013 season. It survived 2015 and the second half of last year. Nothing can survive this season.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants lose marathon in extras to Padres

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants lose marathon in extras to Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — A few hundred, maybe a few thousand, stayed to watch the Giants late Friday night. The Giants did not make it worth the effort. 

Conor Gillaspie’s two-out homer in the ninth sent the game to extras, but the Giants lost 12-9 in a game that lasted nearly five hours. The Giants had trailed by three with two outs and nobody on in the ninth. They tied it. Instead of carrying that momentum over, they suffered yet another demoralizing loss. 

They have dropped both games of this series and they trail the Padres -- who had 20 hits -- by six games in the race for fourth place. Those are facts. Here are five more, mostly from earlier, when a young man harbored dreams of leaving a ballpark before 1 a.m. … 

—- Hector Sanchez took Jeff Samardzija deep to lead off the fourth, and at this point it’s flat-out hilarious. Sanchez has seven homers this season and three have come against his former team. He hit two homers at AT&T Park in 296 plate appearances as a Giant, and the fourth-inning blast gave him three in 11 plate appearances as a Padre. He also doubled in a run and singled. It’s an all-time revenge tour. Just go along for the ride. 

—- There were a ton of scouts on hand to watch two starting pitchers who could move in the next 10 days, and they left disappointed. Trevor Cahill gave up six earned on seven hits and four walks and lasted just 3 2/3 innings. Jeff Samardzija gave up eight hits and five earned in 4 1/3 innings. 

—- I dunno man, it’s really hard getting to five of these every night. Sam Dyson was good again. 

—- Gillaspie's pinch-hit homer was the sixth of his career. He's a hero around these parts, but perhaps Bobby Evans should see if a team out there was watching Friday and remembers his October run. Gillaspie could help a contender. 

—- When MLB inevitably introduces a pitch clock and pitchers start complaining, this will be the game I tell them to sit down and try to watch start to finish.