Giants

Vogelsong unconcerned with Giants' offense

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Vogelsong unconcerned with Giants' offense

Ryan Vogelsong was in Philadelphia to accept his 'Native Son' award and spoke with Comcast SportsNet about the Giants' offense heading into the 2012 season.After a historically bad offensive output in 2011, the Giants lost midseason acquisition Carlos Beltran to free agency and did not make an attempt to replace him with some of the big name free agents available this offseason.Instead, the Giants are relying on the return of Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez from injury, a rebound season from Aubrey Huff, and contributions from new outfielders Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan.When asked if he was concerned about the Giants' offense, the 2011 Willie Mac award winner responded with a hearty no.

"Not concerned at all," Vogelsong said. "We're getting two really good players back from injury so it's almost like we signed two free agents. We're getting Buster Posey back behind the plate and we're getting our second baseman back, Freddy Sanchez, both guys All-Star caliber players. And really not only that, but big guys in our clubhouse as far as motivating the players and the other guys. So I think those two guys coming back...we added some defensive guys in the outfield in Pagan and Cabrera, who both can add some offense that we desperately need. And I think it's going to be a good year. Obviously, Arizona got better so it's going to be a wild West again, which it always as. We just need to come to play...see what happens.

Watch the full interview here:
Rael Enteen is a web producer with CSNBayArea.com. Follow him on Twitter @RaelEnteenCSN.

Former college football star shows athleticism on pivotal play in Giants win

Former college football star shows athleticism on pivotal play in Giants win

SAN FRANCISCO — Wednesday was a throwback for the Giants, the type of 2-1 win they’ve become so accustomed to at AT&T Park in past years. Solid starting pitching, a good bullpen, an opportunistic lineup, and sparkling defense. That’s the recipe, only on Wednesday there was a twist. 

The highlights usually come from the Brandons or Gold Glovers Joe Panik and Buster Posey. Wednesday’s defensive star was the pitcher. Jeff Samardzija’s barehanded grab-and-throw in the second inning killed a Pirates rally and kept Samardzija in line for a deep start. He was rewarded with his fifth win. 

The big play came with the bases loaded and one out in the second. Opposing pitcher Trevor Williams bounced one toward third and Samardzija sprung off the mound, cutting in front of Conor Gillaspie. He caught the ball with his bare hand as it came down from the first hop and made a perfect off-balance strike to Buster Posey for the force at the plate. 

“Your back is up against the wall there,” Samardzija said. “That’s a lack of other options and I had to make a play. It was the only option I had. I didn’t think I had a chance at first.”

Even with the pitcher running, Samardzija probably didn’t. After getting the tough out at the plate, he induced an inning-ending pop-up. Samardzija would get through the seventh and a mistake in left opened the door for the Giants' game-winning run. Afterward, Bruce Bochy pointed to that second-inning play as a unique turning point. 

“It looked like he was receiving a football, didn’t it?” Bochy said, smiling. “He’s so quick off the mound. He’s a good athlete. For a pitcher, that’s one of the better plays I’ve seen. You have to be a good athlete to jump off the mound that quick and have the instincts to know where to go with the ball.”

Samardzija, a former college football star, said that athleticism has hurt him at times. He explained that it can lead to some mechanical laziness on the mound, as better athletes tend to rely on that to get the ball to the plate. He did some work in a recent bullpen session to try and hone in those mechanics, and it showed against a charging Pirates club. 

If there were any scouts waiting for one last glimpse of Good Samardzija, this was it. But the right-hander said he doesn’t expect to be traded by Monday’s deadline.

“I haven’t heard anything,” he said. “I don’t read the news.”

He hears enough, though, to know that his name has been thrown around. Samardzija said he thinks that’s just other teams looking for leverage in trade discussions. He made his preference clear.

“I love being here,” he said.

Samardzija dials up seven strong innings as Giants take series from Pirates

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USATSI

Samardzija dials up seven strong innings as Giants take series from Pirates

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt doubled in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning in support of starter Jeff Samardzija, who threw seven strong innings in the San Francisco Giants' 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.

Pinch-hitter Miguel Gomez doubled to lead off the seventh for the Giants, who won their second straight and third of five. Denard Span sacrificed him to third and Belt drove a ball to left field that Starling Marte seemed to have trouble finding. It fell in front of him, allowing Gomez to score.

Adam Frazier drove in a run for the Pirates, who lost their fourth in five following a six-game winning streak.

Samardzija (5-11) allowed a run and four hits, striking out eight and walking two in winning for the first time since July 2. He had allowed 12 runs in his previous 10 1/3 innings.

Pirates starter Trevor Williams pitched well, allowing a run and five hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out two.

Tony Watson (5-3) pitched the seventh and took the loss.

Hunter Strickland pitched a spotless eighth and Sam Dyson worked the ninth for his sixth save.

Each pitcher worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the early going. Samardzija struck out Josh Bell to open the second and then allowed four consecutive baserunners, including Frazier's double. He helped himself with a bare-handed grab of high hopper to record an out at the plate.

The Giants loaded the bases with one out in the first, with Brandon Crawford driving in a run on a groundout.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Pirates: OF Gregory Polanco (hamstring) is resuming baseball activities. He is hitting and playing catch and riding on a stationary bike. ... Austin Meadows, the Pirates' top prospect, has been hitting and throwing and is scheduled to resume playing games next week.

Giants: OF Carlos Moncrief had his contract purchased from Sacramento and will be used as a pinch-hitter and spot starter. ... RHP Johnny Cueto (blister) threw 45 pitches in a bullpen session before the game. He's scheduled to throw again Friday and if all goes well, will likely return to action. ... RHP Mark Melancon (right pronater strain) threw 30 pitches before the game and will throw again in Los Angeles either another bullpen or to hitters. He could start a rehab assignment soon after.

UP NEXT:
Pirates: Chad Kuhl (3-7, 4.92 ERA) gets the call in Friday's series opener at San Diego. He's won his only start against the Padres.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore (3-10, 5.82 ERA) starts the series opener at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. He's 2-2 in four career starts at Dodger Stadium.