With hopes fading, Giants face struggling S.D.

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With hopes fading, Giants face struggling S.D.

Sept. 12, 2011

SAN DIEGO (63-84) vs.
GIANTS (76-70)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- It may be too little, too late for the Giants, but another series with the San Diego Padres could help them string some wins together.

With their playoff hopes flickering, the reigning World Series champions look to build on their best offensive performance in more than a month Monday night when they face the Padres for the second series in a week.

The Giants (76-70) appear highly unlikely to reach the postseason, trailing NL West-leading Arizona by 8 12 games with 16 to go in the regular season, including three in Phoenix next week.

Their offense has been a major problem all year, as their 3.4 runs per game rank last in the majors and their .238 team average is among the lowest.

The bats managed to come up big Sunday, as San Francisco had six doubles among its 11 hits in an 8-1 win over the Dodgers. It was the Giants' highest run output since beating the Diamondbacks by the same score Aug. 3, and ended a three-game slide during which they'd batted .163 and totaled two runs.

REWIND: Offense awakens, Giants avoid sweep

"It seems to be starting a little late," said Aubrey Huff, who had two hits and two RBIs Sunday after totaling four hits and failing to drive in a run over his previous eight contests.

The Giants have won eight of their last 11 meetings with the similarly light-hitting Padres (63-84), who bat .239 as a team.

San Francisco took two of three at San Diego last week, but failed to complete the sweep with a 3-1 loss Wednesday as the offense sputtered against Aaron Harang.

Harang (13-5, 3.74 ERA) will take the mound again for the Padres in the opener of this three-game set after allowing one run and four hits in seven innings last week, improving to 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his last six starts versus San Francisco.

The right-hander is 6-1 in 10 road starts, but the loss came in the most recent outing Aug. 27, when he allowed three runs - two earned - in six innings of a 3-1 loss at Arizona.

The Padres have dropped 14 of 17 overall, but avoided a four-game sweep to Arizona by winning Sunday's series finale 7-6.

"We've got to stay positive," closer Heath Bell said. "We could have taken three out of four."

The Giants will give the ball to rookie left-hander Eric Surkamp (1-0, 3.27).

Surkamp, 24, earned his first career win last Tuesday, allowing three runs in five innings of a 6-4 win over the Padres hours after being recalled from Triple-A Fresno. The Giants have won both of his starts.

"It's fun," Surkamp said. "I'm up here, I'm new, it's awesome."

San Diego catcher Nick Hundley homered off Surkamp last week, and has six hits in his last three games. He went 3 for 4 Sunday, including a two-run homer.

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

BOX SCORE

At Goodyear, Arizona, Joe Panik, Conor Gillaspie and Jarrett Parker homered for San Francisco. Jimmy Rollins singled and scored twice.

Giants lefty Matt Moore went 1 1/3 innings in his first start of the spring, allowing one run and one hit. He walked two and struck out three.

Cincinnati starter Tim Adleman pitched two innings, giving up four hits and two runs.

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

MESA, Ariz. — An unexpected opportunity came Daniel Gossett’s way Sunday, and the young right-hander took it in stride.

When the A’s adjusted their starting rotation, Kendall Graveman got bumped to Monday and Gossett learned he’d be taking the ball to start Sunday’s Cactus League home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

“I’m here for what they need me for,” Gossett said. “So anything they need, gimme the ball.”

He spun two scoreless innings in a game Oakland lost 5-3 at Hohokam Stadium. A nice first impression for Gossett, indeed, but the truth is A’s officials were already quite familiar with him.

A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, Gossett impressed at three levels of the farm system in 2016, beginning the year with Single-A Stockton and finishing it with Triple-A Nashville.

This is his first big league camp, and manager Bob Melvin even mentioned Gossett as being part of the fifth starter conversation.

“He impressed everybody in the organization last year, so when talking about that fifth spot, who knows?” Melvin said before the game.

The only blemishes on Gossett’s day were the pair of walks he issued. After walking Jefrey Marte to lead off the second, he got a lift from his catcher, as Josh Phegley fired a strike to second to nail Marte trying to steal.

“A pitcher’s best friend, I guess,” Gossett said. He went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA across 27 starts at all three levels of the minors last year, and his 151 strikeouts led the A’s farm system. Gossett’s fastball ranges anywhere from 90-95 on the gun. He throws a changeup that gets the most swings and misses, plus a slider and curve.

Grady Fuson, an A’s special assistant to the general manager, liked the adjustments he saw with Gossett over the course of last season.

“He’s a super kid, a grinder,” Fuson said over the winter. “He’s a guy that hadn’t struck many guys out and had been very hittable in the strike zone. (In 2016), he started executing to different parts of the zone that limits the hard contact.”

CAMP BATTLE: Alejandro De Aza sparked the A’s first rally in the third Sunday with a triple, then scored on Mark Canha’s double. With Jake Smolinski sidelined currently by a shoulder issue, it’s a good time for De Aza, a non-roster invitee to camp, to make his mark. The door could be open for him to make a push to make the roster as a fifth outfielder.

“He’s an interesting guy,” Melvin said of the nine-year veteran. “He knows how to play the game, he can play all three outfield spots. We’ve seen him before when he’s given us trouble, too, with the White Sox.”

Another contender for a reserve outfield spot is Jaycob Brugman, who has yet to crack the majors but is already on the 40-man roster. He singled home a run in the seventh. Like De Aza and Smolinski, Brugman can play center field, and it stands to reason the A’s will want to carry someone who can back up Rajai Davis at that position.

NOTEWORTHY: Phegley admitted to some butterflies before getting behind the plate for his first game since July, when a right knee injury wiped out the rest of his season.

But he looked good springing up to nail Marte on the second-inning steal attempt. The A’s are counting on Phegley returning to his role as the right-handed hitting platoon partner with Stephen Vogt behind the plate.

STOCK RISING: Melvin was impressed, and entertained, by the first look he got at reliever Simon Castro on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Castro retired Kris Bryant to strand a runner at third, the only hitter he faced. But it was what happened before the at-bat that caught Melvin’s attention.

“When he came to the mound he was pretty vocal,” Melvin noted. “He was fired up, telling the guys ‘Let’s go!’ I haven’t heard that too many times out of pitchers, let alone in spring training. So he impressed me with his eagerness to pitch.”

FAMILIAR FACES: Campy Campaneris and Blue Moon Odom each threw out ceremonial first pitches before Sunday’s exhibition home opener, which drew a smallish crowd of 4,072.