Odds against them, Giants lean on Lincecum

537938.jpg

Odds against them, Giants lean on Lincecum

Sept. 14, 2011

SAN DIEGO (63-86) vs.
GIANTS (78-70)

Coverage begins at Noon on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tim Lincecum is doing his best to finish strong in what has been a frustrating season for himself and the San Francisco Giants.

The right-hander hopes to avoid a third straight loss when the Giants try to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

Faced with the possibility of finishing with a losing record for the first time in his five-year career, Lincecum (12-12, 2.68 ERA) remains positive as San Francisco's season appears set to end without the chance of defending its World series title. Injuries and an offense that has scored the fewest runs (503) in the majors are key reasons the Giants (78-70) trail Arizona by 8 12 games in the NL West.

"This is probably the toughest part of the year because you've got to grind out the rest and maybe see what happens," Lincecum told the Giants' official website.

URBAN: Giants should sign, trade Jonathan Sanchez

Lincecum has received two runs or fewer of support in 19 of his 30 starts. San Francisco has scored just five runs while he's gone 1-3 with a 3.18 ERA in his last five outings. The Giants scored in the first inning Friday when Lincecum allowed a run in eight innings and did not factor in a 2-1 loss to Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.

"We're lucky if we score one (run) for him," catcher Chris Stewart said.

The Giants got by with little offense in a 2-1 win over San Diego on Aug. 24, as Lincecum allowed a run, four hits and five walks in a eight innings to improve to 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA against the Padres this season.

He looks to continue that success while trying to help San Francisco to a fourth consecutive home win over San Diego (63-86), which has dropped 16 of 19. Mark DeRosa lined a single off the glove of Orlando Hudson in the 12th inning to give San Francisco its third straight win, 3-2 on Tuesday.

"This was a must-win if we are to have any chance," said DeRosa, who has three RBIs in his last two games. "We've just got to keep grinding, keep winning. You never know, a team can slip up."

Carlos Beltran and Pablo Sandoval each had three hits for the Giants, who are third in the wild-card race, 6 12 games behind leader Atlanta.

"Sure, the odds are going against us a little bit," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But you never give up hope. We have to hit the field every day with that mindset, trying to win ballgames."

While Beltran is 5 for 9 in the series, Sandoval is batting .419 (13 for 31) with eight RBIs in his last eight games. The two have combined to bat .393 with 21 RBIs versus San Diego in 2011.

Scheduled San Diego starter Mat Latos (7-13, 3.72) has allowed two runs and struck out eight in seven innings in each of his last two starts while going 1-0 in those contests. His latest outing resulted in a 3-2 loss at Arizona on Friday.

"I have good confidence in the slider, curve ball too," said Latos, whose teammates have scored just 66 runs in his 28 starts.

The Padres have totaled 10 runs while he has posted a 2.77 ERA without a decision in two starts versus San Francisco in 2011. Latos has a 1.33 ERA in four career starts at AT&T Park.

Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia is 13 for 25 in seven games since coming off the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This spot in the rotation is the one reserved for the stopper, the pitcher who takes a game by the throat when his team really needs it. 

Ty Blach took the mound Saturday for a team that had lost five of six, and just as Madison Bumgarner often has, Blach ended the skid. The young lefty was dominant into the eighth and the bats finally provided enough support. The Giants won 6-3, tying this weekend series with the Braves.

Here are five things to know from a night we were reminded that Emilio Bonifacio is in the big leagues … 

--- Blach pitched 7 2/3 innings. He has thrown at least seven innings in his last four starts, and five of seven starts overall. Jeff Samardzija (6) is the only Giants starter who has gone that deep more often. Blach is tied with Johnny Cueto for second-most seven-inning starts on staff, and Cueto has made three additional starts. 

--- Blach’s RBI single in the fourth was -- at the time -- the fourth hit of his career, and the first against a pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. The ball had an exit velocity of 101 mph. Blach tried to score from first on Denard Span’s double, but Phil Nevin held him. Still, the way he was moving, it makes you wonder if Samardzija really is Bruce Bochy’s best pitcher-pinch-running option. In the seventh, Blach picked up a second single. 

--- Blach’s only bad start has been the one he made in Cincinnati, where the Giants played like a Double-A team. If you take that one out, Blach has a 2.21 ERA since taking over Bumgarner’s rotation spot. 

--- Even though he gave up just two earned in 7 2/3, Blach’s home ERA actually went up. It’s 1.75, which ranks seventh in the National League. The sellout crowd gave Blach a standing ovation when he was pulled in the eighth. 

--- Blach had a season-high five strikeouts. When he got Nick Markakis to end the first, Blach ended a streak of 37 left-handers faced without a strikeout. He later struck out another lefty, Matt Adams. The new Braves first baseman came up as the tying run in the eighth but Derek Law got him to ground out to first. 

--- Bonus sixth “thing to know” ... on Blach of course: His first name is Tyson, not Tyler. It’s Tyson Michael Blach.

Earthquakes suffer first home loss of season, drop Cali Clasico to Galaxy

quakes-galaxy-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Earthquakes suffer first home loss of season, drop Cali Clasico to Galaxy

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Cali Clasico fans have come to expect fireworks on the pitch every time the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy face off in one of Major League Soccer’s best rivalries.

And the first affair of 2017 was no exception. Five goals in the first half got the match off to a roaring start but, much to the chagrin of San Jose fans, L.A. handed the Earthquakes their first Avaya Stadium loss of the season with a 4-2 final.

Giovani Dos Santos notched a pair of goals including the backbreaking tally 20 minutes into the second half.

Chris Wondolowski got the first half flurry going with an easy-money strike on a volley after a perfect backpost cross from Danny Hoesen in the 10th minute.

Saturday’s match was Hoesen’s best performance of the season, by far.

Los Angeles equalized nine minutes later when Joao Pedro took advantage of a sneaky ball between two defenders from Dos Santos. The Brazilian turned and struck the ball true to beat David Bingham.

It was the first sign of the San Jose nightmare that is the Mexican national.

The Galaxy took their first lead of the match in the 35th minute when Dos Santos finished a penalty kick earned after Kofi Sarkodie clothelined Bradley Diallo in the box.

But two minutes later, it was Hoesen getting off the proverbial schneid by notching his first goal as an Earthquake. It was a classy finish off a low cross inside the box from Tommy Thompson, who picked up his second assist of the season on the play.  

Disaster struck one minute before halftime though, when a diving Victor Bernardez deflected a Diallo cross after the defender found himself back in the San Jose 18. The ball beat a shocked Bingham.

San Jose came out aggressive in the second half and Los Angeles made them pay on the counterattack to put the game away. Romain Alessandrini raced down the left flank, took a look up and struck gold on a left-footed cross to Dos Santos on the back post that could not have been hand-placed any better. Dos Santos arrived perfectly to head the ball past Bingham.

The loss moved San Jose’s home record to 3-1-3.

Turning point: The final marker gave L.A. a two-goal win, but any momentum San Jose had after Hoesen equalized evaporated on the Bernardez own goal. Not only did the goal somewhat deflate the home team, but put San Jose in the position of aggressor – and it’s a position the Galaxy exploited to score the fourth goal.

San Jose’s Man of the Match: The pressure has been on Hoesen since the forward arrived on loan from the Netherlands. In 12 previous games, the man from Heerlen only had one assist to show for his efforts. On Saturday, Hoesen assisted on the first goal with a world-class cross and picked up his first goal of the season on an equally exquisite finish.

History watch: Wondolowski’s first half strike was his eighth goal against the Los Angeles side and 127th all-time in MLS. He is now just six behind Jaime Moreno, who sits third on the MLS’ all-time list.

Attendance: As expected, the San Jose Earthquakes announced a sell out for the marquee match on their schedule.

Up next: The Earthquakes head north to take on the Portland Timbers. The June 2nd matchup is scheduled for an 8 p.m. start.