Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0

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Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0

Aug 29, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tim Lincecum reached a new low this season and so did the San Francisco Giants' offense.At this rate, the defending World Series champions are going to need an incredible September to avoid missing the postseason altogether.Not even the memories of last fall's memorable title run are enough to get this team going now."At this time last year we were in a similar spot but we were gaining ground, not going backward," said Lincecum, who gave up three home runs and allowed five runs in a 7-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday night. "Right now it's obviously frustrating for everybody. It's one of those situations where it's hard to keep your head up when things aren't really going our way."
RELATED: Giants Insider gallery: Giants fall five games back
The loss dropped the Giants five games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West with 27 games to play. At the same point a year ago, they were three games out of the division lead before going 18-8 in September.Manager Bruce Bochy has tried everything to shake his team out of the slump. On Friday he held a meeting with San Francisco's pitching staff and told them not to worry about the lack of run support.After the Giants managed only two hits against Cubs starter Randy Wells, Bochy might want to try again."It's hard to figure what's going on," said Bochy, who met with general manager Brian Sabean in his office after speaking with reporters following the game. "We've tried different things, lineups, yelling, meeting, but it's a tough rut, there's no getting around it."San Francisco managed only a two-out double by Andres Torres in the third and Mike Fontenot's pinch-hit single with one out in the eighth.Beyond that, the Giants managed only a walk against Wells."Right now nothing is really going our way," said Carlos Beltran, who went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. "We come to the ballpark every day trying to make things happen, and nothing's happened. It just hasn't happened."
URBAN: The Giants just aren't very good
That continues to be a big problem for the Giants, who went into August with a two-game lead in the division. Now San Francisco needs a strong finish to avoid missing out on the postseason altogether.Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, had allowed only five runs over his previous five starts. He pitched out of jams in the first and sixth but gave up solo home runs to Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto before Blake DeWitt's three-run blast in the seventh.It's the first time in his career that Lincecum (12-11) has allowed three home runs in one game."My purpose is to go out there and pitch and give my team a chance to win, whether it's giving up one run or two runs or zero runs. That's my job and I didn't do that tonight," said Lincecum, whose 11 losses are a career-high. "I made three poorly executed pitches when it counted and they hit them out of the park. Just three really (bad) pitches."Wells (6-4) pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game while the Cubs backed him with four home runs to snap a four-game losing streak.Carlos Pena accounted for the fourth homer, a solo shot off reliever Steve Edlefsen in the seventh.It was the third time this season Chicago has had four or more home runs in one game. The Cubs have 38 home runs in August, most in the National League."To do that kind of damage against Lincecum was a huge plus," Chicago manager Mike Quade said. "When it was 1-0, you think it might just end up that way. The offense was fantastic."The way Wells has been pitching it didn't matter what Lincecum did.Wells faced only four batters over the minimum and only allowed two runners to reach second base. He matched his season-high of seven strikeouts and walked one while winning his third consecutive start on the road. The right-hander, who hasn't lost since July 28, improved to 2-1 in four career starts against the Giants.Soriano's home run was his 23rd of the season, one shy of tying Pena and Aramis Ramirez for the team lead.Soto's homer, leading off the seventh, snapped an 0-for-25 streak by the Cubs' catcher.Lincecum finished with four walks and four strikeouts. He needs seven more to reach 200 for the fourth consecutive season.Notes: One day after Bochy hinted LHP Jonathan Sanchez (left ankle sprain) might be done for the year, Sanchez acknowledged his recovery hasn't gone as quickly as he hoped but said he's hopeful of pitching again this season. ... LHP Barry Zito is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday and could begin a rehab assignment soon. ... RHP Matt Garza (6-10) starts for the Cubs on Tuesday and will make his first career appearance against the Giants. Garza has only two wins and a 5.07 ERA on the road this season. ... Former San Francisco mayor and current California Sen. Dianne Feinstein was among those in attendance.

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

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USATSI

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Danny Hoesen scored his second goal of the season and assisted on Marco Urena's second goal, lifting the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Hoesen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, off a long cross from Nick Lima. After touching the ball down, Hoesen gathered it off a defender's foot, stepped inside and unleashed a left footer into the top corner from just off the penalty spot.

Hoesen's long through ball down the right side sent Urena free and from a tight angle he rolled the ball past Nick Rimando in the 68th minute.

San Jose (6-6-5), which has battled injuries and call-ups to score just 16 goals in 16 games, won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Lima picked up two yellow cards in the second half and the Quakes played a man down from the 71st minute.

David Bingham made only one save in each half but was denied his seventh shutout when Jose Hernandez scored his second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Salt Lake (5-11-2).

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”