Kurz's Instant Replay: Giants 9, Rockies 3

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Kurz's Instant Replay: Giants 9, Rockies 3

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Battery mates Matt Cain and Buster Posey led the way as the Giants cruised to a 9-3 win over the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Saturday afternoon.

Posey continued his recent tear by going 2-for-4 with one walk, including a two-run homer in the third inning. Cain, who was just 2-3 with a 4.40 ERA in his last nine starts before Saturday, was effective in 7 13 innings of work in picking up his 11th victory. He gave up just two runs, both earned.

The Giants broke out of their home scoring slump in a big way, after they had scored just a total of two runs in their last 27 innings here, batting .144 in the process. That included Friday night, when they were held to just three hits against Colorado in a 3-0 defeat.

The Giants will remain in at least a tie for first in the N.L. West with Los Angeles when the day is over, as the Dodgers play in Miami later on Saturday.

Starting pitching report

Cain went 7 13 innings, surrendering two earned runs on seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts in lowering his ERA under three (2.99). He tossed 90 pitches, 62 of which were strikes.

With the win, Cain is now tied with teammate Tim Lincecum for third-most wins in the majors since the start of the 2009 season (50). When he gets at least three runs of support, Cain is a perfect 10-0 this season and 68-9 in his career.

Colorados Drew Pomeranz lasted four innings before Josh Roenicke replaced him in the bottom of the fifth. Pomeranz allowed four runs, all earned, on six hits and one home run to Posey. He struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches (45 strikes) in suffering his seventh loss of the season against just one win.

Bullpen report

Jose Mijares came on in relief of Cain with one out in the seventh and two men aboard. He retired Carlos Gonzalez before giving way to Sergio Romo, who got Henderson to fly out to center. Brad Penny closed out the game and allowed one unearned run in the ninth. Eric Young flied out with two men on base to end the game.

Roenicke surrendered four runs, all earned, and five hits after relieving Pomeranz in the fifth inning. He walked two and failed to record a strikeout. Mike Ekstrom and Rex Brothers each pitched an inning for Colorado, with Brothers surrendering an earned run in the eighth.

At the plate

Posey launched his team-leading 19th home run, just the Giants 18th at home, in the third inning with Melky Cabrera on base to give San Francisco a 4-0 lead.

In addition to his 7 13 innings of work on the mound, Cain helped his own cause with a two-out RBI single in the second inning to give the Giants a 2-0 lead at the time.

In fact, every one of the Giants starting nine had at least one hit, including newcomer Hunter Pence. The new right fielder hit a two-out RBI double in the fifth inning for what was just his seventh hit since a trade with Philadelphia.

Angel Pagan and Joaquin Arias both tripled in the game, giving the Giants 38 three-baggers this season. That trails only Colorados 40.

For Colorado, DJ LaMahieu hit his first career home run to lead off the eighth inning against Cain, but the game was effectively out of reach by then.

In field

Along with his proficient afternoon at the plate, Posey gunned down Jordan Pacheco trying to steal in the top of the fifth inning. In the top of the sixth, with Cain in his first precarious situation of the afternoon, Brett Pill snagged a Carlos Gonzalez liner with two on and one out and nearly doubled off Josh Rutledge at first.

Attendance

The Giants recorded their 141st straight sellout on a sun-splashed, perfect afternoon for baseball in the lower 70s with a light breeze.

Up next
The Giants and Rockies will meet in the rubber match of their three-game series on Sunday, again at 1:00 PST, as Barry Zito (9-8, 4.19 ERA) will face Colorado right-hander Alex White (2-6, 5.75 ERA).

Zito will be making his 17th career start against Colorado, and is 6-2 with a 2.39 ERA in 18 total outings. He threw a complete game shutout over the Rockies on April 9 at Coors Field. He earned the win in his last start vs. St. Louis last Tuesday allowing two earned runs in 6 23 innings of a 4-2 Giants win.

White had a no decision against the Dodgers in his last start after tossing four shutout innings in a 3-1 Rockies win on Tuesday.

Sharks' Vlasic joins Canada for World Championships

Sharks' Vlasic joins Canada for World Championships

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic will compete in the upcoming IIHF World Championships for Team Canada, it was announced on Friday.

The tournament runs from May 5-21 in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany. 

Vlasic, 30, a native of Montreal, has played in the tournament twice before in 2009 and 2012. He also represented Canada in the 2014 Olympic Games, helping it to a gold medal, and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which Canada also captured.

In 75 games with the Sharks this season, Vlasic posted 28 points (6g, 22a) and a +4 rating. He was second on the team in shorthanded time on ice (2:04 per game) and blocked shots (146).

A pending restricted free agent in 2018, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson called getting Vlasic signed to a long-term deal an offseason priority for the club. The two sides can begin negotiations on July 1.

“Vlasic [is] arguably one of the best defensemen in the league,” Wilson said. “[He] is still one of the most underrated players in the league in the outside world.”

The Sharks lost in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs to Edmonton, although Vlasic and partner Justin Braun helped to keep Connor McDavid in check at even strength. The league's leading scorer had just one even strength point in the six-game series, an empty net goal with less than one second left in Game 6.

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

SAN JOSE – The Sharks didn’t make any blockbuster moves last summer, content to make another run in 2016-17 with largely the same group that came within two wins of capturing the Stanley Cup.

They still acquired a notable player, though, when Mikkel Boedker was signed on July 1 to add an element that the Sharks knew they needed more of moving forward – speed. Boedker was expected to make the team faster, after the Sharks were exposed for not having enough of that against Pittsburgh in the NHL’s final round, as well as play in a top six role. 

At the time, it was hailed as a slick, under-the-radar move that wasn’t going to change the dynamic of the club but could help push it over the top.

When Boedker was a healthy scratch in games three and four of the first round against Edmonton, the evidence became clear, though, that this was a decision that fell flat on its face. 

Frankly, Boedker – who is signed for three more years with a $4 million salary cap hit – brings back visions of Sharks bust Marty Havlat. You know the skill is there, but the desire to use it on a nightly basis while showing any semblance of a battle level is lacking. 

Should the Sharks give Boedker another chance next season, or should they do everything in their power to try and move him? That’s a question that will likely be debated in the front office over the next several weeks.

On get-away day on Monday, indications were that the Sharks were planning on sticking with the 27-year-old, who finished with 26 points in the regular season (10g, 16a) and added one goal and one assist in four games in the playoffs.

“He has the things we’re looking for: his career scoring average, his speed, [penalty killing] ability,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “Did he meet the expectations that he had for himself [or] that we had for him? No. Can we get that out of him? Pete [DeBoer] believes we can.”

DeBoer has known Boedker since he played for him in 2007-08 in Kitchener (OHL). Despite scratching him in the playoffs, DeBoer said he saw “huge improvement” in Boedker throughout the course of the season after the forward spent nearly all of his NHL career in Arizona.

“There was an adjustment. He’s played 6-7 years a certain way in the NHL,” DeBoer said. “We’ve asked him to play differently here, and there was an adjustment.”

Boedker still believes that he can be a fit in San Jose.

“I think it will be and it can be,” he said. “It’s learning period, but you’ve also got to look in the mirror yourself and see what you can change and what assets you need to bring. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m ready to do that.”

The list of Sharks depth forwads that had frustrating seasons hardly begins and ends with Boedker, though.

Veteran Joel Ward’s production dipped from 43 points last season to 29 in 2016-17, although that probably isn’t too surprising considering he’s 36. Tomas Hertl is proving to be a streaky player, too, although his season was interrupted by another a knee injury.

The bigger disappointment came from players like Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi, who both made big impressions in the 2016 playoffs but struggled to produce consistent offense this year. Both were mentioned by name by DeBoer on Monday.

There are some promising youngsters in the pipeline like Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Marcus Sorensen, but it’s still too early to project any of them as can’t-miss scorers at the NHL level.

“I think we’ve got a large group of guys that I like, but need to step up,” DeBoer said. “Is Sorensen [like] Donskoi next year, where he takes a step back, or [does he take a] step forward? We’ve got a lot of guys that there’s a lot of potential there – Chris Tierney. 

“There’s a lot of those guys, but they need to have big summers and take a step, and show that they’re not just one season or one month players.”