Streaking Giants charge into Wrigley

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Streaking Giants charge into Wrigley

May 13, 2011

GIANTS (21-16) vs.
CHICAGO (16-20)

Coverage begins at 10:30 A.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

CHICAGO (AP) -- An undefeated homestand helped propel the San Francisco Giants into sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time this season. A weekend in Chicago could help them remain at the top.

The Giants look for a seventh consecutive win overall while trying to continue their success against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday.

Following a 1-4 start, the reigning World Series champions have climbed back atop the division by one game over Colorado after giving up 10 runs while sweeping a six-game homestand against the Rockies and Arizona.

"That's definitely the homestand we needed," said Matt Cain, who pitched 7 2-3 innings to earn the victory in Thursday's 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks.

URBAN: Cain masterful, Giants win again

The Giants (21-16), winners in eight of nine, will try to continue that success at Wrigley, where they've held a 26-10 scoring advantage while taking four of the last six. San Francisco has won six of eight overall against the Cubs.

The club hopes pitching in Chicago will help Madison Bumgarner (0-5, 4.21 ERA) earn his first win in his eighth start. The left-hander is 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in two starts against the Cubs, earning the win while striking out nine in seven innings of a 13-0 victory at Wrigley on Sept. 23.

Despite his 2011 record, Bumgarner has allowed two earned runs and struck out 19 over 19 innings during his last three starts. His teammates, however, have totaled three runs in those games.

All those came in a 3-2 win over Colorado on Saturday - the Giants' first victory in Bumgarner's seven starts. He pitched six shutout innings before allowing the first four batters to reach in the seventh, resulting in two runs - one earned.

"I don't care if I don't win a game all year if we win; if it works out like that, I don't care," Bumgarner told the Giants' official website.

Andres Torres doubled Thursday and went 4 for 10 with two RBIs in the three-game set with Arizona in his return after missing a month with a strained Achilles' tendon. The center fielder is 6 for 16 with two doubles and two RBIs in his last five games versus Chicago, but 0 for 7 with three strikeouts against scheduled starter Ryan Dempster (1-4, 7.20).

The right-hander is 2-8 with a 5.28 ERA in 13 starts versus San Francisco after allowing nine runs in 1 2-3 innings while losing to Bumgarner in September. Dempster, however, has been solid despite an 0-1 record in his last two outings overall, giving up three runs and 11 hits in 14 innings against the Dodgers and Reds.

He will try to help the Cubs (16-20) bounce back after dropping two of three to both Cincinnati and St. Louis to begin a nine-game homestand.

"This is a tough stretch," manager Mike Quade said. "The frustration for me is that we're inconsistent."

One day after breaking out for an 11-4 win over the Cardinals, Chicago went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position in Thursday's 9-1 loss to St. Louis. The Cubs are among the major league leaders batting .276, but are hitting .227 with runners in scoring position.

"You start pressing on it and it becomes its own monster," said utilityman Jeff Baker, who had three hits Thursday.

Chicago is batting .176 in its last six home games versus San Francisco, but Alfonso Soriano - hitting .304 with five homers and eight RBIs his last 12 games - is 3 for 5 with three doubles versus Bumgarner.

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

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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.