Posey makes sure Bochy's "Game of Thrones" moment comes after Giants win

Posey makes sure Bochy's "Game of Thrones" moment comes after Giants win

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants had their press conference room closely guarded Wednesday, and for good reason. Inside, a replica throne was waiting for Thursday’s “Game of Thrones” night, and it was waiting for a victorious manager. 

That set up a potentially awkward situation. Bruce Bochy has done so many morose press conferences this season, but Buster Posey made sure his manager didn’t have to sit on a throne and discuss another loss. Posey’s two-run pinch-hit double with two outs in the eighth gave the Giants a 5-4 win and allowed Bochy to soak in his “Game of Thrones” moment.

“Duane Kuiper is the one who got me watching it,” Bochy said, looking comfortable. “The only thing about sitting in this chair — I’ve got to be honest — I know the kings that sit in this chair get killed off. I am a little nervous right now that Larry (Baer) wanted me to sit in this chair.”

Bochy was never going to be the one to pay for this season’s downfall, but he has had to wear the tough losses. On Wednesday he got to enjoy a come-from-behind win, and it felt a wee bit bigger than that. For three days, the Giants have mostly played their brand of baseball. Only a poor underhanded throw from Matt Moore on Monday night kept them from sweeping the reigning American League champions.

“We have bits and pieces of it here,” Matt Cain said. “The biggest thing is to just not sit here and go down the dark hole of here we go again. Bad things do happen during the game but we’re way more talented than that and we’ve got a tremendous group of guys in here who can play good baseball. If we keep on the right mentality and get a lot of things right, we’ll get this thing rolling the right way.“

Cain gave up three runs in his six innings, but the Giants trailed heading into the eighth. Bochy had gone with his Bomb Squad lineup, and that allowed him to pull a trump card out with two on and two outs. Posey hit for Kelby Tomlinson and he smoked a double that bounced to the wall in left. A few hours after pitching two innings in an extra-innings win, Sam Dyson stranded the tying run on third in a tortuous ninth. The Giants picked up a rare series win. 

“These last two games are the kind of magic we’re used to having,” Bochy said from his throne. “It’s good to recreate that.”

Bochy opens the door for Pablo question: 'Sometimes, it makes sense...'


Bochy opens the door for Pablo question: 'Sometimes, it makes sense...'

During a radio interview on Wednesday morning, Bruce Bochy opened the door...

... for a question about Pablo Sandoval.

When the Giants skipper revealed that the team sometimes refers to Miguel Gomez as "Little Pablo," Bochy knew a follow-up question was coming.

Has there been any contact between the Giants and Sandoval?

"Yeah, I think Bobby (Evans) has looked into it. I don't know if it's gonna go anywhere," Bochy said on KNBR 680. "But he did a lot here and we'll never forget that.

"Sometimes, it makes sense, especially when you're looking at it financially, it doesn't cost you a lot."

Last Friday, the Red Sox designated Sandoval for assignment.

He was hitting .212 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 32 games.

In 2012, Sandoval hit .364 with six home runs and 13 RBI over 16 postseason games and was named the World Series MVP.

In 2014, Sandoval set the single-season postseason record with 26 hits.

"I loved the way he played," Bochy said. "He had so much enthusiasm and that got infectious in that dugout. And of course what he did for us on that field ... a young guy that needed some help so we all tried to do our part to make him a better player.

"A great guy to have on the club. A hard worker, a quick learner."

Sandoval, who will turn 31 years old on Aug. 11, is owed $18 million in 2018 and 2019, and $17 million in 2020 (or a $5 million buyout).

Bumgarner evaluates his first start back with Giants: 'I'll take that anytime'

Bumgarner evaluates his first start back with Giants: 'I'll take that anytime'

SAN DIEGO — Madison Bumgarner is a perfectionist on the mound, but even he likely didn’t scrip a return like the one he had around 6 p.m. Saturday night. 

Bumgarner struck out the side in his first MLB inning since April 19, showing right from the jump that he’s the same guy. The rest of his night included some rockier moments, and the Giants ultimately lost, but they at least could walk away knowing that their ace is fine.

The team? Not so much. But Bumgarner is fine. 

“It’s good to have him back,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Overall, I thought he did a real nice job.”

Bochy did not attend any of Bumgarner’s rehab starts, although he watched video. In that sense, seeing Bumgarner stand a few feet away and sling cutters in on hands was a bit of a relief. He always felt his lefty would be fine after a dirt bike accident, but this night confirmed it.

“To see him back in action, he looked the same,” Bochy said. “His delivery and everything looked good. The command was really good tonight.”

Unfortunately for Bochy, his Giants looked the same, too. They failed to take advantage of Jhoulys Chacin’s early wobbles, scoring just two runs in the first and one in the sixth. They went down in a manner that was equally surprising and not. Hector Sanchez, the longtime backup to Buster Posey, crushed a Steven Okert pitch into the night to walk the Giants off and clinch a 5-3 win for his new team. 

Bumgarner felt some of the sting of that. On this night, he was sharp enough that he could have gone just about the distance. But Bumgarner’s pitch count was right around 100, and he was pulled after getting through seven on 102 pitches. Bumgarner was charged with three earned on four hits, including two homers. 

“I felt pretty good the whole time,” he said. “We were making pitches pretty much from the first inning on. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go much over 100 (pitches). They weren’t going to let me, anyway. Going out for seven, I’ll take that anytime.”

Bumgarner gave up two homers, both on two-strike curveballs. It took him some time during the rehab process to get his breaking pitches squared away, but he said this night wasn’t about rust. 

“They weren’t bad pitches,” he said. “Looking back, they were the wrong pitches.”

Okert made the wrong pitch, too. With the winning run on second and an open base, he threw a fat slider that Sanchez hit into the Western Metal Supply Co. building. The catcher hit .240 with 10 homers in five years with the Giants. In two seasons facing them, he is 6 for 12 with three homers and eight RBI. Sanchez has four homers this season and two have come in the ninth inning against the Giants. A third came against Sergio Romo, his former teammate. 

You can add that to the long list of things that have gone wrong in this 2017 season. The list of things that have gone right is short, but the Giants can at least sleep easier knowing that Bumgarner will carry his usual heavy load every five days the rest of the season. 

Bumgarner was not ready to look that far down the line. He didn’t think big picture Saturday. He said he was happy to be back, but when asked about the remaining schedule, he shrugged. What does he want to accomplish?

“Win tomorrow,” he said.