Tempers flare in Giants' 9-2 loss to Phillies

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Tempers flare in Giants' 9-2 loss to Phillies

Aug. 5, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Shane Victorino thought reliever Ramon Ramirez hit him on purpose. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel saw it that way, too.Victorino, Ramirez and Giants catcher Eli Whiteside all were ejected after benches cleared in the top of the sixth inning of Philadelphia's 9-2 victory over San Francisco on Friday night.Tempers flared when Ramirez hit Victorino in the lower back with a pitch, moments after Jimmy Rollins stole second with a six-run lead. Victorino began walking toward the mound and Whiteside, the catcher, stepped in front of him. Placido Polanco raced in from second base and was tackled by Whiteside.Giants Insider gallery: Anatomy of a Brawl
"Yeah, absolutely, I think he did," Victorino said of Ramirez plunking him intentionally. "That's why I took a step forward. I had no intentions of going out there and charging the mound. I just wanted to go out there and get an answer. ... Obviously, Eli felt like, from looking at his reaction, I was going to go. He started jumping around. Polanco came in and he tackled Polanco. Everything escalated from there."These teams have become quite the rivals of late after the Giants beat the favored Phillies in six games of the NL championship series last fall on the way to capturing the franchise's first World Series since moving West in 1958.Carlos Beltran didn't agree with Rollins' steal."You can ask Jimmy Rollins about that. I would not have done it," San Francisco's new slugger said.Manuel figures Ramirez just became frustrated."He hit Vic, then he came after Vic. Vic almost has to go unless he wants his teammates to call him chicken," Manuel said. "I think (Ramirez) was getting hit and he got mad and he was going to plunk somebody. He was going to send a message."John Mayberry Jr. hit a two-run homer for his second clout in as many games and Vance Worley (8-1) won his sixth straight decision as the Phillies ran their winning streak to a season-best eight games.Victorino and Hunter Pence also homered for the majors-best Phillies, who haven't lost since the Giants took two of three from them last week. San Francisco has dropped seven of eight during the same span.Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff was in the middle of the scrum and Rollins shoved San Francisco bench coach Ron Wotus as they exchanged words. Victorino pushed plate umpire Mike Muchlinski trying to get back into the fray, then was held back by Wotus and Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross.Manuel got stepped on and somebody pulled on the back of his pants. Polanco, taken to the ground by Whiteside, said he rushed to Victorino's defense.
RELATED: Giants, Phillies clear benches, brawl at AT&T Park
"I was trying to grab somebody," Polanco said. "It's not the first one and it's not going to be the last one. Once you're over there and you're playing for something, the Adrenalin level goes up. You want to win and you compete and things like that happen. ... We're both in first place and we want to win the division."The umpiring crew, which declined to comment after the game before reviewing video, met for several minutes once things settled down and then made the ejections. Crew chief Mike Winters said he could address the brawl Saturday."It's baseball and things happen fast," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Tempers flare. It's part of the game. It's part of the game. It's competition. Things aren't going well for us. It happens and you deal with it. ... I thought it was fairly clean out there. You hope your guys are trying to break up the fight. We'll have to see what happens when MLB looks at the video."Philadelphia led 8-2 at the time, then Pence homered for the second straight night in the seventh.Whiteside hit a solo homer in the fifth for the Giants before being tossed the next inning."I called for a fastball inside and it was a little too far inside. It was a two-seamer," Whiteside said. "I have no comment on the fight. ... I played a little quarterback in high school."Worley allowed two runs on seven hits, struck out six and walked one in seven innings, beating the Giants for the second time in three starts after tossing a three-hitter on July 26.Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez (4-6) lasted 4 2-3 inning in his return from biceps tendinitis that landed him on the disabled list for 36 games. He 0-3 in his last five starts.Sanchez took over in the rotation for struggling lefty Barry Zito, who went back on the disabled list with the same sprained right foot that shelved him earlier this year.Giants manager Bochy went back to his regular lineup - with Beltran batting third and Pablo Sandoval cleanup - a day after Cliff Lee shut out the Giants 3-0. Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly in the first to put the Giants ahead, but the Phillies jumped on Sanchez in the fourth.Victorino had a one-out homer and Mayberry connected four batters later. Raul Ibanez added an RBI groundout. Ramirez relieved after back-to-back singles by Polanco and Victorino in the fifth.NOTES: Rollins stole his 25th base in the fifth and 26th in the sixth. ... Injured Giants C Buster Posey, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year who went down for the season in a home-plate collision with Florida's Scott Cousins on May 25, could be completely off crutches this weekend or early next week. He is on one crutch after tearing three ligaments in his left ankle and fracturing a bone in his lower leg. ... Bochy said Zito will pitch four or five innings in a rehab outing Sunday for Class A San Jose. ... RHP Matt Cain goes Saturday for the Giants, trying to beat Philadelphia for the second time in as many starts. His win at Philly last week was his first ever vs. the Phillies. ... The Phillies will send LHP Cole Hanmels to the mound against the Giants on Saturday. He's 4-3 against the Giants in nine starts, including a loss in Philadelphia. He is 1-2 over his last four starts. Cody Ross has four home runs in 32 at-bats against Hamels, while Beltran has three in 36.

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

SAN FRANCISCO — With the winning run on second and a bat in his hands, Cory Gearrin allowed himself to dream. He was a second baseman at Mercer University years ago and he entered the night with a 1.000 batting average in the big leagues. Why couldn’t this be his night on the mound and at the plate?

Gearrin stopped on the way to the plate and told Buster Posey that he was going to walk it off. He dug in against right-hander Chad Qualls and waited for the first sinker. He swung over the top of it, but he felt it was a quality hack. And then he missed the next sinker, and then the next. 

“I felt good going into that at-bat,” Gearrin said. “It was fun getting that opportunity. I’ve never faced a sinker like that. I felt like I missed it … by a lot.”

Gearrin can take solace in two facts. First, using his own sinker, he pitched three shutout innings, more than earning his keep, and he was a well-deserved winning pitcher in a 4-3 win over the Rockies that became official one minute after midnight.

Second, perhaps he gave the next hitter, Denard Span, a better view of an opposing pitcher’s repertoire. 

“Yeah ... he gave me a lot of information during that at-bat,” Span said as he laughed. 

Okay, so maybe Gearrin’s contributions were limited to the mound, but oh what a job he did against one of the best lineups in the National League. Span didn’t glean anything from Gearrin’s brief battle, but he didn’t need to. He spat on a changeup and then ripped a sinker into right, allowing Gorkys Hernandez to race home for a 14th-inning victory. 

Span, who is open about his distrust of birds, had spent nearly two hours standing under a circling flock of seagulls. Between pitches, he often dropped his hands onto his knees, looking more eager than anyone for the night to end. 

“Those birds were dropping stuff all around me,” he said. “I was like, you know what man, I don’t got time for this.”

The single gave the Giants back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. It validated so much good work, from the five relievers who got the ball to Gearrin, to the Brandons who turned a snazzy double play in the 11th, to Buster Posey, who twice threw out runners at second in extra innings. Gearrin shouted out the defense in his post game media session. 

“It’s not news to us that we’ve got gold glovers all over the field,” he said. 

The Giants trailed by a pair after Matt Cain hung a curveball to Mark Reynolds, but they chipped away. The Rockies were the jumpier team in extra innings, but every rally was cut down by stellar defense and quality pitches. Gearrin threw 34 of them. 

The veteran right-hander had never before recorded more than six outs in a big league game. He got nine outs Tuesday, giving Bochy one extension after another as he battled to make it through a game shorthanded. With Conor Gillaspie headed to the DL, the Giants had just three position players on the bench. That meant Ty Blach was used as a pinch-runner. Jeff Samardzija pinch-hit in the 11th. Bochy thought of using Matt Moore in the 14th when the pitcher’s spot came up. Hunter Strickland was warming up to pitch the 15th, but …

“I could have hit Moore — I probably should have,” Bochy said, smiling. “But Cory is a pretty good athlete and had a pretty good average going into that at-bat. The numbers swayed me.”

Gearrin got his first career at-bat last season and singled. He has not even taken batting practice since that day, but he was fired up when given the opportunity. He was still so fired up after the Giants chased Span into the outfield that he didn’t mind the fact that his shiny 1.000 batting average has been cut in half. 

“I got to use that line for a year,” he said. “But I’ll gladly sacrifice the 1.000 average for a walk-off win.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

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SAN FRANCISCO — This, at long last, is a winning streak. A modest one, but still. 

Denard Span hit a walk-off single to right in the bottom of the 14th inning, giving the Giants a 4-3 win that became official one minute after midnight. The Giants have back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. 

The Giants led early, fell behind on a three-run dinger, and then chipped away until the game went to extras. Buster Posey twice gunned runners down at second to help keep the score tied and the bullpen held tough, with Cory Gearrin throwing three scoreless innings. 

Gearrin had a chance to win it for himself in the 14th, but he struck out with Gorkys Hernandez on second. Span promptly singled. If you’re just waking up for work, here are five things to know from a night when the seagulls outnumbered the humans … 

--- Matt Cain needs an assist on the first run of the night. With Gorkys Hernandez on first, he got a sacrifice bunt down on a two-strike curveball that was headed for the dirt. Hernandez went to second and promptly scored on Denard Span’s single to right. The curveball wasn’t so kind in the sixth. With a runner on, the Giants intentionally walked lifelong nemesis Nolan Arenado to get to Mark Reynolds. Cain hung a curve and Reynolds crushed it to left for a three-run homer. 

--- The Giants got a run back in the sixth when Brandon Crawford’s deep fly allowed Buster Posey to trot in from third. Crawford leads the majors with nine sacrifice flies. He also turned a ridiculous double play that can’t adequately be described, except to say that he should expand his trophy case. 

--- Kelby Tomlinson came off the bench to tie it in the bottom of the eighth. His single to right brought Brandon Belt in from third. Tomlinson is 9 for 27 as a pinch-hitter this season. That’ll keep you on the chartered jets. 

--- Sam Dyson, with a fastball that reached 97 and an infield defense that was just as firm, pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings in extras. What a find. 

--- With the go-ahead run on first and no outs in the 13th, Nolan Arenado put down a sacrifice bunt. That's one of the five best moments of the Giants' season.