Urban: Busy day (and one more win) for Giants


Urban: Busy day (and one more win) for Giants

July 19, 2011


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Mychael Urban

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants made news on so many fronts Tuesday that they managed to do something typically quite difficult: They made a game against the rival Dodgers seem secondary.Let's break the news down, then, before touching on that pesky game.The biggie, in many minds, was a fairly significant trade. The Giants sent two minor-league arms, both of them with late-inning stuff, to the Astros for second baseman Jeff Keppinger.
URBAN: Giants' Keppinger deal solid if unspectacular
Not an exorbitant price to pay by any stretch, but a price nonetheless -- for a player with virtually no pop, a less-than-impressive on-base percentage and average defensive skills. That's the glass-half-empty take on the deal, anyway. The half-full take: Two guys you won't miss at all this year for a guy hitting over .300 who could play a significant role this year and next.

Biggie 1-B, then, was the promotion of rookie first baseman Brandon Belt, who ripped through the minors last season, made the team out of spring training this year, got sent down after struggling, got called back up after proving he'd closed the hole in his swing, got injured, rehabbed, was activated and sent back down again. His past 12 months have been nothing short of dizzying, but Belt is staring straight ahead, hoping to provide the patience, power and production the club has been sorely lacking.One way to make room for a promotion is to dole out a demotion, and Tuesday's came -- actually, it won't be made official until Keppinger arrives Wednesday -- at the expense of a player whose promotion never made sense in the first place.
Twenty-one-year-old catcher Hector Sanchez, who started the season in Single-A ball, advanced to Triple-A and was called up to The Show last Friday despite the Giants already having two catchers on the big-league roster. Perhaps having three Sanchezes violated some sort of MLB bylaw of which the Giants were unaware when they called the kid up, but they sure didn't give him much of a chance to flash his wares. He came, he got meal money, he was gone.
You've heard a brief call-up to the bigs referred to as a "cup of coffee," right? Sanchez ended up with a thimble full of espresso -- decaf, at that.We also got word of a change in the starting rotation, which taught Barry Zito that the Giants' brass thinks exactly like most of the team's fans. For the enigma that is Planet Zito, three great starts and a stinker means blah, blah, blah, stinker! That's just the way it is, and the way it always will be.What's a busy day without somebody getting placed on the DL? Miguel Tejada, come on down. Despite impassioned pleas, Tejada was shelved with an abdominal strain a day after Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he'd earned back the starting shortstop job he'd lost to rookie Brandon Crawford. Crawford got the start Tuesday, but he might not be the starter even with Tejada out. When Keppinger arrives, it's likely that Mike Fontenot will slide from second to short, bumping Crawford to the bench. There was good news related to the DL, too. Giants VP of baseball ops Bobby Evans told CSNBayArea.com that second baseman Freddy Sanchez, whose injury made way for the Keppinger deal, is progressing well enough in rehab from his right shoulder surgery that he might be DH-ing in Arizona Rookie League games in the near future.
PODCAST: Inside the Giants -- Coming Down the Pipe
When he gets back, of course, he'll be the starting second baseman. But he's not eligible to return until Aug. 11, because Tuesday's ferris wheel forced the Giants to transfer him from the 15-day DL to the 60-day shutdown.
Who'll be the shortstop by mid-August? At this rate, you could throw out Danny Bonaduce and not get laughed out of the room. All that and a game? Relax, boys. Space it out a bit. Living in the KardashianFlavor Flav Era is sensory overload enough.Alas, they did play a game. Pretty darn good one, too. And as things turned out, one of the aforementioned stories factored quite nicely in the Giants' 5-3 comeback win in front of -- cut and paste time -- yet another sellout crowd at AT&T Park.RECAP: Belt powers Giants to 5-3 win over Dodgers
Belt, whom Evans last Friday said would "ideally" spend the rest of the season getting more seasoning at Triple-A Fresno, essentially said, "I've got your ideal right here, pally." First he pounded a home run in his first at-bat, then he smoked a two-run, game-winning double after an intentional walk ahead of him. Why was Belt playing? Oh, more news: starting first baseman Aubrey Huff has a balky back.Wait, one more: Pablo Sandoval, whom you're tempted to refer to as a machine but the prospect of getting that image stuck in your dome is too daunting, suffered a right quad strain during the game and was removed for a pinch runner after going 2-for-3 with a walk and his daily defensive gem.You got all that? Good. For the bars are now closing, deadlines are looming, and there's still one last thing to report: Giants general manager Brian Sabean suggested he's working on another trade, one that might make the Keppinger deal look like child's play.Now that's some serious news, because the Giants, whose calm at the eye of Tuesday's storm was embodied by young Madison Bumgarner, already are -- against all odds -- really, really good. With Belt back in the mix (no more seasoning, please), Keppinger on the way and perhaps another big bat on the horizon, they might very well be on the brink of getting a whole mess better.

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home


SACRAMENTO -- The Milwaukee Bucks are where the Sacramento Kings hope to be in two seasons - young, athletic and on their way to the playoffs. Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center, the visiting team jumped all of the Kings early on their way to a 116-98 win. 

The Greek Freak didn’t let up on his fellow countryman, Georgios Papagiannis. Giannis Antetokounmpo went at the Kings from the opening tip, finishing the night with 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.  

Former Kings Jason Terry and Spencer Hawes heard boos every time they touched the ball. Unfortunately for Sacramento, they hit almost every shot they took, combining for 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Greg Monroe added 15 points and five rebounds. Mirza Teletovic finished with 13 points off the bench and Khris Middleton hit 3-for-6 from long range to score 13. 

Rookie Buddy Hield put on a shooting clinic. The 22-year-old shooting guard dropped in 8-of-16 from the field on his way to 21 points and four rebounds

Darren Collison set up his teammates from the opening tip. The veteran point guard dropped in 10 points and a team-high seven assists, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Garrett Temple stepped up his scoring, chipping in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and chipped in three rebounds in the loss. 

Willie Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks. 

Arron Afflalo started at the small forward position and added 12 on 5-of-9 shooting. Tyreke Evans came off the bench, posting 18 points in 20 minutes of action behind Afflalo.

Skal Labissiere managed to shake off a rough first half to drop in eight points and grab eight rebounds, and fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis picked up four points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off Dave Joerger’s bench.  


Antetokounmpo was as advertised and more. The 6-foot-11 forward gave the Kings fits from start to finish on his way to another huge performance.


The Bucks blew up in the first half, scoring 69 points on 61.4 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. This game was over before the teams headed in for the break.


Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson both missed the game for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out with a right hamstring thickness tear, but is expected back soon. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 


The Kings hit the road again following the game against Milwaukee. They will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday evening at Oracle Arena, followed by a stop in Los Angeles on Sunday to visit the Clippers.