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Urban: Christian, Pill light up chase for Giants

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Urban: Christian, Pill light up chase for Giants

Sept. 6, 2011

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Mychael Urban
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You'd heard of Eric Surkamp. In fact, you'd seen the 24-year-old lefty, and you'd loved what you'd seen.You'd heard of Brett Pill. You might not have seen the 27-year-old infielder, but you'd certainly heard about the big numbers he'd been putting up at Triple-A Fresno.RELATED: Giants Insider gallery -- Youth Beltran = Win
Justin Christian? Chances are you'd never heard of him, and you're excused for that.

He's not exactly a prospect; he's a 31-year-old outfielder who made his big-league debut with the 2008 Yankees, and he hadn't done much of anything since. Not even a cameo in the bigs, and he spent most of 2010 with New York's Double-A club before signing with the Giants as a minor-league free agent this February.Prior to Tuesday, he'd split the 2011 season between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Fresno, putting up more impressive numbers at the higher level, but there were more than a handful of Grizzlies moving the needle more than this journeyman. And that journey essentially started right down the peninsula at Aragon High in San Mateo, continued at Skyline Junior College in San Bruno, stalled a bit at Auburn University, then picked up steam at Southeast Missouri State before he disappeared into the bush leagues for the better part of nine years.So when Giants fans talk about the club needing to commit to a youth movement, they're not including Christian. Surkamp, Pill, Brandon Belt, Gary Brown? Absolutely. Several others, too. Not Christian, though.That's why the Tuesday move to add him to the 40-man roster, call him to the big leagues, start him in center field, bat him leadoff and assign him No. 70, without his last name on the back of his road uniform, was greeted with a collective, "Huh? Who? What?"Christian is what the fans, some who don't quite (or want to) understand what an intense and massive jump it is to go from Single-A to a big-league pennant race, want Brown to be right now. Leadoff man, center fielder, spark plug.Well, guess what? That's exactly what Christian was Tuesday, providing a big fifth-inning double before scoring on Carlos Beltran's latest screaming line drive to snap a 3-3 tie that led to a 6-4 victory and a game shaved from the Diamondbacks' lead in the National League West.RECAP: Giants gain ground with 6-4 victory over Padres
Part of the youth movement? Not exactly. But Christian is local, he's a fresh face, and he plays with an infectious energy.He didn't quite steal the thunder of Pill, whose home run to left field on his first swing in the bigs was a classic moment, or Surkamp, who battled through five innings without his best stuff to pick up his first big-league win.But his double and dash represented just the type of lightning the Giants are going to need if they're going to have any shot at all to strike down the Snakes.

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner saw no reason to make a big deal over his first win of the year, even if it came far deeper into the season than anyone expected.

In a season that long ago spun out of control for both San Francisco and its ace, Bumgarner was happier seeing the struggling Giants have one of their best games of the year.

Bumgarner allowed one run over five innings for his first win of the season, and the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to be on the board now individually," Bumgarner said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about us winning games, and we played really good tonight."

Eduardo Nunez drove in two runs in his final game with San Francisco as he was traded to Boston for two minor leaguers. The veteran infielder was pulled in the fifth inning and was later seen on television shaking hands with several teammates in the Giants' clubhouse. The deal was announced after a few minutes after the final out.

Bumgarner also singled and scored, Buster Posey had three hits and an RBI and Joe Panik added a bases-loaded triple as struggling San Francisco won for only the fifth time in 16 games.

Josh Harrison singled twice for the Pirates, who fell behind 9-0 and couldn't recover. Pittsburgh stranded seven runners in the first five innings, including four in scoring position.

Making his third start since coming off the disabled list after nearly three months following a dirt bike accident in Colorado on April 20, Bumgarner (1-4) was mostly sharp while quieting a potent Pittsburgh lineup and ending the Pirates' seven-game winning streak at AT&T Park.

Three years after pitching a complete game to beat Pittsburgh in the NL wild card on his way to winning the 2014 World Series MVP, Bumgarner pitched out of a pair of early jams, allowed six hits and had four strikeouts.

"He did a nice job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm sure he's glad to get that (first win) taken care of. Once he went five that was enough."

It's the first win by a Giants starting pitcher since July 5.

Jameson Taillon (6-4) took the loss, giving up 10 runs in three innings.

"I didn't make good pitches once they got runners on," Taillon said. "They didn't waste any time. They had a merry-go-round going."

UMPIRE GOES DOWN:
Posey lined a single that hit second base umpire Ed Hickox in the foot and knocked him down in the fifth inning. Hickox slowly got to his feet and was attended to by a member of the Giants medical staff but remained in the game.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto may need to make a rehab start before rejoining the rotation. Cueto has been hindered by blisters on multiple fingers of his pitching hand, an issue that has lingered for much of the past month. The right-hander played catch from 105 feet before the game. Pablo Sandoval moved from Single-A San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento as he continues to try to work his way back into the big leagues. RHP Chris Stratton was recalled from Sacramento and IF Orlando Calixte was optioned down.

UP NEXT:
RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05 ERA) pitches the finale for the Giants seeking to beat Pittsburgh for the second time this season while RHP Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74 ERA) takes the mound for the Pirates looking for his fourth win in the last five road starts.

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Eduardo Nunez's time with the Giants is up as they have traded the third baseman to the Boston Red Sox.

The teams announced the trade shortly after the Giants beat the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

Fox Sports was the first to report the news.

The Giants will acquire minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Anderson, Boston's third-round pick out of Florida in 2016, has a 3.42 ERA in 97.1 innings between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem this season.

Santos, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, was signed by Boston out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League this season, Santos has allowed just three earned runs in 30 innings pitched.

Nunez was lifted for pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night and was seen hugging teammates as he left the dugout.

In 75 games with the Giants this season, Nunez hit .308/.334/.417 with 21 doubles, four home runs, 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Nunez was acquired from the Twins last summer for two prospects.