Urban: Giants Road Trip Truly a Trip

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Urban: Giants Road Trip Truly a Trip

Sept. 26, 2010
GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

DENVER -- Prior to departing for Chicago on Monday, it had been almost a year to the date since Id been on a multi-city road trip. I did the road thing for 10 seasons as an As beat guynational writer for my previous employer, and I have to admit that I didnt miss it at all during the first five months of the 2010 season.When the calendar turned to September, though, it was obvious that I needed to get back out there. The Giants are better than theyve been in years, and you simply dont have any credibility as a baseball writer -- or TVradio broadcaster -- if you arent with the team while its playing its most critical games.Thus, it was decided that I would accompany the team the rest of the way, starting with the series in San Diego a couple of weeks ago. And today, as the Giants play their final game of a six-game trip through Chicago and Denver, and their final road game of the regular season, I offer to you some of the highs, lows and in-betweens of the past week The Giants were off last Monday, and I got into the Windy City at about 9 p.m. local time. By 10:30, I had been hit up by no fewer than 35 people asking me for money, and most of them wanted at least 1. When did the begging rates increase? On Tuesday I toured Wrigleyville and was blown away by how many Giants fans were there. Im not talking transplants, either. These were people who made the trip from the Bay Area -- tons of them. I knew thered be a lot of Giants fans in San Diego, but all the way out to Chicago? Thats passion. The Giants won my kind of game Tuesday night, Matt Cain and Carlos Zambrano took turns shoving bats up butts, and Buster Poseys solo homer to dead center was the only run in a 1-0 final. In short, a nice little signal that its about playoff time. The Cubs won 2-0 the next night, and all of a sudden it was panic time again in relation to the Giants offense. Makes me wonder if the teams fans suffer from collective short-term memory loss. Its not like we havent seen this before. It was the 16th shutout loss of the year! One of the things I really wanted to do at Wrigley was check out the bleachers, but my ALL ACCESS press pass wasnt enough to get me out there. What a joke. Im still bitter. Weve seen this quite a bit before, too: The Giants bounced back with a 13-0 win on Thursday to claim the series victory. The Giants must have short-term memory issues, too, and it works rather well for them. Note to self: While staying out until 5 a.m. is absurdly easy to do in Chicago, it is not required. My professional idol is Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle. His father, Gordon Jenkins (about whom Bruce wrote a phenomenal book), was a brilliant musician who worked with, among others, Frank Sinatra. So imagine the rush it was for me to hang out with Bruce in a Sinatra-themed bar in Chicago, listening to Old Blue Eyes. Incredible. Friday brought with it my first-ever trip to Coors Field, and Tim Lincecum held the Rockies to two hits in a 2-1 victory. As I walked the six blocks from the ballpark to my hotel, I wondered, Whats the big deal? Coors Field is overrated as a launching pad. And then came Saturday. Oops. Is that humidor thing broken? You know what needs to be broken? Dingers legs. The Rockies Triceratops mascot somehow gets away with standing behind home plate and waving his stubby little arms while the opponents closer is in his windup. So bush league its ridiculous. But not as ridiculous as the notion of a mascot running around without pants and spinning his head like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. That thing is going to traumatize children in the Mile High City for life if he isnt stopped. Troy Tulowitzkis walkup song is Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus. Hey, when you hit a homer and drive in three runs every day down the stretch, you can pretty much get away with anything.

Giants Notes: Span feeling better, hopes to return to lineup Wednesday

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Giants Notes: Span feeling better, hopes to return to lineup Wednesday

CHICAGO -- Joe Panik's leadoff homer in the series opener was a jolt, but the Giants are a much more dangerous offense when Denard Span is clicking atop the lineup, a spot ahead of Panik, and they hope to have that duo going Wednesday. Span got treatment all day Tuesday and said he could return to the lineup against Kyle Hendricks. 

"The swelling has gone down," Span said of his sprained left thumb. "The thing to do is to come in tomorrow, test it out, and if it feels good, you strap it on."

Span said an X-ray came back clean, but he didn't grab a bat Tuesday to test the thumb, focusing instead on treatment. He is batting .326 in nine games since coming off the DL. His replacement in center this week, Gorkys Hernandez, was 0-for-3 against Jon Lester, lowering his average to .160. 

--- The main story from the second game of this series: Johnny Cueto is now dealing with a second blister, and you can see the lack of movement on his pitches. The Cubs took advantage. Lester didn't need much help while throwing a 99-pitch complete game in two hours and five minutes. 

"He threw a lot more changeups than we've seen in the past," Buster Posey said. "He's shown it in the past but tonight he had good command of it. It wasn't just a show-me pitch. He used it a lot and threw it to lefties as well.

Posey twice grounded short rollers in front of the plate.

--- Posey's throw to nab Javy Baez on Monday was one of the best of the year, and on Tuesday afternoon, Bruce Bochy said, "If he's given a chance, I don't think there's anyone better in the game." That might be true, but Willson Contreras is threatening to get into the conversation. He threw an 85 mph rocket to second in the fifth to nab Eduardo Nuñez. If you're wondering how Lester -- who flat-out has the yips about throwing to first base and doesn't do it -- has allowed just six stolen bases this season, look no further than his young catcher. Long-term, Contreras is the guy I would expect to compete with Posey for Gold Gloves. 

"Nuney, with his speed, can go," Bochy said. "Their catcher made a great throw. Put it right on the money."

--- From before Tuesday's game, what do the relievers think of the new hidden bullpen at Wrigley? And if you missed the Power Rankings the other day, the records are outdated, but there are updates in here on old friends Matt Duffy, Chris Heston, Tommy Joseph, Adalberto Mejia, Yusmeiro Petit and others. Petit in particular is incredible ... just keeps doing his thing. 

--- This play was made by the shortstop. That's good for the old UZR.

Hahn, Alonso leave with injuries, A's drop slugfest to Marlins

Hahn, Alonso leave with injuries, A's drop slugfest to Marlins

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Justin Bour matched his career high with four hits including his fourth home run in five games to highlight Miami's best offensive game of the season, and the Marlins held off a late surge to beat the Oakland Athletics 11-9 on Tuesday night.

Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon had three hits each on a night when every Miami player had at least one by the third inning. Three other Marlins had two hits apiece while Ichiro Suzuki added a two-run single in his return to the starting lineup.

Miami entered the day with the second-worst record in the majors having dropped 14 of 17 before getting a season-high 19 hits against Oakland in the first meeting between the two clubs since 2014.

Yonder Alonso hit his 13th home run of the season for the A's, but left with a bruised right hand after getting hit by a pitch in the sixth. Ryon Healy and Rajai Davis also homered for Oakland.

Jose Urena (2-2) pitched five uneven innings for his first career interleague win in 10 appearances. The Miami right-hander allowed six runs over five innings, raising his ERA from 1.91 to 3.08.

Jesse Hahn (1-4) took the loss and left the game in the third inning with a triceps strain. He pitched just two innings, giving up five runs on seven hits while striking out two. He gave up a single to Christian Yelich in the third then left after a visit to the mound by the Oakland trainer.

The A's scored three times in the ninth and had the tying runner at the plate with two outs before AJ Ramos struck out Stephen Vogt.

Bour doubled as part of a three-run third, singled and scored in the fifth, homered leading off the seventh then singled again in the ninth. It was Bour's 12th home run this season and eighth in his last 12 games.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Marlins: Wei-Yin Chen received a platelet-rich plasma treatment before the game. The left-hander has been out since early May with arm fatigue. . RHP David Phelps was placed on the bereavement list and is expected to rejoin the team Friday. . Reliever Drew Steckenrider was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. . RHP Junichi Tazawa (rib cage inflammation) is scheduled to throw a bullpen this weekend.

Athletics: X-rays taken on Alonso's hand were negative. . LHP Sean Doolittle (shoulder strain) will throw a 25-pitch bullpen Wednesday. If all goes well, the former closer could face hitters in his next outing. . RHP Ryan Dull continues to be bothered by soreness in his right knee.

UP NEXT:
Miami right-hander Edinson Volquez (0-6) pitches the finale of this two-game series Wednesday afternoon while Oakland counters with right-hander Sonny Gray (1-1). Gray is attempting to win consecutive starts for the first time since April 2016.