Urban: Only direction is up for Giants


Urban: Only direction is up for Giants

August 17, 2011


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Mychael Urban

You had the better part of Monday and all day Tuesday -- make that Black Tuesday. You absorbed the crushing loss Monday and the impending feeling of disabled-list doom, a reality realized first thing Tuesday. And as Tuesday's shadows grew longer and darker, you saw another and another and another of your guys go down.Then, as if the baseball gods -- or, as our own Mr. Ray (of Sunshine) Ratto suggested, the devil himself -- were, um, hell-bent on letting you know you'd hit rock stinking bottom, you got clapped in the ear with a metal rake in the form of another walk-off loss, in extra innings no less.

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The despair with which you've dealt, Giants fans, has been justified beyond a doubt.But your time for wallowing in the self-pity that comes with overexposure to doom, gloom and talk of the trainer's room comes to an end as of Wednesday's first pitch in Atlanta.
RELATED: Preview -- Hurting Giants now have to face Braves' Jurrjens
There is but one direction to go from rock bottom, and now is the time to starting thinking in that direction.Why? Several reasons. The first being that what you've been feeling for the past 48 hours is unhealthy. Obsess on the negative for too long and you cease to be a fan. You become Robert De Niro in "The Fan."Reason two is the National League West standings. Your boys are 3 12 games out of first place with considerably more than a month of baseball to play. That's chump change, and please don't use that phrase as a springboard to the obvious joke sitting there on a tee for you about the current state of San Francisco's offense. That's unhealthy, too.RELATED: Ratto -- Giants down, but not out
Reason three: the remaining schedule. After wrapping up in Atlanta, the Giants face exactly one team left in that month-plus with a winning record, and that team is the team they're chasing, the out-of-their-tree-right-now Diamondbacks.
Granted, your guys haven't exactly been bounding joyously atop the allegedly soft spots of the schedule of late, but remember, that was while they were headed for Black Tuesday and rock bottom. For reason four, we return to those Diamondbacks. You don't really think they're going to keep playing this well, do you? Come on. Their next five games alone are against Philly and Atlanta, and you only get one beat-Roy-Halladay-with-an-epic-ninth-inning-rally a year. They will come back to earth as sure as the Giants will start climbing from the earth's core.Or did you not notice that they have exactly two starting pitchers who'd be in the Giants' rotation, and maybe three relievers who'd have get a sniff out of the Giants' bullpen?Sure, Arizona's offense looks like a juggernaut comparatively, but it is one Justin Upton slump from looking meek, and Upton has been smoking-hot for a good three months now. It's not easy to keep up that pace, particularly when engaged in a pennant race with an entire team on your 23-year-old shoulders.So now let's wrap up this admittedly and purposely glass-half-full exercise with reason No. 5: drama.The Giants have shown time and again that they absolutely thrive on it. They create ungodly messes for themselves and delight in the cleaning up. Well, this is about as messy as it's going to get, and while it sure would be nice to have Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez and Carlos Beltran and Sergio Romo and a No. 5 starter worth his ankle tape, there remain some pretty capable janitors at the ready with mops and buckets.Nate Schierholtz will not be out long. The law of averages tell you there has to be at least one really good month of baseball inside Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross and Miguel Tejada. Brandon Belt, as long as they stick with him, will chip in. Pablo Sandoval is dying for his close-up. Oh, and those guys on the mound will help some, too.It's always darkest before dawn, we're told. Well, in this case the opposite could prove true. It was dark as dark gets at dawn -- heck, at noon -- on Wednesday, and that means it can't get any darker.

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

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


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."

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.

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.

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.