Vogelsong, Giants shut out Dodgers 5-0


Vogelsong, Giants shut out Dodgers 5-0

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Ryan Vogelsong's selection for the All-Star game might have raised a few eyebrows. Now that the right-hander leads the National League in ERA, the critics may have to quiet down.Vogelsong pitched into the seventh inning and combined with two relievers on a seven-hitter to lead San Francisco to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night."This guy's done everything and beyond since he's come up here," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who ran the NL team and picked Vogelsong for the squad. "It's nice to see him finally qualify and now maybe get recognized as he should."Vogelsong (7-1), coming off his first All-Star appearance, scattered seven hits over 6 2-3 innings, finishing with five strikeouts and a walk while lowering his ERA to 2.02.
Giants Insider gallery: NL ERA leader
The journeyman right-hander already had the lowest ERA in the NL but hadn't logged enough innings to qualify. Four days shy of his 34th birthday, he finally has the top spot, just ahead of Atlanta's Jair Jurjjens."Doesn't matter," Vogelsong said. "It's important for me to prove (Bochy) right. They can say whatever they want to say. It doesn't bother me one bit but he stuck his neck out for me to pick me so I want to show people he made a good decision."Pablo Sandoval had three hits, including his ninth homer, for NL West-leading San Francisco, which has won eight of 10. Nate Schierholtz added two hits and an RBI, continuing his torrid pace that started when Bochy moved him into the cleanup spot last week.Cody Ross' two-run double in San Francisco's four-run sixth helped the Giants break it open.Juan Uribe had two singles against his former club but the Dodgers hit into two double plays and were shut out for the 10th time this season while losing their fifth straight against their division rivals.Chad Billingsley (8-8) yielded five runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. He had allowed only four runs in his previous four starts but his ERA jumped to 4.07 after his shaky outing against San Francisco."He kept missing spots," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "When you do that you end up getting hurt."Vogelsong retired the first eight batters he faced and didn't allow a hit until Matt Kemp's one-out single in the fourth. Juan Rivera followed with a soft dribbler to the right side on a hit-and-run, moving Kemp to third, but Vogelsong got out of it with some nifty defense of his own.James Loney hit a grounder back up the middle that Vogelsong bobbled momentarily before recovering and throwing to shortstop Brandon Crawford, whose relay to first just beat Loney to complete the double play.The Dodgers had two runners on with no outs in the sixth but Kemp grounded into a double play and Vogelsong got Rivera to pop out to shortstop to end the threat.Jeremy Affeldt and Ramon Ramirez finished up after Vogelsong departed.The Giants gave Vogelsong plenty of support.Schierholtz had an RBI single in the big sixth inning and is batting .417 (10 for 24) in five games in the cleanup spot. San Francisco is 5-0 in those games.Sandoval connected on Billingsley's first pitch in the bottom of the fourth. The third baseman also singled and scored in the sixth."I hope this is more us than what we were doing earlier in the season," Bochy said. "You can't depend on this pitching on a daily basis, so this is a good thing what we're seeing."Crawford entered the game after the Giants lost Miguel Tejada to a lower abdominal strain in the third inning. The veteran infielder bobbled Rafael Furcal's sharp grounder for an error, then slid to the turf.RELATED: Giants' Tejada leaves game with abdominal strain
A team trainer and Bochy came out to check on Tejada, and the three walked off the field together.Earlier in the day the Giants were invited to visit President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday in honor of the team's World Series win last year.The White House said Obama also will recognize the Giants' efforts to give back to the community."It's going to be very special," Bochy said. "I'm certainly looking forward to it. The guys can spend some time there and get a chance to meet the president, which is always an honor. It's going to be a thrill for everybody."NOTES: Billingsley didn't walk a batter for the first time this season. ... San Francisco backup C Chris Stewart left in the sixth after getting hit in the back of the head by Aaron Miles' bat. Eli Whiteside replaced him. ... Giants LHP Jonathan Sanchez allowed six runs in 2 2-3 innings of his first rehab start but Bochy remains encouraged. Sanchez will pitch again Friday for Triple-A Fresno. ... Dodgers INF Casey Blake (cervical strain) is eligible to come off the disabled list but is still receiving cortisone injections and will remain out indefinitely. ... Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan and actor Benjamin Bratt were among those in attendance.

Alonso strikes a chord with fascinating account of Cuba defection

Alonso strikes a chord with fascinating account of Cuba defection

ANAHEIM — As Yonder Alonso was preparing for the 2017 season last winter, he was tackling another challenge too.

Over the course of three months, the A’s first baseman gathered his thoughts and pieced together a fascinating first-person account for The Players’ Tribune about his childhood experience defecting from Cuba with his parents and younger sister.

Alonso framed the article as him penning a letter to his 8-year-old self, describing the grueling struggle he and his family would go through while reassuring his younger self that it would all be worth it when he finally made it as a major leaguer. Alonso describes in vivid detail the hardships he went through, caring for his sister, Yainee, at night as they dined on meals of microwaved hot dogs and microwaved eggs, while his parents were away from home working multiple jobs to support their family.

Alonso goes on to describe how he would return from college baseball road trips, while he was attending the University of Miami, and immediately head to a night job to help his father clean warehouses and scrub bathrooms.

The story struck a chord within the A’s clubhouse but also among so many people from the Miami area, where Alonso’s family settled after they defected. Alonso said he’s received text messages from many of them.

“I think everybody in this locker room, or any locker room, they definitely have a story to tell,” Alonso said. “And I think it’s awesome when you see a guy just kind of open up a little bit. I’m (usually) not one to open up.”

Athletes are used to reporters peppering them with questions and trying to draw stories out of them. Seldom do athletes take to penning their own story.

Representatives from The Players’ Tribune, an online publication started by Derek Jeter in 2014, reached out to Alonso in early December about writing something. Alonso had a trip planned to Cuba for later that month, before any request for an article came, and his return visit to his native country helped persuade him to go through with it.

“I saw a lot of people,” he said. “For me it was very touching. For my wife as well.”

Alonso met with an editor from The Players’ Tribune during spring training, and they began hashing out ideas. Alonso said he wrote the story himself with assistance from the editor.

“We had ideas, different ways of going about it,” he said. “I think from day one I knew the way I wanted to write it and how I wanted it to come out, which is a letter to my younger self.”

Even after finishing the project three weeks ago, Alonso said he wasn’t sure he wanted to share it publicly. He showed the article to some friends and teammates, including A’s reliever Sean Doolittle and outfielder Matt Joyce. After reading the piece, Joyce strongly persuaded Alonso to carry through with it.

“I told him it was awesome,” Joyce said. “From my perspective, you don’t really get a good sense of what those guys go through, coming over to the States. You just see them later. So to kind of read it in his own words, it was a really cool perspective and a good story to see what a kid across the water, from a different country, goes through to get to this point. I think it’s a very powerful story and message.”

Alonso said his motivation was simple.

“Just letting my family know, and people in this world know, that if you want to strive for something, it can be tough at times. But there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Giants lineup: Belt in left field, Kelby at second base

Giants lineup: Belt in left field, Kelby at second base

Programming note: Dodgers-Giants coverage starts today at 11:30am with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Dave Roberts and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for today's series finale at AT&T Park:

Dodgers (10-12)
1. Enrique Hernandez (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
5. Chris Taylor (R) 2B
6. Austin Barnes (R) C
7. Scott Van Slyke (R) 1B
8. Cody Bellinger (L) LF
9. Julio Urias (L) P

Giants (8-14) 
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Brandon Belt (L) LF
3. Eduardo Nunez (R) SS
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
6. Nick Hundley (R) C
7. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Matt Moore (L) P (1-3, 5.87 ERA)