Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants claim 3-0 World Series lead

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants claim 3-0 World Series lead

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DETROIT Some things perturb Ryan Vogelsong. Cold weather is not among them.In fact, Vogelsong, who lives in rural Pennsylvania, was downright ticked when it only snowed once this past winter. He is the rare soul who finds therapy in shoveling out his driveway.So Vogelsong took the mound wearing short sleeves in 47-degree weather Saturday night, and he cleared the widest lane imaginable. He held down a thoroughly frustrated Detroit Tigers lineup for 5 23 scoreless innings, Tim Lincecum followed with more toxic stuff out of the bullpen, and after a 2-0 victory at Comerica Park, the Giants have a three-to-none lead and an open path to another World Series title.Gregor Blanco, a non-roster invitee this spring, knocked in the first run with a triple in the second inning. And the Giants pitching staff, as its done all postseason, refused to part with the lead as Bruce Bochys club threatens to complete a four-game sweep.Vogelsong survived a head-in-the-lions-jaws confrontation with Miguel Cabrera that will linger in memory, facing the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years with the bases loaded and jamming him with a gutsy, inside fastball to leave them full in the fifth inning.The Giants havent trailed in 54 consecutive innings -- a streak that began with Game 5 of the NLCS. Theyve led at the conclusion of 44 of those innings.Giants starting pitchers have allowed one earned run in 18 13 innings in the World Series, continuing the momentum from their incredible run to storm back and beat the Cardinals in the NLCS. Incredibly, Giants starters are 6-0 with a 0.47 ERA over their last six games.And the Giants pitching staff has held the Tigers scoreless in 25 of 27 innings to take total control of this series.Starting pitching reportVogelsong continues to pitch with a chip on his shoulder while earning stripes on his chest. He became the fifth pitcher in major league history to make four starts in a single postseason and allow one run or fewer in all of them, joining Arizonas Curt Schilling (2001), Atlantas John Smoltz (1996), the Dodgers' Burt Hooton (1981) and the As John Blue Moon Odom (1972).Vogelsong is 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA over 24 23 innings this postseason but he worked up a cold sweat against the Tigers, who put him in the stretch in every inning save the second.Taking enough time in between pitches to knit some mittens, Vogelsong found his changeup early and used it in a couple of huge spots. After two of the first three batters reached to start the game, Vogelsong threw a changeup to induce a double-play grounder from Prince Fielder.The Tigers laced a pair of one-out singles in the third, but Quintin Berry swung at the first pitch and grounded into another double play to end that threat. It was the 11th double-play grounder for the Tigers in this postseason.Then came the fifth inning. Alex Avila lined a single, Omar Infante blooped another to make him 9-for-13 in his career against Vogelsong, and Austin Jackson walked on a 3-2 pitch as the Tigers loaded the bases with one out.But after Berry fouled off a fastball up and away, Vogelsong went back to the same pitch and got a swing-through for the second out.Then up stepped Cabrera, who accepted the Triple Crown trophy in a pregame ceremony (yes, it really was a crown) after he led the AL with a .330 average, 44 home runs and 137 RBIs.He hit a monstrous .420 with two outs and runners in scoring position, too.But Vogelsong went hard in on the first pitch, which Cabrera flared six feet foul down the right field line. Vogelsong came back inside again and Cabrera popped up to shortstop as the sellout crowd groaned its displeasure.With that at-bat, the Tigers fell to 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in three World Series games.Vogelsong stepped around Fielder one more time while getting a fly out to right field in the sixth, but his pitch count stood at 104 after a two-out walk to Andy Dirks.He did not look pleased when he handed over the baseball. And it wasnt because he was cold.Bullpen reportTim Lincecum continued to morph into the second coming of John Smoltz.He retired Jhonny Peralta on a fly out to end the sixth and strand Vogelsongs runners, then he threw straight filth over the next two innings. Lincecums changeup was his money pitch, as he used it to rack up all three of his strikeouts -- including Fielder in the eighth.In five relief appearances this postseason, Lincecum has thrown 13 innings and allowed just three hits and one run while walking three and striking out 17.Romo retired all three batters he faced in the ninth, striking out Infante to record his second World Series save.At the plateThere was a suggestion that Bochy shouldve batted Gregor Blanco ninth, essentially giving him another leadoff hitter in front of Angel Pagan once the lineup turned over.I like Blanco right where he is, Bochy said in a pregame chat. I like the way hes swinging.He likes it even more now. Blanco ignited the Giants following Hunter Pences leadoff walk in the second inning. The little left fielder fouled off a cutter and a changeup and Anibal Sanchezs slider was no more effective for him. Blanco improved to 5-for-8 lifetime against Sanchez, putting a charge into the 3-2 pitch and hitting a triple to the deepest reaches of right-center field.Blanco became the first Giant in franchise history with two triples in a single World Series. And Brandon Crawford found a way to get him home, blooping a two-out single that fell in front of center fielder Austin Jackson.Sanchez stood at 47 pitches after two innings but he began to throw more quality strikes and get the feel for his breaking stuff. He retired 11 of 12 batters after Crawfords RBI single.The Tigers kept Pablo Sandoval in the ballpark, but the Panda did manage a single in the first inning and a double in the eighth. He has 23 hits in these playoffs, breaking J.T. Snows record for the most by a Giant in a single postseason. (The major league record is 25, held by Marquis Grissom, Darin Erstad and David Freese.)In fieldBlanco made another outstanding play in left field. This one put him in World Series company with Sandy Amoros, Al Gionfriddo and Cookie Lavagetto in baseball lore.It was almost a carbon copy of Amoros catch on Yogi Berra in the 1955 World Series, as Blanco raced into the left field corner and caught Jhonny Peraltas foul fly a step in front of the wall to help Romo record the first out in the ninth inning.The Giants played steady defense all night long. Crawford made a nice stop and quick transfer to start the double play against Berry, who gets down the line better than most.But the shortstop made an error in the eighth when he bobbled Delmon Youngs grounder, then failed to take his time and get a good grip on the ball. He had plenty of time to get the plodding Young, but his throw knuckled short and first baseman Brandon Belt couldnt pick it.AttendanceThe Tigers announced 42,262 paid, and it was a peaceable assembly. That wasnt the case in 1984, after the Tigers swept the San Diego Padres. Bochy recalled thinking wed have to fight for our lives as police in riot gear held back the unruly crowd.Up nextThe Giants and Tigers meet in Game 4 of the World Series Sunday night at Comerica Park. Right-hander Matt Cain (2-2, 3.52 in four postseason starts) takes the mound against right-hander Max Scherzer (1-0, 0.82 in two postseason starts), who has struck out 18 in 11 playoff innings. First pitch is scheduled for 5:07 p.m. PDT.

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Madison Bumgarner aims to get all 27 outs every time he takes the mound, but on Tuesday the coaching staff gave the ace a nice view of the man who will help out if his nights are cut short. 

Bumgarner threw his first live batting practice session of the spring on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium. Mark Melancon, the new closer, followed him. Both players said they felt good. Both also found things to work on in advance of opening day. 

“Strength-wise I felt pretty good, really good, actually,” Bumgarner said. “My command up in the zone was right where I want it. I’m pretty happy with that. My cutter was pretty straight, but that usually comes around pretty quick.”

Melancon didn’t even throw his go-to cutter, saying he usually pockets it until later in camp. He’s getting the feel for his curveball back because he doesn’t throw it until he reports. Like Bumgarner, Melancon said he’s where he needs to be physically.

“I feel really good,” he said. “In years past there has been some slowness but I don’t feel that this year. I’m right where I want to be.”

The Giants have not finalized a Cactus League rotation, but Bumgarner will likely throw an inning in Friday’s opener. Melancon could follow him, as he’ll throw in the early innings until late March. He said he’ll talk to pitching coach Dave Righetti about closing a game or two over the final days of camp so he can start locking his routine down. It’s probably a lock that he’ll close out that first Bay Bridge Series game back at AT&T Park. 

ICYMI: Here’s actual (shaky) footage of Bumgarner throwing today. At one point, he gave Denard Span a hard time for missing a slider that he was told was coming. Span had a good reason. “I didn't understand him when he said it because of his accent,” he said. 

ICYMI, PART II: The latest podcast is a couple of interviews with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Law explained how he ordered 800 chicken nuggets for his wedding. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants now expect Johnny Cueto to join camp this weekend. His status for the WBC is up in the air. Speaking of the WBC, trainer Dave Groeschner will be leaving camp on Feb. 27 to work with manager Hensley Meulens and the Netherlands. Bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu is also working with the team, which opens play in Seoul. Anthony Reyes will be head trainer while Groeschner is gone.

PROSPECT WATCH: Bruce Bochy said right-hander Ray Black was a standout during early live BP sessions. “He had a hell of an outing yesterday,” Bochy said. “They said he was really good.”   Black, 26, still throws 100-plus. He still has command issues, though, with 32 walks in 31 1/3 innings last year. If he can get over that hump and stay healthy, he might rocket to the big leagues.

QUOTABLE: After just about every start last season — most of which were dominant — Bumgarner said he wasn’t happy with his mechanics. He said Tuesday that he’s still searching for the perfect feeling. “I was being a perfectionist,” he said. “If you’re being a perfectionist, I really haven’t had (my mechanics) where I wanted the last couple of years. It’s not like it’s too far off, obviously.”

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants have been watching high-quality clips of Johnny Cueto all spring, even though the co-ace has remained in the Dominican Republic. On Monday, manager Bruce Bochy finally managed to get face-to-face with Cueto. Kind of. 

Cueto spoke to Bochy, trainer Dave Groeschner and others via FaceTime, and all involved finally managed to hammer out a schedule for Cueto’s arrival. Cueto has been in the Dominican Republic tending to his ill father, Domingo, but he is expected to arrive in Scottsdale this weekend. Cueto is working to secure a visa for his father, who will travel with him.

Bochy wanted to have a long discussion with Cueto to get a sense of how ready he’ll be for the World Baseball Classic. Cueto’s participation is still up in the air, and not just because he has missed the first week of camp. There is a chance, Bochy said, that Cueto will choose to stay in Scottsdale to continue taking care of his father. The Dominican Republic opens play in Miami on March 9.

“He said he knows he’s got to make a decision real soon regarding what he does,” Bochy said. “Pitching or not pitching, he’s got to let them know as soon as possible.”

Cueto has been throwing to hitters at a facility in Boca Chica. He threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday.