Home run barrage lifts Giants past Padres 8-3

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Home run barrage lifts Giants past Padres 8-3

Sept. 12, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Giants outfielder Cody Ross wants his teammates to openly talk about making the playoffs, even if the defending World Series champions still have a lot of ground to make up.At least now San Francisco has an offense to back up Ross' confidence.Ross, Carlos Beltran and Pablo Sandoval homered in a rare show of power at AT&T Park, and the Giants beat the San Diego Padres 8-3 on Monday night.They still trail NL West-leading Arizona by 8 12 games but the outlook is a lot more encouraging than it was a few days ago.That's why Ross wants San Francisco thinking big."Why not?" said Ross, who also singled, doubled and scored three times. "We're not going to give in. We're the defending champs and we've got something to prove. We're going to play through and see what happens."Until recently, the Giants were only proving to be a big disappointment - at least offensively.But one day after scoring eight runs in a win over the Dodgers - the most runs by San Francisco in more than a month - the Giants matched it against the Padres.It's the first time the Giants, the majors' lowest-scoring team since the All-Star break, have done that in back-to-back games since the first two games of the 2010 World Series."It's good to see the guys loosen up and swing the bats like we're capable of," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're trying to finish up strong. We're hanging by a thread, but it's not over."The setting was a lot different than a year ago at this time when these teams battled for the division title in a race that went down to the final day of the regular season.The Giants still harbor slim postseason hopes this year while the Padres are just finishing out the string.Aaron Harang (13-6), who was 4-0 in six previous starts against the Giants, took the loss after allowing all three home runs. The burly right-hander remains three wins shy of his career high."I felt like I couldn't get comfortable out there the first few innings," Harang said. "Sometimes when you are hitting your spots in the bullpen it's not necessarily a good thing when you get (in the game). I just couldn't get into a good rhythm and it felt like I was off mechanically."Eric Surkamp (2-0) pitched 5 2-3 innings for his second major league victory - both coming against San Diego. The left-hander, who beat the Padres on Sept. 6, allowed seven hits and walked one.That might be enough to keep the 24-year-old in the Giants' rotation. Barry Zito, who has two years remaining on the 126 million deal he signed before the 2007 season, came off the disabled list Sunday but will most likely work out of the bullpen unless one of the other starters gets hurt.Most of San Francisco's offense came from the big three of Beltran, Ross and Sandoval.Beltran went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs, Ross added a pair of RBIs and Sandoval capped the night with a towering, three-run homer in the seventh.It's the first time the Giants have hit three home runs in a game at their waterfront ballpark since Sept. 30, 2010."It's nice to get back-to-back games like this from the offense," Ross said. "It's been a lot looser in here the last five or six days. Everyone's not so uptight and tense and trying to hard. Maybe that is the key."Beltran provided some early offense when he snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a two-run shot off Harang in the first. The ball easily cleared the wall in right field, bounced on the cement landing and fell into McCovey Cove.It was Beltran's 18th home run of the season and third since being traded from the Mets to San Francisco on July 28.Ross homered leading off the third, then added an RBI single in the seventh. Sandoval put the game out of reach with his three-run drive off reliever Andrew Carpenter.Harang left after the fifth. He allowed six hits and struck out four.San Diego, which fell to 1-4 on its seven-game road trip, scored a run in the fourth with the help of Surkamp's throwing error, then added two more in the sixth on four consecutive two-out singles to chase the San Francisco rookie.Kyle Banks knocked in one run and Orlando Hudson singled in Chris Denorfia to cut the lead to 4-3.San Diego put two runners on in the eighth but failed to score.Sergio Romo, the fifth San Francisco pitcher, got Hudson to hit into an inning-ending double play, then retired the side in the ninth.NOTES: Giants closer Brian Wilson threw 19 pitches while facing hitters for the first time since going on the disabled list three weeks ago. Wilson will rest the next two days before the team decides what his next step will be. ... C Buster Posey (ankle) played catch before the game and will head to Arizona to start his next phase of rehab. ... OF Will Venable also played catch during batting practice to test his shoulder and could return to San Diego's lineup Tuesday. ... Padres manager Bud Black hinted that prized prospect Anthony Rizzo could get into the starting lineup in the next few days. ... Black said an ineffective slider is to blame for reliever Luke Gregerson's dip in strikeouts this year. Gregerson set a major league record for holds in 2010 and averaged 10.2 strikeouts over nine innings but that number has dipped to 5.6 this year. ... RHP Matt Cain, who lost to San Diego in his last outing despite giving up two runs in seven innings, pitches for San Francisco on Tuesday. Cain (11-10) has won only twice in his previous eight starts. ... LHP Cory Luebke (5-9), who has dropped his last three starts, goes for the Padres.

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after yet another missed opportunity at the plate Sunday, a voice came over a speaker in the press box at AT&T Park and announced a 524th consecutive sellout. It nicely summed up this current stretch of Giants baseball. 

The seats are emptier than they used to be at first pitch, and they were just about abandoned in the ninth inning of an 8-2 loss, but for the most part the fans are still showing up in droves. One woman brought a toaster by the dugout Sunday morning and asked players and coaches to sign it, hoping to recapture the magic from across the bridge. Another, Bryan Stow, made his first appearance of the season at AT&T Park, met with Bruce Bochy, and said he hoped to see a win. As Matt Moore started warming up, a band set up on top of the visiting dugout to play hits that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. 

For a while, AT&T Park was rocking. And then, as has happened so often this summer, the game started. 

The Giants turned in another epic clunker in a season full of them. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 26, but it’s worse than the raw numbers. On most nights, some in the organization have noted privately, they are simply boring. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to do it in this way. 

“There’s no getting around it,” Bochy said after the sweep. “I’ve been through some tough stretches here and this is as tough as any stretch I’ve seen. For some reason the baseball gods are really testing us here and (testing) this group. It’s not that they’re not coming out ready or trying, but enough is enough.

“At some point, we’ve got to find a way to get this thing turned around.”

Even a slight pivot would be welcomed by the faithful. There were scattered boos Sunday, the latest in a growing trend. This is a fan base that has seen the highest highs, but rarely in franchise history have the lows been this low. 

The crowd no longer turns to the rally lights that were used so often in an awful April, but the noise still grows with each new rally. And then, every single time Sunday, the Giants killed off any hope. 

In the second inning, a Brandon Belt bunt single and Brandon Crawford bloop put two on, but a pair of rookies flied out. 

In the third, the bases were loaded ahead of Buster Posey. He flied out to bring one run across, and there were still runners on the corners for Belt, who leads the team in homers. On a 2-2 count, Hunter Pence inexplicably took off for second. He was caught, the inning was over, and the two-run Mets lead was intact. Bochy said he did not send Pence. 

In the sixth, there were two on with no outs for Posey. Both runners bolted to stay out of a double play. Posey popped up to first -- for a double play.

“He’s not a guy that strikes out, so I’m pretty confident sending runners with Buster,” Bochy said. “We can’t keep laying back. We’re trying to force the issue a bit and stay out of double plays.”

In the eighth, the Giants loaded the bases for Posey and Belt. Posey grounded out. Belt struck out for the third time. 

“We’re getting guys out there,” Bochy said. “We’re not doing enough damage.”

Matt Moore’s damage was self-inflicted. He twice gave up homers to the guy — Rene Rivera — hitting in front of the pitcher. Moore said he has stopped throwing his cutter the past three starts and tried to get his four-seamer going, but the Mets were teeing off. Moore gave up five runs on seven hits. He was pulled in the fifth, left to think about mechanics that still aren’t right. 

“The cutter is a little bit different of a pitch and at times it can take away from the four-seam fastball location-wise, and command of the four-seam was starting to go down the more I threw (the cutter),” Moore said. “I’m anxious to get back to it, but the foundation has got to be throwing the four-seam fastball. I need to execute where they’re carrying through the zone, not running or cutting.”

Moore said his confidence is fine and his problems are not physical. Others can no longer say that. Austin Slater, a rare bright spot in this five-win month, was pulled with a tight hip flexor. He was headed for an MRI. 

Slater is too young to be one of the players Bochy approached after the game. He said he talked to a few, though, passing along that “enough is enough” message. Moore, last in the National League in ERA (6.04), was not one who needed a reminder. 

“I’m sitting on a six right now with not a lot of wins and not enough team wins when I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s been 'enough' for me for the last couple of months.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants get swept by Mets at home

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants get swept by Mets at home

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The Mets spent the first half of this week in Los Angeles, where they got swept by the Dodgers and outscored 36-11. Their beat writers publicly wrote an end to any thoughts of the postseason. The fan base renewed the calls for manager Terry Collins to be fired. 

That’s where they were. And then they flew to San Francisco. 

AT&T Park continues to be a place where others get healthy, and this weekend it was the Mets. The Giants lost 8-2 on Sunday, getting swept by a similarly disappointing team. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games. 

There’s not much more to be said about it, but I did anyway. Here are five things to know from the day a relief pitcher got an at-bat but it would have been far too cruel to text your friends … 

—- Matt Moore’s line: 4 1/3 innings, seven hits, five earned runs, three walks, five strikeouts. Through 16 starts, he has a 6.04 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. He ranks last among qualified NL starters in ERA. Only Matt Cain (1.73) has a worse WHIP. Good times. 

—- Mets righty Rafael Montero entered with an 0-4 record and 6.49 ERA. He gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings. Good times. 

—- With runners on the corners and two outs in the third inning, Brandon Belt strolled to the plate. He leads the team in homers. Hunter Pence tried to steal second for some reason and he was caught, ending the inning and keeping Belt from batting in a two-run game. Good times. 

—- With two on and no outs in the sixth, the Giants sent the runners to make sure Buster Posey didn’t hit into a double play. Posey popped up softly to first and Joe Panik was doubled off of second. Good times. 

—- One last bit of bad news: Austin Slater was removed from the game with a tight right hip flexor.