Rodriguez fires 3-hitter as Giants blank Snakes 7-0

Photo credit: @KNBR

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Thursday, August 15, 2019

PHOENIX — In its quest for a National League Wild Card berth, San Francisco needed a strong start from Dereck Rodriguez, and got one on Thursday night at Chase Field.

The Giants’ offense — Evan Longoria and Austin Slater in particular — gave Rodriguez plenty of support in a 7-0 win over Arizona.

“I felt good, and I just wanted to attack,” Rodriguez said. “I know we’re close to them in the Wild Card and we’ve got a playoff atmosphere here. It was a lot of fun.”

Rodriguez (5-6), called up Thursday from Triple-A Sacramento, struck out four, walked one and scattered three hits in his 11th start of the season. He retired the first 11 Arizona batters until Eduardo Escobar singled to right with two out in the fourth inning.

“He was throwing strikes. We’ve seen him do that before,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Rodriguez, who came into the game with a 5.14 earned run average. “That’s what it was — quality strikes all night. He had all four pitches going and good command of them. He worked both sides of the plate very efficiently too. A great job of pitching.

“He had a very determined look on his face. It’s been an up-and-down year for him. Tonight, he showed what he can do, and we needed it. That was a real shot in the arm for us.”

Rodriguez said he addressed some mechanical issues during his stint with the River Cats.

“I was just trying to get back to what I know I can do — throw strikes,” Rodriguez said. “I notice that when I throw strikes, I’m a different pitcher. It’s just attacking the hitters and the rest takes care of itself. Today, I had a lot of first-pitch swings and a lot of quick outs.”

Longoria was 3-for-5 with a home run and four runs batted in. Slater was 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, Buster Posey was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, and leadoff hitter Donovan Solano singled, doubled and scored twice.

“Evan’s been swinging good. Not just tonight, he’s been getting some good at-bats,” Bochy said. “It looks like he’s got his timing and he’s in synch now.”

The four-game weekend set involves two teams in the thick of the National League Wild Card race. Arizona and the Giants are both 3 ½ games in back of Washington and the Chicago Cubs. Both the D-Backs and Giants must pass Philadelphia, Milwaukee and the New York Mets to catch the Nats or Cubs.

San Francisco has won five of its last seven games, while the Diamondbacks have won seven of their last 12 contests.

San Francisco manufactured a pair of runs in the top of the first inning off D-Backs starter Alex Young. The Giants loaded the bases with a leadoff base hit by Solano, followed by a walk to Slater and an infield hit by Posey.

Posey’s slow roller hit the third base bag, after Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb waited for the ball to possibly roll foul. Longoria singled to left, driving in Solano and Slater.

Kevin Pillar grounded into a force out, moving Posey to third, but he was picked off during Scooter Gennett’s at-bat.

“That (first inning) gave me a lot of confidence,” Rodriguez said. “It gives you a lot of room for error. I felt good, even without those two runs. I’m with it.”

Back-to-back one-out doubles by Slater and Posey put the Giants up 3-0 in the fifth. Longoria followed with his 15th home run of the season, scoring Posey.

Belt’s RBI double, drove in Joey Rickard (who walked) to score the sixth Giants run in the sixth. In the eighth, Solano doubled and scored on Slater’s base hit, putting the Giants up 7-0.

Fernando Abad, whose contract was selected Thursday from Sacramento, threw a scoreless ninth inning for the Giants. It was his first MLB appearance since 2017 with Boston.

San Francisco has yet to name a starting pitcher for Friday. Arizona will go with right-hander Merrill Kelly (8-12, 4.75 ERA).

GIANT JOTTINGS: Following Thursday’s game, along with recalling Rodriguez, the Giants optioned LHP Williams Jerez and C Aramis Garcia to Triple-A Sacramento. To make room for LHP Fernando Abad on the 40-man roster, San Francisco designated RHP Kyle Barraclough for assignment. … Game time temperatures: outside – 107 degrees, inside – 77. … Attendance: 19,037.

TAGS: San Francisco Giants, Dereck Rodriguez, Evan Longoria, Austin Slater, Arizona Diamondbacks, NL Wild Card

Rough outing for Pomeranz in 9-6 loss to O’s

photo from San Francisco Giants pitcher Drew Pomeranz delivers a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Friday May 31st’s contest to open a three-game series.

By Jeremy Kahn

BALTIMORE — Things got off to a great start for the San Francisco Giants, but they all disappeared before a blink of an eye.

After scoring five runs in the top of the frame, Drew Pomeranz gave it all away in the bottom half and the Baltimore Orioles ended up defeating the Giants 9-6 before a crowd of 17,545 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Thats baseball, it humbles you pretty quick, said Mike Yastrzemski.

Dwight Smith, Jr., hit a grand slam to complete the first inning comeback and Trey Mancini added a two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning to add on to the damage that was suffered in the first inning.

Things got rough for Orioles starter Andrew Cashner in the top of the first inning, as he walked leadoff batter Joe Panik, then Yastrzemski began the hit parade, as he tripled down the right field line to score Panik.

Buster Posey then singled in Yastrzemski, and moved to third on a Pablo Sandoval single and then scored the third run of the inning on a Brandon Crawford sacrifice fly.

After Kevin Pillar, singled that loaded the bases, Steven Duggar got in on the act, as he singled to left field to score Sandoval and Evan Longoria.

All of that disappeared in the bottom of the first inning, as Pomeranz was unable to hold on to the lead.

Jonathan Villar got the rally started for the Orioles, as he walked, then Mancini singled and then the Orioles got on the board, when Renato Nunez singled to score Villar and on the errant Crawford throw, Mancini went to third.

It was a great play by Crawford, who dove into the hole to stop the ball from going into left field; however, his throw to Panik went behind him and Villar scored easily from third.

Mancini then scored on a single by Pedro Severino, and after Keon Broxton walked to load the bases, Smith, Jr., hit his first career grand slam to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead.

In all, that first inning took 40 minutes and saw 90 pitches thrown.

I cant think of one, said Bruce Bochy.

Yastrzemski tied up the game in the top of the second inning, as he powered his first major league home run into the right-center field seats. “Deep down, I always wanted to come here and hit one. Always. Now its a reality, and thats pretty special, said Yastrzemski.

Nice to get one, Yastrzemski added, who hit a Cashner fastball and met the gentleman after the game who caught the ball.

The man identified as Tim Smith received a signed bat from Yastrzemski and took a picture together.

Yastrzemski ended the night going 2-for-3 with a walk, as he continues to make a great impression in his first week in the majors.
Great nice by the kid, said Bochy.

Unfortunately, Pomeranz was unable to hold on to the tie, as Villar singled with one out and then Mancini smashed his 11th home run of the season and the Orioles reclaimed the lead.

That would be the end of the night for Pomeranz, who went 1.1 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out two, as he saw his record fall to 1-5 on the season.

This was the shortest outing of Pomeranz’ career and continues a stretch where he was unable to go past five innings, as the streak now stands at five consecutive starts. It was the first career loss for Pomeranz when he received five-or-more runs, as he is now 19-1 when he receives that many runs.

I do not want to make excuses, said Pomeranz.

As for Cashner, who got roughed up in that first inning, he ended up with the victory, as he went the necessary five innings, allowing six runs on eight hits, walking five and did not require a strikeout and saw his record improve to 6-2 on the season.

Dereck Rodriguez went 4.2 innings, allowing just two hits, walking two, striking out two and hitting a batter.

He used all four pitches, said Bochy.

Since returning to the majors, Rodriguez has pitched twice out of the bullpen and it was the fourth of his career.

I came out of the bullpen in winter ball, said Rodriguez, who was a starter for most of last season.

Sam Dyson came on to replace Rodriguez, and was greeted ratherly rudely, as Nunez slammed a 444 foot home run into the left field seats.

NOTES: Brandon Belt extended his hitting streak up to six games, and has a six-game hitting streak versus the Orioles and is (9-for-29) with two doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs during the streak.

On the flipside of the Belt streak, Posey snapped a 0-for-17 streak against the Orioles and was 1-for-21 prior to getting two hits in four at-bats. Overall, he is now 3-for-25 lifetime against the Orioles, the lowest versus any opponent.

As a starting rotation, this will be a month that the Giants will want to forget and definitely put behind them. They ended the month with a 7.32 earned run average (96 earned runs in 118 innings pitched). That is the highest earned run average by a Giants starting staff since they moved to San Francisco in 1958. The previous high was a 6.56 earned run average in September of 2006.

Smith Jr.s grand slam was the second of the season by an Orioles player, with the first coming on May 6 off the bat of Villar and the Orioles defeated the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox 4-1.

This weekend marks the Giants first appearance since the 2004 season, when they won two out of three.

The starting rotation consisted of Dustin Hermanson, Noah Lowry and Jerome Williams. Barry Bonds went 5-for-11 with two home runs, five runs batted in and was walked six times. In the second game of a doubleheader on June 12, 2004, Bonds was walked five times (four of those intentionally).

UP NEXT: Shaun Anderson looks to get the Giants back into the win column on Saturday afternoon, as he will make his first ever start on the road. David Hess will take the mound on Saturday, as he looks to improve on his 1-6 record.

NL East-leading Braves as good as advertised in 4-1 win over the Giants

Photo credit: @Braves

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Well, the Giants are still on the same downward trajectory, but that doesn’t affect how standout rookie Dereck Rodriguez goes about his business.

Nine, consecutive losses has the Giants crawling to the finish line of the 2018 season, but Rodriguez ramped it up on Monday, pitching into the seventh inning only to see Gorkys Hernandez’s throwing error allow the Braves to break a 1-1 tie on their way to a 4-1 victory.

“That kid pitched a great game like he’s done so many times this year,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “A shame we couldn’t get any runs for him.”

When it comes to breakout performers, the Braves have a lot of teams outnumbered. Countering Rodriguez’ remarkable consistency on Monday was Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna and starting pitcher Sean Newcomb.

While Acuna suffered a rare, quiet evening, Albies doubled and tripled, and Newcombe shut the Giants down for six innings allowing just three hits. Albies big leagued Hernandez in the seventh as well, tricking the veteran outfielder into a throw behind him at first while the rookie took second base. Hernandez’ throw got loose as well allowing the rookie to move to third.

The result was a tough luck loss for Rodriguez due to being the pitcher of record when the Braves scored their unearned, second run.

The Giants and Braves will play in their game two on Tuesday night at 7:15 pm PDT.

Duggar news, Godley’s baffling pitches put Giants’ offense in a tough spot in 3-1 loss to the Diamondbacks

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — The news regarding Steven Duggar’s shoulder injury didn’t help the Giants’ offense on Wednesday, and Zack Godley’s curveballs made things even more unbearable.

And, of course, the first-place Diamondbacks were in no mood to be swept in San Francisco.

The result was a much-needed win for Arizona, ahead of their big weekend with the Dodgers, and a damaging loss 3-1 for the Giants, who needed to find a way to sweep to maintain a presence in the NL West race. The D-Backs’ win puts them a half-game ahead of Colorado, a full game ahead of the Dodgers with the Giants under .500 and seven games back.

“You close out a series the way we did after losing the first two,” Arizona manager Torrie Lovullo said. “You get on a flight, you turn the page and you start to get that good feeling about where we’re going and what we have to do. L.A. is going to present a big challenge.”

All of the excitement derived from the win, easily translated to the upcoming series against the Dodgers for Arizona. For the Giants, the numbing news regarding Duggar was far less negotiable, and took its toll on Bruce Bochy’s lineup first off as the rookie centerfielder had taken residence at the top of the order in recent days and showed that he belonged. In his absence, Andrew McCutchen batted leadoff with Panik second, and that combo–with two knocks–provided almost all of the team’s output. The pair got no help, as McCutchen delivered the team’s only run scoring hit off reliever Archie Bradley after Godley departed.

With a pair of runners aboard, Panik then struck out to end the eighth, and the three final Giants hitters would strike out in the ninth.

Dereck Rodriguez was off his game Wednesday, allowing five hits, four walks and three runs. Steven Souza took a rare turn as leadoff man in Lovullo’s lineup and produced, with a double, home run and two runs batted in.

“I did everything that I could on my part, but if somebody goes down, it’s always that,” Rodriguez said referencing Duggar’s likely season-ending injury. “He’ll be stronger when he gets back.”

The Giants have Thursday off, then spend the weekend hosting the Mets with former Giant Zack Wheeler scheduled to face Andrew Suarez on Friday night at 7:15 pm PDT.

One Bad Pitch: Giants come within one out of big win over World Champion Astros only to lose heartbreaker 3-1

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Big league baseball comes with the caveat that there can be some major league disappointments. The Giants, closer Will Smith and rookie starter Dereck Rodriguez suffered through an especially tough outcome on Monday night.

With the Giants and Rodriguez one out away from a wholely satisfying 1-0 victory, Smith surrendered a three-run home run to Houston’s Marwin Gonzalez that sent the Giants to a 3-1 loss. The Giants fell back to .500 (57-57) for the 21st time, and failed to close the gap between themselves and the division-leading Diamondbacks and Dodgers.

Rodriguez put the Giants in an advantageous spot, pitching seven innings of shutout baseball without the benefit of his best stuff. Backed by Brandon Crawford’s two-strike, two-out home run in the sixth, and Reyes Moronta’s perfect eighth inning, the Giants were in line for a fourth, 1-0 win of the season.

Rodriguez, the minor league free agent who signed with the Giants in November only to propel himself to be MLB’s top rookie starting pitcher this season, kept the Astros scoreless by relying heavily on his cutter and two-seam fastball in the absence of his good blazer, he said. Rodriguez threw seven innings, his second, consecutive start of that length, allowing three hits, no runs while striking out seven.

“When I’m out there it’s just me, Buster (Posey) and the hitter, whoever’s hitting, so I think that’s what’s helped me get to the point where I’m at, my concentration when I’m in the game,” he said.

But while Rodriguez cruised, the Giants’ hitters had their hands full with Charlie Morton, a pitcher with a decade of experience facing San Francisco hitters, and a trio of dominating performances, including two at AT&T Park.

Morton went seven innings, struck out eight, and was only dented by an off-speed pitch to Crawford that was off the plate, but waist high.

Morton controlled the rest of the Giants’ lineup, allowing harmless base hits to Evan Longoria and Joe Panik.

Smith fell into trouble prior to allowing the home run to Gonzalez, walking Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel. There’s no security blanket for closers, and Smith probably needed one when facing Gonzalez.

“I felt fine,” Smith said. “Just lost control of the fastball tonight.”

Houston overcame the absence of sluggers Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer, and Brian McCann in the win. They welcomed Roberto Osuna, the flamethrower acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays despite his pending charges regarding domestic violence. Osuna pitched a perfect, eighth inning.

The Astros and Giants conclude their brief series Tuesday afternoon with Dallas Kuechel facing Madison Bumgarner at 12:45pm.