Davis Goes Deep, Extras Go Away: Giants get it done in nine this time, beat Rockies 2-1

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants haven’t been winners at home. The Rockies have struggled on the road. And rookie Jaylin Davis hasn’t exactly tore it up since he received his well-deserved major league promotion.

Something had to give.

It turned out that something was the centerfield fence where Davis’ shot flew past on its way to deciding Wednesday’s Rockies-Giants game for the home team, 2-1. The Giants got an important 34th win at home, making it much less likely that they will finish the season with the worst home mark in franchise history.

And Davis became the third major leaguer this season to homer for the first time in a career in a walk-off situation. To say Davis was warmly greeted by his teammates at home plate would be an overstatement. The greeting too heavily leaned on ice cold Gatorade for that. But it was warm in the sense that no one wanted to go extra innings after Tuesday’s 16-inning marathon. Davis took care of that with one swing.

“It couldn’t come at a better time his first home run,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Davis. “I’m sure the team was gassed after last night, and here we’re looking at extra innings and going through the pitching again. So great timing.”

The Giants and Rockies have spent the last two nights reminding themselves and the fans of their struggles one last time before the season concludes. On Tuesday, they played 16 innings with just one hit with runners in scoring position between the two clubs. Wednesday wasn’t much better as the two clubs went 1 for 19 with runners in scoring position.

Both starting pitchers impressed, but both would admit they’ve done things in a smoother fashion. Colorado starter Tim Melville allowed four hits and a walk, but he couldn’t locate the strike zone, elevating his pitch count with 29 balls among his 75 pitches.

Jeff Samardzija had a bounce back season, but Wednesday he had issues locating the strike zone as well. And after six innings and 111 pitches, the veteran right-hander was lifted, one inning prior to the Rockies wiping out Samardzija’s razor thin, 1-0 lead.

Two errors on the same play–Brandon Crawford’s throwing error, then Brandon Belt’s inability to corral the ball–allowed Josh Fuentes to race home from third base, tying the game in the seventh. That play also prevented Samardzija from going for a career-best tying 12th win.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: It’s a real Boston Marathon, Giants edge Sox in 15 innings; Yaz scores twice, gets two hits

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

On the San Francisco Giants podcast with Miguel:

#1 There was no giving up in this one and the Giants and Red Sox were not going to cry uncle anytime soon as this marathon went 15 innings that went to the Giants 7-6.

#2 Someone cried out “someone score!” as this one went until 2 AM EDT. Since one of the teams was a National League team (the Giants), there would be no 2 AM curfew, and lucky for both teams, they didn’t have to go until 2:30 AM.

#3 Anyone who works at Fenway press, concessions, security, engineers, front office, media or players will have to be glad that they don’t have to be back at the park until after 12 except the TV production crew, whose call time is the early morning. They might as well sleep in the production truck.

#4 Big night for Giants leadoff hitter outfielder Mike Yastrzemski and grandfather Carl, who had a mini reunion at the park before the game. It’s not too often the Giants get to come to Boston. This had to be something special.

#5 Taking a look at tonight’s pitchers. For the Giants, Jeff Samardjiza (10-12, 3.72 ERA), and for the Sox, Jhoulys Chacin (3-10, 5.44 ERA). Michael talks about the matchup.

Michael Duca does the Giants podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: Seeing Red Birds, Giants drop 3 of 4 from Cardinals, lose in laugher on Thursday 10-0

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

On the Giants podcast with Michael:

#1 At this juncture, how anxious does this club seem to be to end this season regroup and see what next spring brings?

#2 The Giants faced two Cardinals pitcher Dakota Hudson and reliever Genesis Cabrera, who both shut the Giants out. The Giants simply could not figure either pitcher out.

#3 Giants starter Logan Webb got lit up going 2.2 innings, eight hits and seven runs, two walks and strikeouts with the Red Birds scoring three in the bottom of the first and five in the bottom of the third.

#4 The Giants used six pitchers, but most of the damage had been done in the five-run third. Webb was charged for all eight runs in the early going.

#5 The Giants hope to turn the page with a series coming up Friday night at Dodger Stadium. For the Giants, Jeff Samardzija (9-11, 3.61 ERA), and for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershawn (13-4, 2.96 ERA).

Michael does the Giants podcast each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Pads tag Giants Samardzija for six runs in 8-4 win; Giants drop seven games back in NL Wild Card

sfgate.com photo: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will be leaving the team at the end of the month, after being honored with artwork posted on the outfield wall commemorating his fine handy work in San Francisco. Later Pablo Sandoval got a seventh inning standing ovation coming in to possibly hit for the last time as a Giant.

By Lewis Rubman

San Diego: 8 | 13 | 0

San Francisco: 4 | 7 | 0

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants sent Jeff Samardzija to the mound this afternoon at Oracle Park, seeking to salvage a split in their four-game series against the San Diego Padres. The Shark (9-10, 3.38 ERA) had pitched well in his last outing, allowing only one run on three hits in five innings of work against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The negative side of performance is that it took him 92 pitches to complete those five frames and that he also granted three free passes in the process. The Padres came away with three games out of four to win the series in the Sunday 8-4 victory.

The Pads chose 24-year-old left-hander Eric Lauer (7-8, 4.48 ERA) to oppose the home team. He had pitched adequately in his last appearance, which was against the Dodgers. His three earned runs, including two homers, in six innings qualified him for the meaningless category of a quality start.

The teams entered the contest with records of 63-72 for the visiting Friars and 66-69 for their hosts from the City of Saint Francis.

Greg García started things rolling early in the game, slamming a line drive home run to right on Samardzija’s eighth pitch. It was the Padres’ shortstop’s fourth round tripper of the season and the first lead off dinger of his career.

A pair of doubles to right by Nick Martini and Eric Hosmer, sandwiching a ground out by Manny Machado, doubled the visitor’s early lead. Josh Naylor’s infield single moved Hosmer up to third, putting runners on the corners with one out. Then Smardzja got out of trouble, ending the inning by getting Wil Myers to hit into a double play, Crawford to Solano at second to Aramis García, just recalled from Sacramento, at first.

Kevin Pillar knotted the game up shortly afterwards when, with Solano on base with a leadoff single and one down, he dumped Lauer’s 82 mph slider into the alleyway that separates the grandstand from the left field bleachers. After one, the game was tied at two.

Ty France untied it with his third home run of 2019, this one into the left field bleachers and coming on an 84 mph slider, with the bases empty and one out in the second.

Once the Shark had retired the Padres for the inning, the Giants unveiled a plaque between the Chevron and Toyota advertisements on the left field fence to honor their soon to be retired manager, Bruce Bochy. The text of the plaque is, “Thank you BOCH!”

No one scored until the visitors’ sixth. Hosmer led off the top of that inning with a triple to left center. He held on at third when Naylor bounced out unassisted to Belt at first. Then Wil Myers sent a weak bouncing ball down the third base line. Longoria charged it, but apparently doubting his ability to cut Hosmer down at the plate and thinking the ball would go foul, jumped over it, and the ball ended up in left field while Myers wound up at second base.

After Smardzija walked Allen Austin, Bochy removed his starter and brought in Fernando Abad, whose first pitch Ty France blasted over the right field wall, to give San Diego a 7-2 lead.

Samardzija’s line for the day was 5 1/3 innings pitched, six runs, all earned, on nine hits and one walk. He struck out two. 71 of his 109 pitches were strikes. He took the loss.

In the Giants’ half of the frame, Longoria atoned for his misplay by hitting his 18th home run of the season, a blast over the fence in straight away center field with Slater on base to narrow the gap to 7-4. Lauer responded by fanning the next two Giant batters.

Conner Menez came out to pitch the top of the seventh, but after he surrendered a one out double to Machado, the left handed reliever came out of the game, giving way to Sam Coonrod, who closed down the Padres by getting Manuel Margot hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

Right-hander Luis Perdomo replaced Lauer to open the San Francisco seventh. Lauer, who would get the win, left the game with six innings to his credit, in which he gave up four runs, all earned, on six hits. He struck out nine of his opponents and didn’t walk any.

The crowd came alive when Pablo Sandoval was announced as a pinch-hitter for Coonrad with one on and one out in the seventh. He hustled down the line after hitting a grounder to third, but the Panda never was a speedster.

Sandoval’s pinch hitting appearance was a prelude to Shaun Anderson’s entry into the game in the top of the eighth. He set the Padres down 1-2-3, with two Ks.

That was a good pitching performance, but nowhere near as exciting as the one Andrés Muõoz provided when he took over against the Giants in the bottom half of the inning. He struck out Mike Yastremski, htting for Slater, when he took something off his 100 mph fast ball to get him with a pitch that measured one less mph by the stadium gun. Then he fanned Pillar on an 86 mph slider. The third strike against Longoria was a called one, a 100 mph fastball that followed out that came in at 101.

San Diego got some additional insurance in their last go-round. With Anderson still on the mound for the Giants, Travis Janbowksy, who had entered the game in a double switch two innings previously, got a leadoff single to center and scored all the way from first on the much booed Manny Machado’s single to right.

David Bednar came in to wrap it up for the Padres in the ninth. Three batters and three outfield fly outs later, he’d done it.

The loss dropped the Giants’ record to 66-90 and left them when the game ended seven games out of wild card contention. It also whittled their elimination number to 20 with only 26 games left in the season.

The Giants fly to St. Louis for a game tomorrow afternoon. They will send RHP Tyler Beede (3-8, 5.56 ERA) against fellow RHP Adam Wainwright (9-9, 4.52 ERA) for the NL Central-leading Cardinals.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: Giants get swept by Cubs, head to Oakland for two-game weekend series

Photo credit: @SFGiants

On the Giants podcast with Michael:

#1 The Giants were swept in three games in Chicago two of them were loses by just one run. Do you view the Giants as a formidable opponent in their wild card chances seeing how they played against a competitive team like the Cubs? Dropping 14 of their last 17 games at Wrigley.

#2 Thursday’s game at Wrigley proved to be one for the books. Despite the loss, the Giants and Cubs played to a 1-0 final and former Cub starter Jeff Samardjiza went seven innings with two hits and one run.

#3 For Samardjiza, was this an advantage pitching in a park where he played part of career and that he was familiar with?

#4 The Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks got the call as the starter and didn’t disappoint going seven innings pitching a three hit shutout. He had good movement on his pitches on Thursday.

#5 The Giants have a rare Friday off before playing at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. Going for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner (8-8, 3.72 ERA), and for the A’s, Chris Bassitt (9-5, 3.61 ERA).

Michael does the Giants podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Shark is sharp, but Cubs sweep Giants with 1-0 win

Photo credit: @NBCSGiants

By Jeremy Harness

For the past couple of years, the jury has been out on Jeff Samardzija. However, on Thursday afternoon, it was the offense that let him down, less than 24 hour after scoring 11 runs.

Samardzija clearly pitched well enough to beat the Chicago Cubs and salvage a game from the three-game series, but the Giants could not bring a single run across, and that resulted in a hard-luck 1-0 loss at Wrigley Field.

As a result, they were swept right out of Chicago, in a series that would have gone a long way in continuing their push for the second wild-card spot in the National League.

The right-hander, who started his pro baseball career with the Cubs after starring in baseball as well as football for Notre Dame, went seven strong innings and gave up only a run on two hits, walking one and striking out four.

Meanwhile, the Giants had all kinds of trouble with Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks, who threw seven shutout innings at them, giving up only three hits – one of those coming off the bat of his pitching counterpart, Samardzija – and striking out seven and not walking anybody.

From there, the Giants managed only one hit off the Cubs’ relievers, as they flew away from Wrigley Field two games under .500. As expected, the National League as a whole has improved since the All-Star break, as the second wild-card spot holder, the St. Louis Cardinals, have a 68-58 mark at press time.

The Giants are now a full six games out of the wild card, and they clearly have a ton of work to do in this next month if they are going to have a chance to make a serious run at the postseason.

The Giants head to RingCentral Coliseum to take on the A’s for a two-game weekend series starting Saturday night at 6:07 p.m.

MLB The Show podcast with Daniel Dullum: Rookies with three homer games; Cleveland all knotted up with Twins in Central; plus more

photo houstonchronicle.com: The Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez gets congratulations in the Astros dugout after a first inning home run at Camden Yards, the first of three against the Baltimore Orioles in a 21-run win 23-2 Saturday night.

This week on MLB The Show with Daniel Dullum, who is Sports Editor of the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon News at the home office in Gold Canyon:

1 Rookies making baseball history with three-homer games

2 Indians erase 11-game deficit in AL Central, tie Twins for first

3 Swingin’ A’s 1 ½ games out of AL wild card

4 Samardzija beats Phils, Giants 4 games out of NL wild card

5 Tim Tebow’s baseball season over due to injury

Catch Daniel each Sunday for the MLB podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Giants Avoid Series Loss; Pick Up 3-1 Win

Philadelphia: 1 | 3 | 1

San Francisco: 3| 5 | 0|

By Lewis Rubman

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The Giants opened their current homestand last Saturday hoping to rekindle their fleeting, flickering hopes for an NL wild-card berth. The Washington Nationals dimmed that prospect considerably, sweeping the Giants 4-0, 5-3, and 4-1, thereby putting themselves 2 games in front of the Phillies, who began play in San Francisco Thursday evening with 1/10 of a percentage point lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for a chance to duke it out in the play-in game against the eventual number one seed. The Cardinals and the Mets were but 1/2 a game behind Philadelphia and Milwaukee, four teams only 1/2 a game apart!  The Giants, separated from St. Louis and New York by the Diamondbacks, trailed those tied-up rivals by another 2 games.

By game time today, after the Giants and Phillies had split the first two games of their series, the Nationals remained in the number one wild card spot, 1 game ahead of the Brewers. The Cardinals, Mets, and Phillies were in a three-way virtual tie, a 1/2 game behind Milwaukee. St. Louis was leading the other two by one-tenth of a percentage point. The Giants had slipped to 4 games behind Milwaukee Opening the game for the Giants was Jeff Samardzija. The Shark, whose lackluster 8-9 record and 4.70 ERA for the season was offset by his performance over his previous seven starts, in which he went 4-2, 2.11 ERA, including a six-inning, three-hit, scoreless stint against Philadelphia on July 31. Facing him for the visitors was Vince Velázquez, who brought an above-average fastball and a 4-6, 4.23 record with him to the mound. He throws the four-fingered variety of that pitch about 65% of the time.

It didn’t take the Phillies long to get to Samardzija. Corey Dickerson blasted the Giants’ pitcher’s 10th offering over the center-field fence for his seventh homer of the season, putting Philadelphia on top, 1-0. Samardzija settled down to retire the next 20 batters he faced, although Dickerson threatened to do more damage with a tremendous blast to left-center that Kevin Pillar corralled just in front of the fence in the top of the fourth. In the top of the eighth, César Hérnandez’s fly ball landed in front of Mike Yaztremski in left for Philadelphia’s second hit of the afternoon. He was wiped out Scott Kingery’s around the horn double play, capping a spectacularly dominant performance by the Giant hurler.

Meanwhile, in the Giants’ half of the second, they got back the run Saamardzija had surrendered in the first and more. Velásquez plunked Scooter Gennet with a 94 mph four seamer, brushed back Evan Longoria with another, clocked at 93 mph, and then paid for it when the  Giants’ third sacker smacked the next pitch into the left-field bleachers for his 14th round-tripper of the year and a 2-1 lead for the Giants. Pillar duplicated the feat to lead off the fifth, giving him 15 home runs for the season and a career-high 60 RBI, while upping the home team’s advantage to 3-1.

Velásquez was removed in the top of the sixth when Brad Miller pinch hit for him and struck out. The Phillies’ starter’s line was three runs, all earned, on three hits, three strikeouts, a walk, and two home runs in five innings. He threw 77 pitches, of which 53 were strikes. His replacement on the mound, José Alavarez, gave up two hits in the sixth, but escaped without giving up a run when Pillar grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Following Alvarez was Blake Parker, who pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, helped by a beautiful play by second baseman Hernández on Brandon Belt’s broken-bat grounder up the middle for the third out. Zach Eflin pitched the bottom of the eighth for Philly. He, too, escaped unscathed thanks to the pitchers’ best friend.

Will Smith took over for Samardzija in the top of the ninth. The Shark’s line for eight innings of work was one run, earned on Dickerson’s second inning dinger, two hits, no walks, and five strikeouts. 65 of his 103 pitches were strikes. He got the win.

Velásquez was the losing pitcher, and Smith, who pitched a rocky final frame, earned safe by striking out Dickerson with two on and two out to close out the game.

When the dust had settled after this afternoon’s fray, the Giants found themselves three and a half games out of a playoff spot, looking up at Arizona, Philadelphia, New York, and St. Louis in a neck and neck race.

Tomorrow’s 4:05 game will be preceded by a reunion of the 1989 Giants, a prelude to next Tuesday and Wednesday’s San Francisco half of the interleague Bay Bridge Series. The starting pitchers are slated to be right-hander Jake Arrieta (8-8, 4.41 ERA) for the Phillies and southpaw Conner Menez (0-1, 5.73 ERA).

“Playoffs?” Sleepy performance in 4-0 loss to the Nationals takes Giants back below .500

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — The single-minded focus and intensity demanded by the fully loaded National League post-season race came home to San Francisco Monday night and got misdirected and lost in the meandering starting appearance put forth by Jeff Samardzija.

Not good. For the Giants, or the playoff chase.

For one, the Giants were backs to the wall, back to .500 and still under the break even line at home where the Oracle Park fans have waited patiently for benefits of a hot July to translate into a watchable product. If any night would conjure the team’s best this was it. Except it wasn’t.

Those fans are still waiting patiently. With Samardzija drowning in quick (slow) sand, the Giants went meekly to the Nationals, 4-0.

Anthony Rendon singled in a run, and Matt Adams doubled home Adam Eaton in the fifth to back the pitching of Erik Fedde, who was facing the Giants for the first time. Fedde pitched six innings, scattering five singles and a double while walking none, and picked up his second win of the season.

Fedde was supposed to be fallible. Instead he pitched six innings without allowing a run for the first time in his major league career.

“The ball was down,” manager Dave Martinez said of Fedde. “He’s really good when he’s down. He’s really effective.”

While Fedde cruised through six frames needing just 75 pitches, Samardzija couldn’t get his pitches over the plate in what seemed like an endless stream of three-ball counts. The patient approach suits the Nationals on most nights, and this was no different. Their breakthrough wasn’t immediate, but they were ready when it materialized.

“They made me work, slider wasn’t very good today,” Samardzija said. “They fouled off a lot of pitches so the pitch count got a little high. That was the story.”

Samardzija hasn’t enjoyed much success facing the Nats, last beating them in 2013. He hasn’t pitched well at home this season either, so his outing was an intersection of the two. But his pitch count was a whole different animal; 83 pitches through three innings, and 98 through four when his outing ended.  Samardzija allowed just three hits, but it felt much larger.

The Giants have dropped seven of 11, and saw the streaking Mets pass them in the standings with a doubheader sweep. While the out of town scoreboard has been kind to the Giants the last two weeks, they haven’t taken advantage. On Monday, the scoreboard was mean, and the Giants fell 3 1/2 games behind the wild card leaders for the first time in two weeks.

While Samardzija didn’t aid his team on the mound, he did provide wisdom.

“To stay that hot (continually) for three months would be a pretty remarkable thing,” he said. “We just need to keep our heads on straight.”

The Giants get a second shot at the Nationals Tuesday with Connor Menez to be promoted from Triple-A Sacramento to make the start. He’ll be opposed by Washington’s Joe Ross.

Craw Goes Cray Cray: Giants’ Crawford piles up 3 homers, 9 RBI in Giants’ sweep of Colorado

By Morris Phillips

Trying to form the best characterization of the San Francisco Giants mid-July 2019, and can’t seem to quite get it right using terms like buyers, sellers, winners or losers?

You’re not alone.

But try this phrase: movers, as in the Giants are riding a historic, offensive awakening and moving up in a crowded, but opportunity-filled National League Wild Card chase. On Monday, the Giants snatched a pair from the Rockies, winning 19-2 and 2-1 in a day/night doubleheader at Coors Field.

The formerly, offensively-challenged Giants have averaged better than seven runs per game in road contests since June 1, that after they piled up 24 hits and 21 runs on the Rockies, then cruised, going scoreless over the final five innings of the night cap, in which they pitched and defended in a 2-1 victory.

At 45-49 they’re not exactly winners, but they’re not losers either. The Giants are red hot, having won 10 of 12. As for moving up, the Giants are now just three games behind the Cardinals, who currently own the second wild card spot by percentage points over the Phillies.

With such a dramatic turnaround for a club that remains in last place in the NL West, and still has five clubs between themselves and the Cardinals, the occasion of the sweep is no time to tackle the Herculean effort needed to continue the ascent to a playoff berth. But it is an opportunity to celebrate Brandon Crawford, who smacked three homers in the twin bill. In the first game, Crawford became the first ever big league shortstop to compile five hits and eight RBI in a single game.

“I’m seeing the ball well,” Crawford said. “You expect to get hits when that happens.”

Crawford didn’t stop there. He and Stephen Vogt homered consecutively in the fourth inning of the second game, all the offense the Giants needed in a 2-1 win. Dereck Rodriguez was gifted the spot start and shined, going five inning while allowing four hits and a run.

Jeff Samardzija pitched into the seventh inning in the opener, picking up the win while allowing four hits (two home runs allowed) and striking out nine. Samardzija was awful in three, previous starts at Denver, but not this time. The veteran hurler evened his record at 7-7, and navigated his way through a 13-0 lead after four innings, and 16-1 through six.

Rockies manager Bud Black removed his starter German Marquez in the third inning after he allowed 11 hits and 11 runs. With four games between the clubs in a tight, three-day window, Black was in no mood to burn his bullpen. That’s when he turned to first baseman Mark Reynolds to pitch the ninth inning, and the slugger made it through in 21 pitches, but allowed the final two runs of the game. Afterwards, Black couldn’t recall ever in his career as manager and as a pitching coach resorting to using a position player to pitch.

“I really don’t like to do it, but I felt in this game I needed to because of saving arms in the pen and knowing where we are in the season, and what we have in front of us,” Black said.

After the first game of the doubleheader, the Giants had compiled 90 runs in their previous 11 games, the most runs the team has scored in an 11-game span since they moved to San Francisco in 1958. They had never scored as many as 19 runs in a game at Coors Field until Monday.

NOTES: Evan Longoria was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a plantar fasciitis issue in his left foot. For Longoria, the timing of the injury couldn’t be worse; the slugger just came off a stretch where he homered six times in 11 games, his hottest stretch in a year-plus as a Giant.

The trade front continues to heat up, especially in regards to Will Smith. The Brewers are rumored to be the Giants’ most likely trade partner for the closer, and the Giants’ win streak probably will not keep Smith from being moved, but with the Giants playing well, the team will likely listen to other suitors, and may only move Smith to an AL club that they don’t have to compete with in the wild card race.

As for Madison Bumgarner, the trade market continues to revolve around prospects at the lower levels of the minor leagues. With the market so tepid for the iconic San Francisco pitcher, would the Giants consider keeping him for the stretch run, and then resigning him in the off-season? The Giants’ hot streak definitely creates the possibility of some other options for the 2014 World Series hero.