San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: Giants’ Williamson and company lacking the hits

Photo credit: @NBCSGiants

On the Giants podcast with Miguel:

#1 What’s off with the Giants’ Mac Williamson swing? He was striking out five times on Thursday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves

#2 Five times they needed that bat of Williamson to make hay in a one-run loss that went 13 innings.

#3 Williamson is trying to make this club and be a main stay. We ask Michael is this a temporary hang up or something that needs a quick fix?

#4 Another bat out of the Giants’ lineup: shortstop Brandon Crawford, who missed Thursday night’s contest due to pink eye.

#5 The Giants opened a three-game series on Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks started Robbie Ray (3-1) and the Giants went with Drew Pomeranz (1-4)

Michael does the Giants podcasts each Friday at

Panik’s walk-off gives Giants huge 4-3 win photo: San Francisco Giants’ Joe Panik watches his two-run single in front of Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann during the ninth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. The Giants won 4-3.

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO — Down to his last strike on multiple occasions, Joe Panik came up huge in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Panik slapped a single to right field off of Luke Jackson that scored Kevin Pillar and Mac Williamson, as the San Francisco Giants came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 before a crowd of just 28,030 at Oracle Park.

This was the second walk-off of the season for the Giants, and the second this month, as Buster Posey hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 1.

As for Panik, this was his second career walk-off hit and first since May 1, 2015 against the Los Angeles Angels.

Jackson came on in the bottom of the ninth inning, as he looked for his team-high seventh save of the season; however, in the end it did not happen.

The closer got Evan Longoria to ground out for the first out of the inning, but Brandon Crawford singled to left, then Jackson got Steven Duggar to strike out for the second out of the inning and then Crawford advanced an additional 90 feet on defensive indifference.

Pillar then cut the Braves lead down to one, as he singled in Crawford and then Pablo Sandoval came to the plate. Pillar then stole second to get into scoring position that setup Sandoval for the possible game-tying hit.

Sandoval hit a ball into the hole at third base that Josh Donaldson dove and kept the ball from going into left field that would have tied up the game, and Pillar stayed at third base. Williamson came on to pinch run for Sandoval, and stole second that setup Paniks heroics.

Panik fell behind 0-2 and then the count went to 3-2, and finally on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Panik hit a 95 mile per hour into right field that scored both Pillar and Williamson to give the Giants an improbable victory.

The Braves got on the board in the first inning, as Dansby Swanson singled and eventually scored on a Nick Markakis double to left field.

Panik got the Giants rally started in the bottom of the first inning, as he singled off of Braves starter Julio Teheran, he went to second on a Buster Posey single and then over to third on a Brandon Belt fly ball to left field. Evan Longoria then tied up the game, as he doubled to left field to easily score Panik from third base; however, the rally ended, when Crawford struck out to end the inning.

Both Teheran and rookie Shawn Anderson matched each other inning for inning until the Braves finally got to Anderson in the top of the sixth inning and chased the rookie, who was making just his second major league start.

Donaldson and Markakis ended Andersons night, as they hit back-to-back singles in the top of the sixth inning and that brought on Reyes Moronta, who got Austin Riley to fly out to Duggar in centerfield; however, both Donaldson and Markakis advanced an additional 90 feet. Brian McCann broke up the tie, as he hit a sacrifice fly to Stephen Vogt in left field.

Freddie Freeman extended the Braves up to two runs in the top of the seventh inning, as he hit an opposite field single that scored Ronald Acuna, Jr., who walked with one out in the inning and went to second on a Swanson walk.

Acuna made a huge defensive play in the bottom of the third inning, as he robbed Brandon Belt of a solo home run.

If people that thought Acunas plat was huge, Crawford also came up with two huge defensive plays of his own.

The shortstop snared a Freeman line drive in the top of the third inning that looked like it was going into left field, but Crawford caught the ball to rob Freeman of a base hit.

Crawford came up huge on the defense again in the top of the ninth inning, as Acuna attempted to steal second base and was originally called safe; however, replays showed that Crawford applied the tag on the foot and the umpires went to replay and after a 44-second review, it was determined that Acuna was indeed out.

Paniks two-run walk-off base hit gave the win to Trevor Gott, who is 2-0 on the season, while Jackson falls to 2-1.

Anderson, who was making his second start of his career, went five innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, not walking a batter and striking out three, as he did not fare in the decision.

The veteran Teheran went 5.2 innings, allowing just one run on three hits, walking three and striking out six.

Once again, the Giants helped out, as they went the final four innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking three and striking out two.

NOTES: Vogt started in left for just the second time in his major-league career, and it was his fifth appearance in left field and 17 in right field. Vogt last played in the outfield in 2017.

Sandoval picked up his 10th pinch-hit of the season, and is now 10-for-25 as a pinch-hitter this season.
In 16 career games against the Giants, Donaldson is 21-for-60, a .350 clip with seven extra base hits.

Acuna, who hit two home runs in the series opener on Monday night, has reached base in seven of his 10 plate appearances in the series, as he has walked twice and picked up five hits.

UP NEXT: Jeff Samardzija looks for his third win of the season, as he takes the mound on Wednesday night for the Giants, while left-hander Max Fried looks to raise his record to 7-2 on the season, as he toes the rubber for the Braves.

Headline Sports podcast with London Marq: Fiers’ no-hitter was the 300th in MLB history; Cubs looking for fan who made racist gesture; plus more

Photo credit: @NBCSAuthentic

On the Headline Sports podcast with London Marq:

#1 Oakland A’s pitcher Mike Fiers made history pitching in baseball’s 300th no-hitter on Tuesday night against the Cincinnati Reds at the Oakland Coliseum.

#2 The Chicago Cubs are investigating the fan who flashed a “white power” sign behind Cubs broadcaster Doug Glanville, who is black, on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. The interpretation of the gesture an upside down OK sign is a racist gesture used by white nationalist trolls. The Cubs say once they identify this fan, he will be banned for life from Wrigley Field.

#3 How important is it that former Oakland Raider and San Francisco 49er Jerry Rice be named as NFL Ambassador for the NFL Academy in London with other football greats?

#4 San Francisco Giants Mac Williamson, who suffered a concussion in April 2018, has said that for safety reasons, the Giants should remove the bullpen mounds from the field. Williamson tripped on one of the mounds for the concussion.

#5 The series is all tied up 2-2 between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. Game 5 is at Oracle Arena in Oakland. London sets up the game prediction.

London Marq does Headline Sports each Wednesday at

Mac attack: Rookie Williamson’s home run the difference in Giants’ 2-1 win over the Red Sox

Mac attack

By Morris Phillips

Equal parts effective advertising, beginner’s luck and the result of a rare, poorly executed pitch from David Price, a guy who dealt for most of the evening, Mac Williamson’s first major league home run was both memorable and surprising.

It also was the difference in the Giants’ 2-1 win over the Red Sox, a critical win for a first place club that for the first time in a while hasn’t seen the desired results in the last week. For Williamson, the result trumped the importance of the act.

“To have it be a meaningful home run and help the team win—especially at this point in the season—is really special,” Williamson said.

The clash of the fabulously wealthy Price, making his 226th big league start, and Williamson, a guy who’s done almost nothing of note at the major league level, got off to a predictable start. The veteran struck out the rookie swinging in the third, then looking in the fifth. Price would go on to say it was his best outing of his 13 for Boston, allowing just three hits while throwing his first complete game of the year.

But despite the vast difference between the two in experience, scouting and preparation had both Williamson and Price on somewhat equal footing. Price knew he had to bust Williamson in, not let him extend his arms, and the rookie knew the veteran would offer few mistakes, and he needed to be ready if one was thrown. Afterwards, Williamson said he expected the cutter inside, the same one that Price had struck him out on twice, and Price was looking to execute the game plan for a third time.

“0-0. I want to get ahead,” Price said. “If it’s a little bit more in, it’s probably a little bit of a better pitch in that situation. (Williamson) put a good swing on it. That was a big hit for them.”

Williamson’s undercut of a swing gave the ball a majestic arch. But it barely cleared the fence, and left fielder Chris Young was in good position, yet overmatched. Perfectly placed, Williamson’s homer went directly over the first of the three Chevron cartoon cars, an advertisement that gives the fence an additional couple of feet of height in just that one location.

“It went over the wall where the wall kind of juts up, where you can’t get any kind of clearance up there. I don’t think I was even close to it,” Young said.

Williamson’s previous 49 major-league at-bats featured one double this season, and a triple last season. After striking out in his first two at-bats of the evening, the 25-year old rookie was hitting .184.

Williamson significantly upped his game in the absence of the injured Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence and Buster Posey, who missed a third straight game with a thumb injury.  It was the first time in 23 seasons that a Giant hit his first career homer to give the team a lead in the eighth inning or later.

After his heroics, Williamson didn’t sail into the sunset. Instead, he flubbed Hanley Ramirez’ fly ball to the gap leading off the ninth, allowing it to glance off his poorly-angled glove, putting closer Santiago Casilla and starter Madison Bumgarner—seeking his seventh straight win–in jeopardy.

But manager Bruce Bochy took it from there, allowing Casilla to face one more batter, Jackie Bradley Jr. who he struck out looking. Then Casilla gave way to lefty specialist Javier Lopez, who walked the dangerous David Ortiz, but recovered to strike out Travis Shaw–another left-handed hitter–with the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

Bochy then tabbed Hunter Strickland, who induced a game-ending ground ball off the bat of Marco Hernandez on his first pitch.

With the win, the Giants increased their lead in the NL West to four games over the Dodgers, who were shutout at home by the Rockies. The Dodgers visit AT&T Park for a three-game series over the weekend in a matchup of the top two teams in the division.

Bumgarner pitched as effectively as Price in a matchup of power lefties, but departed after six innings after throwing 101 pitches. The Giants have now won each of their ace’s last nine starts dating back to April 25. In that span, Bum has improved his record to an All-Star worthy 8-2.

On Friday, the Giants open their big series with an even more compelling pitching matchup than Wednesday’s when Clayton Kershaw faces Johnny Cueto at 7:15pm.