Giants’ Bullpen Blues: SF collapses in the ninth again, lose 7-6 to the Angels

San Francisco Giants left fielder Alex Dickerson, bottom, dives for a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Tommy La Stella as third baseman Evan Longoria jumps out of the way during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 17, 2020 (AP News photo)

By Morris Phillips

After the seventh inning, the perfect ending had to have crossed manager Gabe Kapler’s mind.

Six consecutive outs and the Giants could end their four-game losing skid with Mike Trout standing in the on-deck circle unable to lift his Angels.

If only Kapler had the horses..

Instead Trevor Gott surrendered a game-ending, two-run homer to Tommy La Stella in a 7-6 Giants’ loss, their third via a ninth inning collapse in four games.

For Gott, his season has gone from delight to disaster: the reliever elevated to closer has allowed six, ninth inning home runs while his ERA has ballooned to 14.73.

“We’ll look for a softer landing spot for him. I think we’re going to need to figure out how to get his confidence back,” Kapler said of Gott.

For La Stella and the Angels, the win was the perfect tonic for ending a four-game skid in which they were overpowered by the A’s before getting swept by the Dodgers over the weekend. The win marked the first time in 11 games they had won after trailing initially. And yes, the game did end with Trout due up next, but the prospect of the Giants getting what they wanted, fueled La Stella.

“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t swing out of the zone, especially with Mike coming up next,” La Stella said.

Trout did his damage earlier with a solo shot in the third that tied the game, 2-2. The Angels’ superstar became the first slugger to reach 10 home runs this season, only to see San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. homer twice in their game against Texas to take the Major League lead with 11.

For the Giants, Trout’s homer off starter Tyler Anderson marked an ominous milestone, the 20th consecutive game the team’s pitching staff has allowed at least one home run, an ongoing franchise record.

The Giants led 2-0 after Brandon Belt’s homer in the first, then after they trailed 5-3, a three-run rally in the sixth gave them the lead again. Mike Yastrzemski’s two-run double scored Brandon Crawford and Mauricio Dubon to make it 6-5 Giants in the sixth.

Relievers Jarlin Garcia, Tyler Rogers and Tony Watson each pitched scoreless innings to get the Giants to the ninth with the lead. But Gott couldn’t hold it, striking out Brian Goodwin on three pitches, and allowing David Fletcher a bloop single before La Stella ended it.

Dylan Bundy, in search of his fourth win, will start for the Angels on Tuesday, opposed by Trevor Cahill for the Giants. Cahill served as a starter and reliever in 2019, his one and only season as a member of the Angels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giants hit all four S’s–Splash, Scream, Safe, Socially Distant–in dramatic, 7-6 win over the Padres

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Mike Yastrzemski doesn’t have an ounce of demonstrativeness in his body. Low-key, business-like, and surprisingly productive, let’s call the Giants’ outfielder the prototypical star for socially distant times.

Yastrzemski’s second homer of the game in the bottom of the ninth propelled the Giants to an improbable 7-6 win over the Padres, their first at home in a pandemic-shortened season. The homer, which sailed just inside the right field foul pole and into McCovey Cove enlivened 30 of the 300 or so people scattered throughout Oracle Park, all 30 of whom came streaming out of the home team’s dugout to greet their hero. With only their voices audible in a 40,000-seat stadium, the celebration at home plate was surreal and brief.

“Obviously we’re trying to do our best to stay safe and avoid as much contact as possible,” Yastrzemski recounted. “Sometimes in that situation you just have to follow the lead and everybody was doing the right thing. We just jumped around.”

Coming into Wednesday’s game, the Giants ranked last in extra base hits, 29th in home runs and 28th in runs scored. With four home runs and triple among their 12 hits on the night, the unheralded squad look like a competent, offensive force for the first time in six games.

But most of that damage came after starter Johnny Cueto departed and Trent Grisham’s three-run homer off reliever Shaun Anderson left the Giants trailing 6-2 in the fifth.

But the Giants clawed back, first with Alex Dickerson’s solo shot to center in the sixth, and Donovan Solano’s improbable, three-run homer in the eighth to tie it.

The 32-year old Solano had homered just 13 times in 1,296 at-bats over seven big league seasons coming in, but that didn’t stop him from turning into a right-handed hitting Barry Bonds while facing veteran reliever Craig Stammen. On a 2-1 changeup running in on his hands, Solano some how got his hips turned and his bat moving with home run heft without sending the ball into foul territory.

“Luckily I have a short swing and I was able to do some damage,” Solano said through his interpreter Edwin Higueros. “The only thing I was trying to do was make solid contact and at least drive one run in.”

Reliever Tyler Anderson helped the Giants’ cause with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief that kept the Giants within striking range before their rally began in earnest with two outs in the eighth.

“This team is full of fighters,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “These are their words and I believe them when they talk. They demonstrated that they can back those words up.”

The win prevented the Padres from claiming the major’s best record at 5-1, and an early lead in the NL West. San Diego got a two-run homer from Manny Machado, but they imploded late. Two Padres’ baserunners got picked off first base in the eighth, and three of the four San Diego relievers allowed home runs, preventing manager Jayce Tingler turning the ball over to All-Star closer Kirby Yates with the lead.

The Giants are expected to activate Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt from the disabled list prior to Thursday’s series finale. Kevin Gausman will be the Giants’ starter opposed by the Padres’ Dinelson Lamet.

 

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 Morris Phillips: Excitement builds, Yastrzemski scheduled to play all 3 games at Fenway Park

photo from sfgate.com: San Francisco Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski scores after hitting a solo home run during the 11th inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Phoenix. It was Yastrzemski’s third home run of the game. It was Yastrzemski’s third home run of the game.

On the Giants podcast with Morris:

#1 Whose got to be more excited about Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski playing at Fenway Park? Starting on Tuesday night, Yastrzemski, his grandfather former Boston Red Sox Carl Yastrzemski or our very own MLB analyst Bill Gould?

#2 On Sunday against the Miami Marlins, Yastrzemski scored on a diving head first slide to score one of the Giants’ two runs, which was enough to get by the Marlins 2-1. Yaz is having a rookie season hitting .265, 56 runs, 87 hits, and 51 RBIs.

#3 Giants starter Johnny Cueto pitched five innings of shutout ball and gave up three hits in the win. The Giants had five pitchers come into relieve after Cueto left and they combined to hold off the Marlins to just one run.

#4 This is kind of a special series besides of the reunion of grandfather and grandson Yastrzemski. The Giants, who do not play at Fenway except for every three years. This is a special place for them to return to since it doesn’t happen often to come to a historical place like Fenway.

#5 This will be Giants manager Bruce Bochy’s last road trip as manager. The Giants conclude their 2019 road schedule in Boston and then to Atlanta. Pablo Sandoval, who was a Red Sox but not on this trip, wouldn’t quite expect the same reception Yaz will.

Morris Phillips does the Giants podcast each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Thin Bullpen: Giants wilt in the ninth, Pirates win 6-4 in front of smallest crowd since 2010

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Kevin Newman maybe auditioning for a role as the Pirates’ leadoff man, but he maybe better suited as the team’s focal point.

Newman knocked in a pair of runs in a four-run ninth inning and the Pirates shocked the Giants 6-4 on Monday night. The Pirates improved to 11-5 in the games the speedy, powerful Newman has batted leadoff.

The Giants started Madison Bumgarner, who was attempting to win for the 61st time at Oracle Park, surpassing former teammate Matt Cain as the winningest pitcher in the park’s history. Bumgarner was in line for the win after allowing two runs and six hits in seven innings, but the Giants’ injury-ravaged bullpen let him down.

With relievers Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson and closer Will Smith unavailable due to injuries, manager Bruce Bochy stuck with Tyler Rogers, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning. But Rogers allowed Kevin Kramer to reach on an infield single, and was replaced by Fernando Abad after just one pitch in the inning.

Abad walked Josh Bell, and gave up Elias Diaz’ lengthy drive to the left field gap that one-hopped the wall. But the smash registered as just a base hit when Mike Yasztremski fielded the ball cleanly and appeared to have a catch to the Pirates’ baserunners. Both Kramer and Bell retreated as Diaz advanced almost creating an out-making logjam on the basepaths, but the Pirates were still set up with bases loaded and Newman up.

Newman delivered to tie it, the first time the Pirates had been even since the fifth inning. Kevin Reynolds’ base hit untied it, and Jose Osuna provided insurance with his sacrifice fly that scored Newman.

“Too bad we couldn’t hold on to give him a win,” Bochy said of Bumgarner, his strong outing squandered.  “You look at his body of work; he’s been a savior. Guys who give you innings like that are invaluable. Not just innings but quality innings.”

The Giants fell to 30-39 at home–the third worst record in the National League–after losing for the sixth time in their last seven home games. Meanwhile, the youth-infused Pirates have won 11 of 17 after being dreadful for almost all of July and August.

Newman and Reynolds, the former Giants minor leaguer acquired in the Andrew McCutchen deal, have been a big part of the recent surge.

“I think the combination of the two has them getting the results they’ve been getting,” said manager Clint Hurdle.

Road Titans: What if the Giants never came home to San Francisco?

By Morris Phillips

What if the Giants never came home to Oracle Park, and hung out on the road for the entirety of the 162-game slate in 2019?

Well, that’s a scenario for a playoff team.

Of the six teams the Giants are currently jockeying with for the two NL Wild Card spots, only the Giants have a winning record on the road. But what’s even more telling, the Giants are the only one of the six who aren’t at least 10 games over .500 at home, and in fact, the Giants are under .500 at home even at the late stage of the season.

How’s that? The Giants newly found offensive stars all perform better on the road, than at home (with the exception of Kevin Pillar), and for most, the difference in productivity is dramatic.

Brandon Crawford has 40 hits and 10 RBI at Oracle Park. But on the road, he’s produced 49 hits and 39 RBI. Buster Posey has yet to homer this season in San Francisco. In road games this season, he has six homers and 12 doubles. Mike Yasztremski has 15 RBI at home, 30 on the road. Evan Longoria has three home runs at Oracle Park, 12 on the road.

As a team, the differences are just as stark. The San Francisco offense at home ranks 29th out of 30 teams, hitting just .228. The Giants on the road have MLB’s 12th ranked offense, hitting .255 as a club. When the club opens a home stand, they’re 2-10 in the first game of the set, showing how the team struggles to adjust to the pitching-friendly environment at home after experiencing better offensive conditions on the road.

GM Farhan Zaidi has done a wonderful job incrementally improving the team’s attack with under the radar moves, none with the impact that adding Bryce Harper as a free agent would have made in the off-season. But the moves have been effective. But the next step is building an offensive attack that thrives in San Francisco. Given the numbers produced so far this year, it won’t be an easy step.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: D-Backs Chase Bumgarner out of park, score 3 in the 1st

photo sfgate.com: San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Phoenix.

On the Giants podcast with Morris:

#1 Morris, the way you saw it at Chase Field on Sunday, Giants starter Madison Bumgarner had the kind of outing you don’t see him have too often — getting shelled for six hits and four runs in six innings of work.

#2 You don’t see Bumgarner have too many nights like that, but on Sunday, the Arizona Diamondbacks got to him early scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning.

#3 The Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski, who hit three home runs on Saturday, hit a triple on Sunday. He’s been a hitting machine during the Diamondbacks series.

#4 Zack Greinke, the Diamondbacks pitcher, was supposed to start, but Merrill Kelly (9-12) got the call for Arizona pitching 5.2 innings, six hits, one run earned, two walks, five strikeouts and didn’t allow a home run.

#5 The San Francisco Giants’ Tyler Beede (3-7, 3.77 ERA) will open up the first game in Chicago Tuesday night. The Cubs will start Cole Hammels (6-4, 3.69 ERA).

Morris Phillips does the Giants podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Pillar goes 5-for-5, Belt gets grand slam in Giants’ 5-run win, 11-6

sfgate.com photo: San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Belt hits a grand slam against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second inning during a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Phoenix.

In what is the San Francisco Giants’ last trip to Chase Field this season, the team is on fire through the first three games of the series.

Kevin Pillar went 5-for-5, Brandon Belt hit a grand slam and drove in six runs and the Giants defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-6 at Chase Field.

With the victory, the Giants clinched the four-game series with one game remaining on Sunday afternoon and Madison Bumgarner on the mound.

Rookie Logan Webb, who grew up in Rocklin made his major-league debut went five innings, allowing two runs (one earned), giving up five hits, walking one and striking out seven, as he picked up the win in his debut.

Webb, who just returned from an 80-game suspension in July for testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs.

The right-hander made three starts at Double-A Richmond and then one at Triple-A Sacramento this past Monday.

Things did not start out well for Webb, as he allowed two runs in the bottom of the first inning, as Jarrod Dyson singled to lead off the inning, and then scored on a Wilmer Flores double. After Webb got Eduardo Escobar and David Peralta, Flores scored on a throwing error on a ball hit by Adam Jones.

Webb got out of the jam, as he got Jake Lamb to ground out to first base to end the inning.

That lead for the Diamondbacks would not last long, as Alex Dickerson led off the second inning with a walk, then Flores committed a throwing error, as he tried to flip the ball to Nick Ahmed at second base.

Pillar then came up with his first hit of the game that loaded the bases, and then Belt hit a grand slam that gave the Giants the lead for good.

It was the second career grand slam for Belt, who last hit one off of Luis Perdomo of the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on April 7, 2017.

Brandon Crawford got into the act following the Belt home run, as he singled; however, Webb popped out on a sacrifice attempt for the first out of the inning.

Mike Yastrzemski, who hit three home runs on Friday night then singled to right field and then Stephen Vogt loaded the bases with a base hit of his own.

Evan Longoria drove in the fifth run of the inning, as he hit a sacrifice fly that scored Crawford from third base and sent Yastrzemski to third base.

Diamondbacks pitcher Taylor Clarke did not get out of the second inning, as he went 1.2 innings, allowing five runs (three earned), walking one and striking out one.

Belt drove in his fifth run of the game in the top of the third inning, as he hit an opposite field single to left field that scored Pillar.

The Giants scored another run in the top of the sixth inning, as Longoria grounded into a double play that scored Austin Slater.

Crawford drove in his first run of the game, as he grounded out to Flores that allowed Scooter Gennett from third base.

Slater, who went 2-for-3 on the game after coming into the game on a double switch that saw Yastrzemski move to left field for Dickerson and Slater went into right field, singled to left field to score Pillar to give the Giants what looked like a commanding seven run lead.

The Diamondbacks, who scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on Friday night to tie up the game began the comeback, as Christian Walker hit a solo home run and then Escobar hit a sacrifice fly that scored Dyson in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Pillar drove in a run with his fifth hit of the game that scored Longoria, who singled to lead off the inning.

Belt then drove in his sixth run of the game, as he grounded out to Flores that scored Gennett from third base.

The final two runs of the game came when Ahmed hit a two-run home run off the foul pole in the bottom of the eighth inning.

With the score 11-6 in the top of the ninth inning, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo sent his catcher Alex Avila to the mound and he pitched a perfect ninth inning that included striking out Yastrzemski for the second out of the inning.

Jandel Gustave came on to close it out for the Giants in a non-save situation, and the game ended on a great play from Slater to Gennett to Longoria, as Escobar tried to stretch a double into a triple; however, Slater made a perfect throw to Gennett, who threw to Longoria to end the game.

NOTES: With the addition of Webb to the roster, Joey Rickard was optioned to Sacramento to make room for Webb.

The Giants went 7-for-16 with Runners In Scoring Position.

UP NEXT: Bumgarner will take the mound on Sunday for the Giants, while the Diamondbacks, who will try to avoid the sweep will send Merrill Kelly to the hill.

Yastrzemski hits 3 HRs in Giants’ 10-9 win in 11 innings

Photo credit: @ESPNStatsInfo

By Jeremy Kahn

Usually, the home run derby takes place at the All-Star Game, but there was one in the desert between the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Mike Yastrzemski hit his third home run of the game in the top of the 11th inning, helping the Giants to a 10-9 victory over the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

This was the first time in Yastrzemskis career that he hit three home runs in the same game, as the Giants have taken the first two games of this four-game series.

Yastrzemski ended up going 3-for-6 with those three home runs, and drove in four runs. His 16 home runs are the most by a Giants rookie since Buster Posey hit 18 in 2010, when the Giants won their first World Series since 1954.

Jarrett Parker was the last Giants player to hit three home runs in a game on September 26, 2015 against the Oakland As at the Coliseum.

Kevin Pillar hit two home runs for the Giants, who passed the Diamondbacks in the hunt for the Wild Card spot.

With the Giants leading 7-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Diamondbacks, as they scored five runs in the inning to tie up the game.

Eduardo Escobar hit a solo home run, then Wilmer Flores also hit a solo home run and then Adam Jones tied up the game with a three-run home run off of Tony Watson.

Pillar then gave the Giants the lead again in the top of the 10th inning, as he hit his second home run of the game and his 17th of the season.

Lost in the fact that the Giants won the game in extra innings was the fact that Jeff Samardzija pitched a great game, as he went five and a third innings, allowing two runs on five hits, walking two and striking out four.

Former Giants pitcher Mike Leake went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, not walking a batter and striking out three. Leake was in line for the loss until Jones hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning that tied up the game.

Both the Giants and the Diamondbacks hit a combined 12 home runs in the game, as Pillar, Yastrzemski and Flores each hit at least two home runs in the game.

The usual Giants bullpen was not up to par, as seven Giants relievers went six and two-thirds innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits, walking one and striking out five. Fernando Abad, Reyes Moronta, Watson, Sam Coonrod, Jandel Gustave, Will Smith and Trevor Gott ended up in the game.

Smith gave up a game-tying home run to Nick Ahmed in the bottom of the 10th inning, as he was able to regroup to get the victory, his fifth win of the season without a loss.

Trevor Gott retired Christian Walker on a ground ball to Donovan Solano for the final out of the game. It was the first save of the season for Gott.

NOTES: Yastrzemskis grandfather Carl hit three home runs in the same game one time in his career, as he did it on May 19,1976 at Tiger Stadium against the Detroit Tigers.

Kyle Barraclough cleared waivers and was outrighted by the team to Triple-A Sacramento.

Johnny Cueto made his third start during his rehab, as he pitched for Class A San Jose at Visalia. Cueto went two and two-third innings, allowing a run on four hits with two strikeouts.

UP NEXT: Logan Webb will make his major-league debut on Saturday night, as he takes the mound for the Giants. Merrill Kelly will take the mound for the Diamondbacks, as he looks for ninth win of the season.

Spinning Their Wheels: Giants fail to seize momentum in 9-5 loss to Oakland

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Whatever momentum the Giants were attempting to seize Wednesday flew over the centerfield wall on the 14th pitch of the ballgame.

Matt Chapman homered off Tyler Beede–the first of his two home runs on the day–and the A’s were off to the races in their 9-5 win that gained them a split of the brief, two-game Bay Bridge Series.

The A’s scored in six of the nine innings, establishing a 7-0 lead in the eight before the Giants rallied with five runs to temporarily make things interesting. Beede surrendered the first eight of Oakland’s 15 hits in a performance that proved there’s currently an imbalance in the abilities of the two Bay Area clubs.

Beede’s struggles put the microscope on the Giants’ rotation that has youthful inexperience in three of the five spots at this critical juncture of the season. Beede is last of the three to win a start, and that was back on July 14. Since then, Beede lost four of his six starts, allowing at least eight hits four times. Manager Bruce Bochy conceded the performances of Shaun Anderson, Connor Menez and Beede are a concern.

“It’s up to me to try to get this figured out,” Bochy said. “You know when you bring up young pitchers you’re going to have some growing pains, and that’s the case.”

Beede’s inability to get ahead in counts played right into the hands of the patient A’s lineup. Matt Olson singled, doubled and was hit by a pitch with Beede in the game, and A’s starting pitcher Homer Bailey fouled off a couple of offerings, then got lucky with a dribbler that turned into an RBI single that made it 2-0. Olson’s double scored two more runs, and Beede was done, one batter into the fifth inning.

“He’s really good at times and then it gets away from him a little bit,” Bochy said of Beede.

Travis Bergen, one of the relievers getting an extended look after the Giants reconfigured their bullpen at the trade deadline, allowed a two-run shot to Robbie Grossman in the sixth to make it 6-0.

Down 7-0, the Giants rallied for five runs in the eighth with Mike Yasztremski’s three-run shot the centerpiece. But Chapman’s second home run in the ninth restored the A’s cushion to three runs.

Alex Dickerson was activated from the injured list but was not in the Giants’ starting lineup. The valuable outfielder pinch hit in the eighth, his ground ball out allowed Evan Longoria to score from third.

The Giants fell below .500 with the loss, which took on more significance when combined with the results on the out-of-town scoreboard. The Phillies, Brewers and Nationals all won, leaving the Giants four games behind the pace of the Cardinals, the current holder of the second wild card spot.

The Giants start another big series in Phoenix on Thursday, the first of four games against the team immediately above in the playoff hunt. Dereck Rodriguez appears to be the likely starter in that one, opposed by Arizona’s Alex Young.