Giants bullpen gives up sure win in late innings

by Michael Martinez

SAN FRANCISCO – Johnny Cueto (13-3) appeared to have his first win since the All Star break in the bag after he threw a solid six and two thirds innings, allowing just three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts. Cueto also had a nice day at the plate putting together two hits and driving in a run. However, the Giants bullpen fell apart in the late innings and allowed the Orioles to make things competitive.

Hunter Strickland came in to relieve Cueto and got out of a seventh inning jam but gave up two runs in the seventh to let the Orioles back into the ball game, which included a solo shot by Mark Trumbo. The blast was Trumbo’s was number 34 of the season he still leads the AL in that category.

Derek Law replaced Strickland in the eighth and was able to limit the damage as the Giants still held a 7-5 lead heading into the top half of the ninth.

Then Santiago Casilla came into the game and not only let two runners get on base, but threw a hanging curveball right over the heart of the plate to Baltimore second baseman, Johnathan Schoop. Schoop made Casilla pay as he crushed the hanging breaking ball into the left field bleachers to give the Orioles the lead, eight to seven. The homer marked Casilla’s fifth blown save of the year.

“I have confidence in all my pitches,” Casilla said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. “I threw the curveball, and I just made a mistake. The ball didn’t break.”

The Giants then tried to make something happen off Orioles closer Zach Britton in the bottom of the ninth, but unfortunately could not get a run across the plate to push the game into extra innings. Britton added to his league leading save total, 37, as Baltimore sits just a half game behind the Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East.

For San Francisco, its their 18th loss since the Mid Summer Classic and a real bad one after they held a six run lead heading into the top of the seventh.

The orange and black hit their stride at the plate, tallying 14 hits for seven runs and forced Orioles skipper, Buck Showalter,  to remove starter Wade Miley in the fifth inning.

Giants back up catcher Trevor Brown got the scoring started with an RBI single in the second inning. Brown got the start behind the dish after Buster Posey was a last minute scratch due to back tightness. The injury could have been sustained from the flight back and has gradually worsened, according to Posey.

Before Sunday’s ball game, Brown had been hitless in his last seven at bats, with just three hits in his last 19. But Brown made the most out of his start and was a huge spark for SF’s offense. He finished the game three for five with three RBIs.

“He’s been great,” Posey said about Brown’s performance this year. “He gave us a chance to win the game.”

Outfielder Hunter Pence also had a good game and it appears his swing could be coming into form. Pence hit a bomb to center field, 436 feet to be exact, and added a single during the Giants big fifth inning. Pence’s dinger was his first since returning from the disabled list. Prior to today’s game, Pence had not put one into the seats dating all the way back to May 18.

Fortunately, the Dodgers (65-52) lost to Pittsburgh on Sunday, 11-3, keeping the Giants a game ahead in the NL West.

After blowing a huge lead and taking a loss in what looked to be the Giants first back-to-back wins since July 30 and 31 as well as their second consecutive series victory, San Francisco will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at home tomorrow night at 7:15 p.m. PT as Matt Moore takes the mound.

“I think everyone knows what’s at stake. I don’t think there’s really any motivation needed,” Posey said. “This time of the year, this is when it’s fun. Each game as we get further and further along will have a little more importance on it. I think the group of guys in here generally thrive in these situations.”

Giants Shutout for Second Loss in as Many Nights

Photo Credit: Miami Marlins Google +
Photo Credit: Miami Marlins Google +

By: Joe Lami

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–The Miami Marlins defeated the San Francisco Giants for the second night in a row on Saturday night by the final score of 5-0 to take the lead in the four game weekend set 2-1.

The night looked promising for the Giants, when Tim Lincecum smoked through the first inning with two strikeouts.  However, it looked like a completely different Lincecum in the second inning, as he walked two to set up the Marlins first run of the inning.  Lincecum walked both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Marcell Ozuna to put runners on first and second, when  Adeiny Hechavarria knocked in Saltalamacchia for the eventual game winning run with the Marlins first hit of the evening.

Controversy occurred in the bottom half of the second inning for the Giants, when Brandon Hicks came up to the plate.  He lined a hard hit ball off of the bricks in right field for what should have been a double.  However, when rounding first, Hicks apparently missed first base.  After being challenged by the Marlins, it was deemed that Hicks missed first base, so he was called out.  “I thought I hit it, but I was looking up for the ball so I don’t know,” explained Hicks.

Instead of having runners of first and third with only one out, the Giants had two outs when Brandon Crawford was the next one to step to the plate.  He flied out to center on what would have been an easy sacrafice fly, but instead the fly out ended the inning.

“Crawford hit one and it would have been a run,” expressed Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

The Marlins were able to add two more in the sixth off of a tired Lincecum.  Casey McGehee started the inning with a leadoff double, only to be batted in when Garrett Jones came up next with a triple.  A scary moment occurred on the play, as Angel Pagan went diving for the ball, and ended up missing it, allowing Jones to get to third.  He banged up his shoulder on the play.  “He said he was a little sore, and will evaluate him tomorrow, but he should be okay,” Bochy commented.  Saltalamacchia then hit in Jones with a sacrifice fly to left to extend the lead to 3-0.

Lincecum was coming off of his best start of the season against Atlanta where he struck out 11, while allowing one run on two hits.  On Saturday night, the former Cy Young winner lasted six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, while striking out six.  “Timmy had a good outing, the way we have been swinging the bats of late, we could have expected more,” added Bochy.

Miami was able to add one in the seventh, when Giancarlo Stanton hit a solo shot for his 12th homerun of the season.  The Marlins also added one in the ninth that went unearned to make it 5-0.

Marlins’ pitcher Tom Koehler bounces back from his worst performance of the season, where he only pitched 3.2 innings against the Dodgers, with the win.  Koehler pitched seven, striking out seven, while only allowing four hits.  He ups his record to 4-3 on the year.

The Giants try to get back in the win column Sunday, as they will face these same Marlins for the final matchup of the four-game weekend set.  San Francisco will be putting Ryan Vogelsong on the mound, while they face Jacob Turner.


Miami Backed By Yelich’s Four Run Game to Get Past Giants 7-5


By: Joe Lami

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.–A sold out crowd of 41,819 were treated to a rockin’ game on Metallica night at AT&T Park on Friday night, as the Giants and Marlins played the second game of a four-game series.  The Marlins tied the weekend series at one with the 7-5 win.  In a back and forth game, Miami finally took the stranglehold in the top of the ninth with a two run inning.

Casey McGee earned the game winning hit with one out in the ninth as he slapped a ball through the right side of the infield bringing in Christian Yelich, who earned his fourth run of the evening on the play.  “We’re going to have games like this, the game winning hit had eyes,” said Giants Manager, Bruce Bochy, following the loss.

Miami was able to add another one with a groundball base hit from Garrett Jones, as Brandon Crawford was unable to come up with the ball on a sliding ball to his left with two outs.

The Marlins got on the board first, when Yelich earned his first run of the game with a lead-off home run just five pitches in.  For Yelich, it was his fifth homer of the season and second of the Marlins road trip.  “I lost my command in the first, but after it I settled down,” Giants Starting Pitcher, Yusmeiro Petit commented.

Petit was put in as the spot starter, after projected starter Tim Hudson was unable to make it due to a strained left hip.  “I’m going to be ready anytime he (Bochy) needs me,” Petit added.

The Giants were able to answer right back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the first, when Pablo Sandoval hit in Angel Pagan with a two out double.

Miami would hit their second home run of the game in the top half of the third inning.  This time it was off of the bat of Derek Dietrich, who hit it with a runner on in Yelich that reached on an error.  Miami would add another in the fourth inning to go up 4-1 when Adeiny Hechavarria hit in Jones on a sacrifice fly.

The Giants would once again answer with two runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning to make it 4-3, with runs coming from Sandoval and Michael Morse.

Miami would add on another run in the fifth, making it three straight innings with a run to go ahead 5-3.  Yelich notched his third run of the game on a McGehee single.

The Giants would add runs in the fifth and sixth to eventually tie the game.  “We just came up short tonight, after we tied it,” explained Bochy, after the game.

Santiago Casilla gets marked with the loss, dropping his record to 1-1 on the season.  Mike Dunn picks up the win for the Marlins, upping his record to 4-3.

With the loss, the Giants remain in first.  However, they lose a game on the Colorado Rockies, who defeated San Diego 3-1 on Friday night.  San Francisco has a three-game lead on Colorado.

Saturday’s matchup will feature Tom Koehler and Tim Lincecum as the projected starters.  Koehler has a 2.57 ERA for a 3-3 record on the year and AT&T Park holds a special place in his heart, as it is where he recorded his first Major League win.  Lincecum will be on the bump for San Francisco, as he goes into Saturday with a 4.78 ERA, good enough for a 3-2 record.  Lincecum is also coming off of his best outing of the season, as he struck out 11 batters in his win over the Braves on Monday.