Mr. Intense: Vogelsong’s impact on the Giants bigger than his numbers

San Francisco Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong waves from the mound before the start of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in San Francisco. Vogelsong took the mound and then retired as a San Francisco Giant. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Ryan Vogelsong was back. But his signature intensity was not.

The then 39-year old former Giants pitcher attempted to extend his big league career one more season by accepting a spring training invite from the Twins. But when it became apparent that he wouldn’t make the Opening Day roster, Vogelsong checked out, and all the passion and intensity that drove his unlikely career arc went away as well.

“I pretty much checked out mentally,” he said. “And I knew when I checked out mentally, it was time.”

After seven seasons with the Giants, and nine more in a whole bunch of other places, Vogelsong was done, bringing him to Sunday, when the Giants opted to honor the reliever turned starter for all his service. The club and the pitcher had different ideas on what should be included in the pre-game ceremony.

The Giants offered to sign Vogelsong and have him pitch in a Giants uniform one final time. But Vogelsong, now 40, passed, not wanting to disrupt the sanctity of the game.

So instead, Vogelsong threw out the first pitch, donning an entire uniform, and received a lengthy ovation from the AT&T Park crowd, including his gregarious wife, Nicole and son, Ryder. Emotional and heartfelt, the moment matched the intensity of the pitcher’s career.

Vogelsong was drafted by the Giants in 1998, and made his big league debut in 2001 as a reliever. Midway through the 2002 season, Vogelsong was part of the trade that brought Jason Schmidt to San Francisco in advance of the club’s World Series appearance that fall.

Injuries derailed Vogelsong in Pittsburgh with the Pirates, and his oddysey through Japan and the minor leagues commenced, taking him away from the major leagues for four seasons. In 2011, the pitcher resurfaced, earning a roster spot with the Giants, and going on to win 13 games as a starter. That season, Vogelsong also earned his one All-Star appearance as a more than capable fill-in for the injured Matt Cain.

In 2012, Vogelsong won 14 games, and made three postseason starts, as the Giants won all three on their way to a World Series crown.

Throughout the championship season, Vogelsong labored, pitching with traffic on the bases, refusing to give in, and more often than not finding an escape before trouble surfaced. The quintessential fifth starter, Vogey labored while his more talented rotation mates cruised. But the pitcher earned the respect of his teammates and coaches with his tenacity and willingness to contribute however manager Bruce Bochy saw fit.

“He was very popular in the clubhouse but you saw a different look when it was his day to pitch, and how he competed,” Bochy said.


Ex-Giant Ryan Vogelsong retires, Giants avoid sweep with big 7-2 win over Dbacks

San Francisco Giants pitcher Chris Stratton throws to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

By: Ana Kieu

SAN FRANCISCO — Ryan Vogelsong retired on the same mound where it all began and the San Francisco Giants avoided a sweep with a 7-2 blowout win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park Sunday afternoon.

Chris Stratton and Taijuan Walker engaged in an impressive pitcher’s duel, but Pablo Sandoval snapped the scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the fourth inning. Sandoval was out on a sacrifice fly to David Peralta. Austin Slater scored to put the Giants on the board 1-0.

The Giants scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning for a 4-0 lead. Slater drew a walk that scored Stratton. Brandon Crawford followed with a sacrifice fly to score Denard Span. Jarrett Parker then grounded into a force out that scored Joe Panik.

J.D. Martinez cut the lead in half in the top of the sixth inning with a two-run homer to center field to score Paul Goldschmidt. Martinez’s two-run jack was his 40th of the season and 24th with the Diamondbacks.

Sandoval homered on a fly ball to left center to extend the Giants’ lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Kelby Tomlinson was out on a sacrifice fly to Martinez. Panik scored to expand the Giants’ lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.

After flying into a force out, Sandoval picked up an RBI single that scored Slater. The Giants took a 7-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Giants (58-93) blew out the Diamondbacks (87-63) with a lopsided 7-2 victory at home.

Ryan Vogelsong took the mound for one last time at AT&T Park. He retired as a Giant today. He officially ended his 12-year Major League Baseball career that began on September 2, 2000.

Pablo Sandoval ripped a home run off Jorge De La Rosa for his his first right-handed home run in three years.

Orlando Cepeda turned 80 years old today.

On this day in 1997, the Giants beat the Dodgers 2-1 to move a game behind Los Angeles-NL in the National League West. Barry Bonds hit a two-run homer and Kirk Rueter allowed just one run over seven innings of work for the win.

Up Next
The Giants have a much-needed off day before returning to action Tuesday for a two-game series against the Colorado Rockies. Game 1 starts at 7:15 p.m. PST on NSBA, ATRM.

Vogelsong wins in his return to AT&T Park, as the Giants continue to struggle

Vogey's back

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Ryan Vogelsong’s first start against the Giants in more than a decade was a lot like the starts the right hander made for the Giants in the years in between: emotional, rocky, good and bad, but ultimately a success.

Vogelsong allowed the first two runs of the ballgame, then saw his Pirates provide support with five runs off Matt Moore, enough for Vogey to register an 8-5 win, and keep the Giants reeling, now losers of 19 of 28 since the All-Star break.

While Vogelsong came in hyped up and vulnerable, Moore, in his first start as a Giant at home, was flawless early until thing unraveled in the fourth. After retiring 10 batters without allowing a hit, Moore allowed the next five hitters to reach and three scored. For the rest of the night, the Giants trailed, fighting an uphill battle they would ultimately lose.

Moore came in with a streak of eight consecutive quality starts, the best current streak among major leaguers along with Washington’s Max Scherzer, and this time, couldn’t make enough pitches to extend it. Along with the six hits he allowed, three walks, all bunched into his final three innings of work, were Moore’s undoing.

Just as inconsistent were the Giants behind Moore, who made several flashy defensive plays, but just as frequently saw well-placed balls drop in around them. On the base paths offensively, the Giants couldn’t extend their early 2-0 lead, much due to Trevor Brown being thrown out at the plate in the second, and Hunter Pence not heeding a stop sign put up by third base coach Roberto Kelly, allowing the Pirates to record a critical out in the third.

The Giants briefly rallied behind home runs from Eduardo Nunez and Denard Span that closed the gap to 5-4 in the sixth. Span’s shot marked Vogelsong’s final pitch of the inning, not that the former Giant wanted it to be, as he uniquely waved off manager Clint Hurdle as he approached the mound.   But this was a case where the manager knew his pitcher better than the pitcher knew himself as Hurdle recounted.

“His job is to pitch, my job is to manage, and I wasn’t going to go back in the dugout,” Hurdle said.

From Hurdle’s keen perspective, Vogelsong’s evening was perfectly summarized. Hurdle said his pitcher came in “overamped” allowing two hits, and two walks in the first inning, in which he escaped allowing just one run. Heading into the start, Vogelsong said it would be emotional day, returning to the place where he enjoyed the greatest success of his 16-year career, while needing to show he’s still viable and capable of winning. Afterwards, Vogelsong talked about the juxtaposition of trying to get locked in while warming up, all the while with Giants’ fans yelling at him and expressing their appreciation of his previous five seasons.

“I’m tired,” Vogelsong said afterwards. “I’m off in the right field corner and the fans are screaming at me, and I’m loving every minute of it.”

While Vogelsong was all over the place in attempting to describe the experience, Hurdle was more succinct in saying, “I don’t think it was just another day at the park.”

After allowing the home run to Span, and trying to shush Hurdle, Vogelsong exited to rousing applause.

“I was expecting a warm reception, but I wasn’t expecting that reception,” he said.

Trailing 7-4 in the seventh, the Giants had an opportunity to change the story, after a wild pitch allowed a pair of base runners to move up with Nunez back at the plate. But Nunez’ liner to center was snagged by Andrew McCutchen just inches above the turf, as the centerfielder came racing out of nowhere to rob the Giants’ third baseman.

“Cutch’s play was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time,” Hurdle said.

The Giants played a second straight day without Buster Posey, sidelined by back issues, and his absence was noteworthy to Vogelsong, who felt the catcher’s intimate knowledge of his tendencies would make him his toughest out.

Also on the San Francisco injury front, Cody Gearrin drew closer to a return to the big club, pitching a rehab stint in Sacramento on Monday. Josh Osich continues to rehab, but his return before September 1, is considered unlikely, as he’s not as close to returning from his forearm issue as is Gearrin.

On Tuesday, the Giants have Jeff Samardzija on the mound in a matchup with Pittsburgh’s Jameson Taillon.

“Contagious” Starting Pitching Keys A’s to Win in Bay Bridge Series Opener

By Matthew Harrington

OAKLAND, Calif. – A bug is rapidly sweeping the Oakland Athletics clubhouse and every starting pitcher seems to have come down with it. It isn’t a case of the flu, but an epidemic of quality starts, with the latest “victim” to succumb being Jesse Chavez.

“It’s contagious,” said Chavez. “Yesterday, watching Jeff Samardzija pitch, I just wanted to feed off that. As a team, we feed off that. We’re playing good baseball. We’re happy to be home.”

The A’s right-hander matched a career-high in strikeouts (nine) over six shut-out innings in a 5-0 win against the San Francisco Giants at O.Co Coliseum Monday night. The win in the opener of the 2014 Bay Bridge Series marks the fifth-straight win for the A’s (56-33), who swept one of the American League’s best in the Toronto Blue Jays in a four-game set over the weekend. A’s starters allowed three runs over 27 innings of work in the quartet of outings.

“I just want to hold down this spot for what happened earlier in the year,” said Chavez. “Whatever role they ask of me, I’ll do it. I’m just looking forward to being a part of this team.”

The decision for Chavez (7-5, 3.06 ERA) also marks a swing towards the early-season progress that had the reliever-turned-starter in the running for American League pitcher of the month in April. Chavez was 2-4 with a 4.08 ERA over his last eight starts coming in to Monday night, including a five-inning, five-run loss at Detroit in his most recent start last Wednesday.

“The last two starts, with two strikes I was over the plate a little bit,” assessed Chavez on his recent struggles. “My main focus was finishing the at-bat if I got ahead.”

Fernando Abad pitched 2/3 of an inning of scoreless relief; Dan Otero did his part with 1 and 1/3 frames without a run. Ryan Cook fired off a 1-2-3 top of the ninth inning to wrap up the game. In total, A’s pitchers scattered only five hits to the San Francisco offense. The Giants left seven runners on base, while Oakland stranded nine.

Craig Gentry represented the first A’s run of the night on a John Jaso ground-out in the fifth inning to snap Giants Starter Ryan Vogelsong’s 18 and 2/3 innings scoreless streak in interleague play. An inning later, Alberto Callaspo provided the crushing blow, greeting newly-inserted reliever Juan Gutierrez with a one-out, two-run double. Callaspo took the first offering from Gutierrez, a 92 mile-per-hour fastball, into the gap in right-center to plate Josh Donaldson from third base and Jed Lowrie from first. Vogelsong (5-6, 3.92) was charged with all three runs, and ultimately, the loss after his five and 1/3 innings of work.

Lowrie chased Vogelsong earlier in the inning, singling on a first-pitch delivery to put runners on the corners after Donaldson was controversially hit by a pitch to open the inning. Replay showed that the ball hit Donaldson’s fingers near the knob of the bat, sparking debate from Bruce Bochy. The Giants manager already burned his challenge when officials upheld a hit-by-pitch of Craig Gentry in the bottom of the fifth.

“It was originally called a foul ball,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin. “Once (home plate umpire Paul Nauert) saw his hand, he changed the call around.”

“It hit the small pinky, the pinky knuckle,” said Donaldson. “He did the right thing. I have to give him some credit. When I heard it, it sounded like it hit the bat, but obviously I felt my hand hurting. I knew it hit my hand. He did the right thing, looked at my hand, saw it was swelling. He asked if I swung. I told him I felt like I didn’t.”

A couple of seventh-inning errors from Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford put Jaso and Yoenis Cespedes on second and third with no outs, setting up a Brandon Moss sacrifice fly off Gutierrez for a 4-0 lead. Donaldson, the starting AL all-star third baseman by way of fan vote, knocked Gutierrez out of the game on a laser up the middle to score Cespedes for the A’s fifth and final run of the night.

The sold-out crowd of 36,067 saw Oakland continue its dominance of San Francisco in the East Bay. Oakland has taken 10 of the last 12 games against their Northern California foes at the Coliseum.

“It’s always fun,” said Chavez of playing in the friendly rivalry. “It’s good baseball. It’s two good teams going at it. I think that’s good baseball.”

While the A’s continue to trend upward to the best record in the Major Leagues, the Giants have scuffled to one of the worst margins of victory in the league. Over the last 26 games, San Francisco (49-40) has gone 7-19 after winning 42 of the first 63 games of the season.

The black and orange send All-Star starter Madison Bumgarner to the mound Tuesday looking to split the two-game series in Oakland before the interleague rivalry series shifts to AT&T Park for a pair starting Wednesday. Oakland hands the ball off to its ace, Sonny Gray to sweep the first half of the home-and-home.

A-Rod says he’s fighting for job and baseball all the way


That’s Amaury News and Commentary

The New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez feels he’s been targeted unfairly in a way I don’t want to make direct comparison like the Barry Bonds case why? Because he’s a high profile player A-Rod is a name when he was playing even Roger Clemons who got in trouble that transcends sports and most people are not sports fans in this country and you walk in the streets and you ask somebody who is Jonny Gomes? Someone will reply I think I saw him in the World Series.

You say Alex Rodriguez they would say he’s a big star with the Yankees, so here’s the deal baseball wants to crucify him. How much evidence do they have on him? That’s the real question and I don’t think anybody really knows and it might be a game of chicken on whose going to blink first and A-Rod has some of the best attorneys in the world and Major League Baseball has very good attorneys and they have the power with the commissioner which is very powerful with over 30 owners behind him.

So this would be a big battle of epic proportions if this battle goes to court but let me say this and this is just myself, my experience I really believe that MLB and this commissioner wants to get A-Rod out of baseball and with a suspension of the 211 games maybe commissioner Bud Selig thought A-Rod is going to give up but it has backfired he’s not giving up he wants to keep playing and he’s very controversial as we know for all the suspensions for steroids and he’s very talented so Major League Baseball versus Alex Rodriguez right now is 50-50 chance on whose going to win this battle.

Tim Hudson can he stay healthy?: The Giants newly acquired 38 year old Tim Hudson from the Atlanta Braves this week and you never ever heard anything negative and he’s a class act however he’s 38 going on 39 very soon in a few months he’s been hurt a little bit and he’s still recuperating from ankle surgery although he will be in the Giants starting rotation. If he’s healthy and if everything goes right for him it would be a tremendous pick up for the Giants.

When your talking about a pitcher whose 38 or 39 or 40 the same thing happens with A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon he had a great season last year with 18 wins and he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball but he’s going to be 41 in May and the Giants spent a lot of money recently they paid $35 million for pitcher Tim Lincecum, they’re paying Hudson $23 million and there is still a little question mark if this is going to be the Hudson of old.

If he is it would be a very good pick up for the Giants and he would be behind starting pitchers Matt Cain, Madison Baumgarner, and he would be number three right now unless they have Lincecum at number three and the don’t want to sign Ryan Vogelsong to a free agent contract. So the Giants are still looking for maybe another pitcher. Bronson Arroyo could be signed but who knows the Giants could surprise everybody and sign Bartolo Colon.

There’s not too many in free agents in baseball, free agents of value but some stuff is happening as I predicted a couple of weeks after the World Series this stuff develops that the last two weeks in November before and after Thanksgiving day I believe that it’s going to be very busy in baseball and then in December everybody goes home and relax and come back in January and work on the media guides and the schedules are get ready and then your a couple months away from the first pitch.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for the A’s and the Spanish TV voice for Angels baseball and does News and Commentary each week for Sportstalk

Dodgers already favorites to win 2014 World Series

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

 The World Series still fresh in our minds, yet the betting books in Las Vegas have made the Los Angeles Dodgers, the favorites to win the 2014 World Series. They are counting on a much “settled” young Yasiel Puig, and a healthy Matt Kemp, with still the best one-two pitching punch in the majors, with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

 The Dodgers are tops at 5 to 1 to win the 110th World Series. But the Dodgers might need to acquire some help for that mediocre bullpen, during this off season. We all know, nobody can win a World Series without a bullpen, or with a great closer. Mariano Rivera has retired, he is not available,so the cash happy Dodgers will have to make some moves.

The  Oakland Athletics are 8 to 1 favorites to win next year’s classic, and their across the bay rivals, San Francisco Giants are 22 to 1.

 I do not expect the A’s to go out and sign anymore high profile players, although they still have very good young pitching, which Billy Beane could chose to trade for some established talent. And what about Bartolo Colón he had one of his best seasons with 18 wins, they have to make a decision with him very soon.

As far as the San Francisco Giants are concerned, one of the reasons they are a long, 2201 shot to win it all is very simple, there are doubts about what once was a dominant starting rotation. Specially with Ryan Vogelsong. I am also not totally certain than Sergio Romo is a front row closer, he is now. He is the Giants closer by process of elimination.

Hey, Brian Wilson is a free agent, Could he comeback to Giantsland? Doubt it. Giants took it too seriously when he left and signed a brief deal with the Dodgers. But other great Giants have done that, anybody remembers Hall of Famer Juan Marichal?

The Giants need a left fielder with some power, in the 20-25 home run category and maybe 80 to 90 runs batted in. Only God knows how much weight Sandoval would be able to shed in the summer and how he will report to Spring Training.

 The only dependable bat in the Giants lineup, as far as power and runs batted in is concerned is catcher Buster Posey. Other odds to win the 2014 World Series. Detroit 9-1, Washignton 9-1, St Louis, 10-12, Boston 12-1.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for the Oakland A’s and does News and Commentary each week for Sportstalk Radio

Three home runs powers Giants past Padres, 7-3

By Gabe Schapiro

On Friday night, a sellout crowd of 41,103, the 244th consecutive sellout at AT&T Park, went home happy. Thanks to an unusual display of power in a park where it’s hard to come by, the San Francisco Giants (75-85), came away with a 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres (75-85). Ryan Vogelsong, making his final start of 2013, wasn’t at his best, but he battled all night and limited the damage. With the win, and a Colorado Rockies loss, the Giants are guaranteed to finish in no worse than fourth place in the NL West.

In what proved to be a good omen, prior to the game the Willie Mac Award, named after the great Willie McCovey and annually given to the Giant who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership that Big Mac played with, was deservedly awarded to Hunter Pence. Thankfully San Francisco didn’t spoil what from the get-go was a positive environment.

Following the ceremony and a slightly delayed start, it took some time for Vogelsong to settle in. Right out of the gate the Padres were making hard contact, and in the first inning they got on the board with a solid single to left field by Tommy Medica that brought home Chris Denorfia, who had singled earlier in the inning.

In the second inning San Francisco made some noise of their own. Pablo Sandoval took a rare walk, and then two batters later rookie Juan Perez got a hold of one and sent a 1-1 pitch just over the left field wall for his first career home run. The homer gave the Giants a 2-1 lead.

After the game Bochy complimented how well Perez has adjusted to life in the major leagues following his first big league long ball. “He’s really turned it up a notch here, he’s played great on both sides of the ball. He looks a lot more comfortable at the plate, he’s quieter up there…the ball jumps off his bat. I’m glad to see him get that sense of belonging up here.”

San Diego wasted little time in responding. Denorfia walked to lead off the next half inning, and as walks so often do, it came back to hurt Vogelsong. Up next was Jedd Gyorko, who sent a towering fly ball towards triples alley that smacked off of the right field wall. Gyorko was thrown out trying to turn it into a triple, but Denorfia easily scored from first to tie the game at 2-2.

In the top of the third it only took the Giants three pitches to punch right back. Abreu singled to lead off the inning, and Brandon Belt followed with his 17th home run of the season, a no-doubter into the porch in right field. Two batters later Pence got in on the slugfest, and to celebrate his Willie Mac Award in style hit his 26th homer of the season, extending the lead to 5-2.

After the third, for the most part both starters settled down, until the sixth.

In the top of the sixth Vogelsong ran into some control problems, walking two, but managed to gut his way through the inning unscathed. With that his night was over having scattered five hits, two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts in his six innings. He threw 91 pitches.

On Vogelsong Bochy kept it simple, saying that after the game ““I just told him great job, great start. Good for him how he finished….I was happy for Vogey bouncing back from a rough start like that.”

By the ninth the Giants had added two more runs to their lead, making it 7-2. In the ninth the Padres tried making it interesting when Logan Forsythe led off with a long home run to dead center, bringing them to within four, but that’s where the comeback attempt ended.

This series against the Padres, the last of the season, continues tomorrow at 1:05 PM.

Game Notes: Following the three home runs hit by the Giants tonight, they have 105 on the season, two more than they did during their World Series run in 2012….Gregor Blanco almost hit for an usual kind of cycle, getting himself thrown out at first, second, and home plate during the game. Bochy announced that Cain would not make his last scheduled start, making his 2013 season over as well.

Lincecum exits with a win over the Dodgers


By Morris Phillips

Tim Lincecum wanted to end his 2013 season—and possibly his career with the Giants—in style.  Fans of the Giants and Dodgers—weary of senseless violence– wanted peace.  And apparently, Brian Wilson wants his World Series ring after all.

To say Thursday night was a busy one on the shores of McCovey Covey would be an under statement.

Lincecum arrived in San Francisco in 2007- the final year of Barry Bonds as a Giant—and went on to win two Cy Young awards, two World titles and throw a no-hitter.  Now 29 and not nearly the pitcher and player he was a few years back, Lincecum enters the off-season as a free agent.  But if Thursday was his final act as a Giant, LIncecum made sure he leaves a winner, as the Giants squeezed past the Dodgers, 3-2.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen, but I was very happy with what he did tonight,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum.

While both sides have said all the conciliatory things, Lincecum may not be back.  The Giants will have bigger off-season priorities then resigning the Freak, and Lincecum will command offers to be a starter for other teams even as his skill set has eroded prior to him turning 30.  Given that, the fans in attendance brought signs and cheers of encouragement while Lincecum departed after seven innings pitched by giving the crowd a polite bow.

“That ovation was pretty special and I’ve always had an awkward way of acknowledging that,” Lincecum said.  “But I do have an appreciation and respect for the way they’ve received me.”

Lincecum cooled the Dodgers’ lineup during his stint, allowing single runs in the first and fourth inning and leaving with the game tied after the Giants rallied for a pair of runs in the fifth.  Angel Pagan’s drive to left in the eighth inning just barely cleared the wall and marked the difference in a hard fought game between the California rivals.

Prior to the evening’s first pitch the crowd stood in a moment of silence for Jonathan Denver, who attended Wednesday’s game and was stabbed to death after the game in a confrontation between Giants and Dodgers’ supporters near the ballpark after the game’s conclusion.

Arrests have already been made in connection to Denver’s death, but the violence between fans of both clubs again marred the rivalry as it did when Bryan Stow was severely injured outside Dodgers Stadium in 2011.  The moment of silence on Thursday was an eery reminder of that incident and also an indication that much work is to be done to move beyond the violence.

After the game’s final pitch, former Giant Brian Wilson ran across the field and confronted Giants CEO Larry Baer apparently over the delivery of his World Series ring from 2012. According to the Giants, they had approached Wilson a couple of times to arrange and schedule the gift of his ring but were rebuffed both times.   In the bizarre confrontation, Wilson was seen to be yelling while Baer stood befuddled.

The awkward solution?  Wilson’s ring was delivered to the Dodgers’ clubhouse soon after the confrontation without any fanfare.

The Giants take on the Padres in their final series of 2013 with San Diego’s Burch Smith facing San Francisco’s Ryan Vogelsong in the opener at 7:15pm.Image

The Giants beat the Dodgers

by Jerry Feitelberg

The day started with the Los Angeles Dodgers  in first place with an 18 ½ game lead over the Giants.

The Giants have had a very tough year and the Dodgers are going to win the division but none of that mattered as the Giants beat the Dodgers 4-3 and won three out of four on the road in LA. The rivalry is there. Anytime you can beat the Dodgers is a great day for Giant baseball. No matter how far down in the standings, it is always sweet to beat the hated Dodgers.

Ryan Vogelsong started for San Francisco and he pitched well. Vogelsong went six innings allowing seven hits and three runs. The Dodgers’ pitcher, Edison Volquez also pitched well. Volquez went 5 2/3rds innings giving up three runs on five hits. All three runs given up by Volquez were driven in by the red hot Hunter Pence.  Pence drove in seven runs in the 19-3 blowout Saturday night and he hit two more home runs  and had three RBIs on Sunday. The game summary follows below.

Hunter Pence got the Giants off to a good start when he hit a solo home run to lead of the second. Vogelsong dodged a bullet in the bottom of the fourth when Juan Uribe led off the frame with a triple but the Dodgers failed to score. The Dodgers loaded the bases in the fifth. Adrian Gonzalez was the hero for the Dodgers when he blasted a double to right that cleared the bases and the Dodgers le 3-1 after five.

The lead didn’t last long as that man, Hunter Pence, put the ball into the left field seats driving in Brandon Belt. For Hunter it was his 25th home run of the season and he now has 92 runs batted in so far this year.

The Giants took a 4-3 lead in the eighth. Brett Pill hit a pinch hit home run off Dodger left, Paco Rodriguez. Giants’ relievers Jean Machi, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo shut the door on the Dodgers to give the Giants the win.

Game notes- Hunter Pence hit a home run in every game of the four game series. Willie Mays is the only other Giant to do so. It was the ninth career two home run game for Pence and Pence tied a career high with his 25 home runs. Pence’s 19 RBIs over the six game span is the most ever by a Giant since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920.

Winning pitcher was Jean Machi and Sergio Rome picked his 35th save of the year.

Ex-Giant Brian Wilson pitched in the 7th inning for the Dodgers.

Giants are off to New York for a week. They play the Mets for three then travel to the Bronx to play the Yankees.

Chavez bites Giants

By Jeremy Kahn

PHOENIX-Eric Chavez played against the San Francisco Giants in the Bay Bridge Series for the Oakland A’s, but he is now playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks and he continues to be a pest for the Orange and Black.

Chavez hit a walk-off single off of Sandy Rosario in the bottom of the ninth inning, as the Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 4-3 before a crowd of 36,091 at Chase Field.

“It was a fastball away. I’d never faced that guy before, so I didn’t know what he had. I was just looking for a strike,” said Chavez.

In his career versus the Giants, Chavez is now 43-for-174, a .247 clip over his 15-year career with the A’s, New York Yankees and now the Diamondbacks.

“This has kind of been the only time I haven’t swung the bat good the whole year, but I feel fine. I just haven’t been getting any hits. So that was a nice one to get,” said Chavez.

Willie Bloomquist led off the ninth inning with a single, and then after an Adam Eaton sacrifice bunt advanced Bloomquist to second base, Paul Goldschmidt was walked intentionally to bring Chavez to the plate and he took a Rosario offering to the opposite field to win the game.

It was the 12th walk-off win of the season for the Diamondbacks and the first walk-off for Chavez since June 4, 2007 against the Boston Red Sox, when he hit a home run in the bottom of the 11th inning off of Kyle Snyder and made a winner out of current Giants reliever Santiago Casilla (according to Retrosheet).

After being tamed by former Oakland A’s pitcher Trevor Cahill for six innings, the San Francisco Giants finally got to the right-hander in the top of the seventh inning.

Cahill pitched 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, while walking three and striking out three.

Gregor Blanco led off the top of the seventh inning with his second home run of the season to get the Giants their first run since Angel Pagan scored in the top of the first inning of Friday night’s 1-0 victory.

After a Roger Kieschnick strike out, Pagan singled and then scored the second run of the inning on a triple by Marco Scutaro.

Brandon Belt struck out for the second out of the inning, and then the Giants tied up the game on a single by Buster Posey off of Josh Collmenter.

Hunter Pence then singled for his third hit of the game that advanced Posey to third, but the two were stranded, as Pablo Sandoval grounded out to Collmenter to end the inning.

Pagan came up huge in the field in the bottom of the seventh inning, as he made a diving catch off a sinking liner off the bat of Montero.

“Did a great job again, he’s excited to be back,” said Bruce Bochy.

Miguel Montero got the Diamondbacks on the board after he singled to right field in the bottom of the fourth inning, to score Martin Prado, who doubled to leadoff the inning.

Following the Montero single, Gerardo Parra hit a sacrifice fly to Pence in right field that scored Aaron Hill, who singled following Prado.

After a sacrifice bunt by Cahill, that advanced Montero to second base, Willie Bloomquist drove in the third run of the frame to score Montero, but after attempting to stretch the single into a double, Bloomquist was tagged out by Brandon Belt after a great throw by Pagan in centerfield.

Ryan Vogelsong saw his scoreless inning end at 15, as he allowed those three runs to cross the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning.

In all, Vogelsong went six innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, while walking two and striking out one.

This was the seventh consecutive start that Vogelsong held his opponent to three runs-or less.

“Felt pretty good, I was not as sharp as I was on Sunday,” said Vogelsong.

Vogelsong did pickup his second hit of the season in the top of the fifth inning with a single, but was stranded at third base.

Like in the fifth inning, when Vogelsong was stranded at third base, it happened again in the top of the sixth inning, as Hunter Pence was stranded just 90 feet away from home plate.

Pence advanced to second on a wild pitch after singling with one out, went to third on a Pablo Sandoval ground out to first base and then Brandon Crawford struck out swinging to end the inning.

Things could have gotten a lot worse for the Giants in the bottom of the sixth inning, as the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with one out.

Aaron Hill walked, then Montero singled and then Parra singled to load up the bases against Vogelsong.

Cahill hit a sharp hit ball to Crawford at shortstop, and he threw to plate, where Buster Posey just barely got to home plate ahead of the sliding Hill for the second out of the inning.

Bloomquist then grounded out to Vogelsong for the final out of the inning, and escape the jam.

There was a scary moment for Bochy in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Montero lost control of his bat and flew towards the Giants dugout.

“The net saved me,” said Bochy.

Not did it get a chuckle from the Giants dugout, but Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson was shown on the television getting a good laugh.

“My guys did too,” said Bochy.

NOTES: Yusmeiro Petit will take the ball in the series finale against his former team, while 13-game winner Patrick Corbin will head to the mound for the Diamondbacks.

With the loss, the Giants drop 2-3 on their three-city, 10-day road trip, thru Colorado, Arizona and San Diego.

The Giants are now 26-40 (.393) away from AT&T Park with 15 games remaining, the fifth-lowest winning percentage in the National League.

Tony Abreu will be activated back to the roster on Sunday, as major league teams can increase their rosters for the final month of the season.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau in Friday night’s 1-0 victory, this was the first time in 21 years that the Giants won a game where they scored their only run in the top of the first inning.

On their last two occasions, both wins came against the Atlanta Braves (August 7, 1991 and September 30, 1992).

DOWN ON THE FARM: Infielder Christian Arroyo, the first-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, was named the Arizona Rookie League MVP.

In 45 games with the AZL Giants, Arroyo batted .326 going 60-184 at the plate with 25 extra base hits and 45 runs scored.

Arroyo was not the only player to be named to the AZL All-Star team, as Giants second round pick infielder Ryder Jones and left-handed pitcher Luis Ysla and AZL Giants manager Nestor Rojas was named Field Staff All-Star of the Year.