Game 1: Reds 5, Giants 2
Game 2: Reds 9, Giants 0
Game 3: Giants 2, Reds 1, 10 inn.
Game 4: Giants 8, Reds 3
Game 5: Giants 6, Reds 4
The San Francisco Giants made history Thursday, and I have only one thing to say about that.
Only the Giants can make a 6-0 a heart-thumping affair.
That’s where the Giants were since stinging Mat Latos for six runs in the fifth, the killer blow being Buster Posey’s grand slam that made it 6-0.
Well, we thought it was a killer blow. It was just a wounding blow. The Reds did not go down with a fight.
BOTTOM OF FIFTH: But the Giants didn’t get a shutout inning from Matt Cain. Ryan Hanigan was hit by a pitch and Drew Stubbs singles. One out later, Brandon Phillips doubles both home. But Cain ended it there. GIANTS 6, REDS 2.
BOTTOM OF SIXTH: Ryan Ludwick leads off with a home run to right. Jay Bruce walks and Scott Rolen singles. Nobody out, and it looked like Bruce Bochy was going to get Cain. But pitching coach Dave Righetti stops him. Hanigan strikes out on a 3-2 pitch with the runners moving, and Posey throws out Bruce at third. Cain is relieved, and George Kontos gets Stubbs to ground out to end inning. GIANTS 6, REDS 3
BOTTOM OF THE SEVENTH: Jeremy Affeldt comes into pitch. With one out, Phillips singles. Another out later, Votto singles. Then Affeldt gets Ludwick to hit a comebacker. GIANTS 6, REDS 3
BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH: Javier Lopez comes in to get Bruce to groundout. Santiago Casilla comes in and gives up a bloop single to Scott Rolen. Hanigan hits a laser that is snagged by Brandon Crawford at short. Todd Frazier serves the ball into center for a single. Casilla comes out, Sergio Romo comes in. Dioner Navarro hits a looper to center that Angel Pagan makes a nice rolling catch. GIANTS 6, REDS 3
BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: Romo gets Phillips to pop out. Then Zach Cozart walks and Votto singles to right. Ludwick singles to left, scoring Cozart. Runners at first and second at one out. Bruce comes up and hits so many foul balls you had to runner if they would run out of balls. Finally, Romo gets Bruce to fly to left. Romo gets ahead of Scott Rolen 1-2 before a slider — that actually missed on its location — gets Rolen to strike out. GAME OVER. GIANTS 6, REDS 4.
It was a great game. A great comeback effort by the Reds. Great pitches, great plays by the Giants to preserve the lead.
Bring on the Cardinals or Nationals!!!
The loss of Melky Cabrera was truly devasting. But it’s nothing new to the Giants.
It can’t compare to when the Giants lost Buster Posey for the season in 2011.
Many pundits like to say the Giants’ 2011 season effectively ended with Posey’s season ended with his ankle injury. Giants fans know better.
When Posey’s season ended last year, the Giants were left with a lineup consisting of ailing Pat Burrell and Cody Ross and inept players like Aubrey Huff, Miguel Tejada, Andres Torres and Aaron Rowand. Freddy Sanchez’s season would end a couple weeks later. Put it all together and the Giants had the most anemic offense in many years.
The Giants tried to replace Posey, who was playing a more vital position than Cabrera’s left field, with two players who struggled to hit .200 — Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart.
And the loss of Posey didn’t last six-plus weeks. It was four-plus months.
Still, the Giants managed to remain competitve and stayed in first place into August. Their playoff push was eventually derailed by injuries to Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt, not to mention a DL stint by Carlos Beltran.
Even with all that, the Giants made a late push in September that almost got them back into the wild-card race.
If the Giants could do that in 2011 without Posey, the 2012 Giants certainly could manage with Cabrera.
This won’t come as a surprise to any Giants fan, but when it comes to hitting, Buster Posey is unlike any other player on the San Francisco Giants.
Unlike his teammates, Buster Posey likes hitting at AT&T Park.
On a team that has scored about 100 fewer runs in games played at home than on the road, Buster Posey is hitting .351 at home this season, as opposed to .316 on the road.
Explain that one, Buster.
“I’m comfortable here,” Posey said. “I see the ball well. It’s a big ballpark, but the gaps are big, too, so you’ve got to take advantage of that.”
Posey kept up the hitting a home Saturday, going 2 for 4 including his 19th home run of the season, a two-run shot off Drew Pomeranz in the third inning.
TRIVIA TIME: Can you name the eight Giants who have homered at AT&T Park this season?
Posey’s recent hot streak has thrust himself into the discussion for NL MVP. While Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen remains the clear favorite, Posey, along with Melky Cabrera, deserve consideration.
Posey has 19 home runs, 75 RBI and is hitting .330. He’s got a slash-line of .330/.399/.538.
Cabrera has 11 home runs, 57 RBI and is hitting. 349. His slash line goes .349/.394/.524. He has scored a NL high 80 runs.
Posey alone cannot carry the Giants. Cabrera alone can’t carry the Giants. Put together in the 3-4 slot in the lineup, and they are a deadly combination.
In the third, Cabrera got the rally started with a bunt single. Then Posey launched a shot into the left-field bleachers.
Now, there’s one more piece to the puzzle. The No. 5 hitter behind Posey.
If Posey continues to rake like he has, opposing managers are going to find themselves doing what Jim Tracy did in the fifth inning. With a runner on second, Tracy walked Posey to get to Hunter Pence.
On Saturday, Pence delivered with a double off the right-field wall.
“With the way Buster’s hitting, that’s going to happen quite a bit,” Pence said. “You’ve got to do something about it. Since I’ve been here, Buster’s been incredible. Last year, when I got traded to the Phillies, the same thing happened to Ryan Howard. They walked him, and it’s going to come down to who’s behind him. It felt really good to partake in the fun today.”
In fact, every Giant got a chance to partake.
The Giants hitters swung the bats like they did on the recent road trip, slamming out 13 hits, including four extra-base hits (Posey’s homer, Pence’s double, and triples from Angel Pagan and Joaquin Arias).
Every Giants starter — including pitcher Matt Cain — collected a hit.
It was a good sign. Posey’s homer was his team-high fifth at home. The Giants have only hit 18 home runs at AT&T this season, and no Giants other than Posey has gone deep at home since Pablo Sandoval did it on June 29, 17 home games ago.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Here are the players who have belted the Giants’ 18 home runs at home this season.
- Buster Posey 5
- Brandon Belt 3
- Pablo Sandoval 3
- Melky Cabrera 2
- Gregor Blanco 2
- Angel Pagan 1
- Madison Bumgarner 1
- Aubrey Huff 1
Yeah, MadBum and Huff. If you got those two names, MoreSplashHits bow to your Giants fanitudeness.
But it’s why the Giants have to hit well as a team at home. It’s not going to come from one guy. It’s got to be a team effort.
We thought a little Jonathan Sanchez and Coors Field could get the Giants’ hitters out of their recent slump.
Well, you would think that 16 runs on 16 hits would validate that claim.
But Friday’s offensive outburst had less to do with Sanchez and more to do with the Rockies’ bullpen and the Rockies’ ability to give the Giants runs.
The Giants worked 67 pitches from Sanchez in three innings of work, but only got two runs on three hits and three walks. Sanchez actually saw his ERA drop slightly after Friday’s outing as one of the two runs he allowed was unearned.
But the Giants scored more runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings (13) than they did in seven of their previous eight games.
The eighth inning was the best example of how the Giants were aided by the Rockies.
The Giants loaded the bases on a single, error and infield single. A Ryan Theriot single scored one. The two wild pitches scored two more runs. The second wild pitch allowed Melky Cabrera to reach base on a walk.
Then Buster Posey unleashed a three-run home run for a six-run inning.
There was good stats from the offense, however:
- Angel Pagan reached base five times, going 3 for 4 with a double, triple, four runs and two walks.
- Theriot was 2 for 5 with three runs and two RBI.
- Posey was 4 for 5 with three RBI and a walk.
- Hunter Pence got his first hit as a Giants after starting 0 for 9.
- All nine starters collected at least one hit, including a double by Ryan Vogelsong.
That seventh-inning double by Vogelsong may have sapped him of some energy.
After allowing one hit in the first six innings, Vogelsong allowed three hits to the first four batters of the seventh inning — two doubles and a triple that resulted to two runs.
Manager Bruce Bochy left him in to face Wilin Rosario, who hooked a two-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole.
That snapped Vogelsong’s streak of 16 quality starts to open the season and he finished by allowing four runs on five hits in 6.1 innings.
It’s a good start to the road trip and kept the Giants ahead of the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, who both won Friday.
Now they need to keep it up as Madison Bumgarner takes to the hill Saturday against Jeff Francis.
Buster Posey wanted to put his first big-league regular-season series in his home state of Georgia behind him.
That came in 2010, when he went 1 for 11 against the Atlanta Braves.
Two years later, Buster was back in Georgia (having missed the 2011 visit because of his ankle injury), and he was bustin’ out.
Posey went 3 for 5 with a double and five RBI as the Giants opened a six-game road trip to with a rout of the Braves.
Posey’s three-run double was the big blow in a six-run fourth inning for the Giants.
Posey started the game at first base, even after earlier in the day expressing confidence in his ability to catch Barry Zito or anyone on the Giants staff.
“Listen,” he said, “I’ve got the utmost confidence in myself that I can catch anybody. I’ve never questioned that. I’ve caught (Tim Lincecum) plenty and had a lot of success with him. I haven’t caught Barry as much as Timmy, but I’m definitely comfortable with him as well.”
Posey got his chance to catch Zito when Sanchez left the game in the fourth inning with a strained left knee.
Zito, who threw seven shutout innings Tuesday, quipped: “Me and Buster were joking around. I said ‘You probably sniggered him because you wanted to work with me.’ ”
Posey will be working with all Giants pitchers for the near future as Sanchez is sidelined, although early reports are that the injury is not considered serious.
Sanchez will get an MRI Wednesday morning, so the Giants will know more then. But for now, they are not planning any roster moves.
“We’re hoping for the best,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We think it’s just a couple games. We’re hopeful it’s what we think it is.”
In the meantime, Pablo Sandoval, who has not caught a big-league game since 2009, becomes the No. 2 catcher on the roster, followed by Emmanuel Burriss.
If the Giants eventually find a need for another catcher, the logical choice is Eli Whiteside, despite Twitters calls for Tommy Joseph or Andrew Susac. And there are plenty of reasons why.
- Whiteside is on the 40-man roster. Joseph and Susac are not. Bringing up Whiteside would not require a corresponding move on the 40-man roster.
- Calling up Joseph or Susac would also start burning their player options and begin their arbitration clock. Having already done that with the young Sanchez (22), they would not want to do that with the equally young Joseph (21) or Susac (22).
- While Whiteside is only hitting .241 at Triple-A Fresno, Joseph and Susac aren’t batting much better. Joseph is hitting .255 at Double-A Richmond and Susac .226 at Class A San Jose.
- Whiteside is hitting .400 over his past eight games (10 for 25).
- But offensive production is a plus when you’re talking about backup catcher. The bigger plus is defensive ability. Whiteside has that big-league experience. Joseph and Susac are still learning.
- The pitching staff is comfortable with Whiteside, with all of the starters and most of the bullpen having worked with him in the past.
- Given the nature of the injury and how the backup would be used, we’re talking about a limited stint with the Giants, maybe 2-3 starts if Sanchez eventually lands on the DL. The Giants would rather keep their young catchers where they are and playing regularly than sitting on the bench with the big club.
For all the belly-aching by fans across the country and the rabid tweets from Mets president Sandy Alderson, the fans and Tony LaRussa got it right in putting four San Francisco Giants into the starting lineup of the NL All-Star team.
The Giants’ stat lines were pretty good
- CF Melky Cabrera: 2 for 3, home run, two runs, two RBI.
- C Buster Posey: 0 for 2, walk, run, five scoreless innings caught
- 3B Pablo Sandoval: 1 for 2, triple, run, 3 RBI
- P Matt Cain: 2 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 BB, 1 strikeout, win.
If you missed the start of the game, you missed a thrilling first inning.
After Carlos Gonzalez struck out to open the game, Cabrera singled to left and scored on Ryan Braun’s double.
After Joey Votto struck out, Carlos Beltran and Buster Posey drew walks.
Braun, Beltran and Posey all scored when Sandoval dug out a Verlander curveball and hit it off the wall just inside the right-field foul pole for a triple.
I don’t get many triples,” the Panda said. “We had some fun with that in the dugout.”
Just like that, it was 5-0 National League.
Cabrera grounded out to second in the second. Posey popped out to catcher Mike Napoli in the third and Pablo Sandoval flied to center in the fourth.
But Cabrera capped the exciting night for the Giants by hammering a two-run homer to left off the Rangers’ Matt Harrison, making it 8-0.
That home run made Cabrera the first Giant to be selected All-Star Game MVP since Bobby Bonds in 1973 in a game also played in Kansas City.
“I didn’t come to win an MVP. That’s just a surprise,” he said. “The same opportunity that Kansas City gave me last year is the same opportunity that San Francisco is giving me every day to showcase my talent. Again, I’m just very thankful for the fans that voted for me to come here.”
He can also thank Jose Bautista for the MVP trophy and the Camaro that came with it.
Bautista made a nifty sliding catch on a looper off the bat of Braun in the second inning. If Bautista doesn’t make that play, Braun finishes the night 3 for 3 with a single, double and triple … and likely with an MVP honor.
After all the Giants left the game, the All-Star Game went quiet.
Cain earned the victory, becoming the first Giants pitcher to earn an All-Star win since Vida Blue in 1981.
“For those guys to go out and score five runs in the first inning was definitely a little more relaxing for me,” he said. “But I still tried to stay focused.”
Giants All-Star MVPs
- Willie Mays, 1963 (Cleveland)
- Juan Marichal, 1965 (Minnesota)
- Willie Mays, 1968 (Houston)
- Willie McCovey, 1969 (Washington)
- Bobby Bonds, 1973 (Kansas City)
- Melky Cabrera, 2012 (Kansas City)
Giants All-Star winning pitchers
- Sal Maglie, 1951 (Detroit)
- Johnny Antonelli, 1959 (Pittsburgh)
- Stu Miller, 1961 (San Francisco)
- Juan Marichal, 1962 (Washington)
- Juan Marichal, 1964 (New York-Shea)
- Gaylord Perry, 1966 (St. Louis)
- Vida Blue, 1981 (Cleveland)
During the All-Star Selection Show Sunday, one of the panelists disagreed with the election of Pablo Sandoval over David Wright, even going so far as to scold Mets fans for not getting out the vote for their man.
But you can’t blame Mets fans. When it came to All-Star votes — especially online — San Francisco Giants fans belted a grand slam.
The final all-star vote in the NL was knocked black and orange.
Buster Posey went from having 3.3 million votes and leading Yadier Molina by a little more than 200,000 votes last week to finishing with an NL-record 7.6 million votes. Posey was the leading vote-getter in the National League. He outdistanced Molina by more than 2.5 million votes.
Last week, Melky Cabrera lost as the No. 3 vote-getter in the outfield to Ryan Braun. In the final tally, Cabrera was the top vote-getter among NL outfielders. Cabrera collected 7.5 million votes, a little less than 100,000 votes behind Posey. Cabrera finished more than 1 million votes ahead of No. 2 outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Sandoval went from trailing Wright by more than 400,000 votes to beating Wright by more than 1.6 million votes. Sandoval collected 5.7 million votes.
Oh, and it didn’t stop there. Two other Giants — 1B Brandon Belt and SS Brandon Crawford — finished second in voting at their respective positions. Belt finished more than 3 million votes behind the Reds’ Joey Votto. However, Crawford missed being voted the starting NL shortstop by a little more than 306,000 votes.
Outfielder Angel Pagan finished fifth among outfielders (4.5 million). Aubrey Huff was 14th (1.9 million). Freddy Sanchez, who has not played a big-league game in more than a year, finished fourth among second baseman (2.289 million votes).
It’s the first time since 2001 that the Giants have had three players voted All-Star starters (Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and Rich Aurilia). Coincidentally, Bonds, Kent and Aurilia are expected at AT&T Park Sunday as the Giants commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 2002 NL championship squad.
Congrats to Buster, the Melkman and the Panda, and also to Matt Cain, who was named to the All-Star team.
Here is the NL All-Star team:
C – Buster Posey, Giants; 1B – Joey Votto, Reds; 2B – Dan Uggla, Braves; SS – Rafael Furcal, Cardinals; 3B – Pablo Sandoval, Giants; OF – Matt Kemp, Dodgers; OF – Carlos Beltran, Cardinals; OF – Melky Cabrera, Giants.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; Craig Kimbrel, Braves; Aroldis Chapman, Reds; Cole Hamels, Phillies; Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies; Wade Miley, Diamondbacks; Gio Gonzalez, Nationals; Stephen Strasburg, Nationals; R.A. Dickey, Mets; Matt Cain, Giants; Lance Lynn, Cardinals; Joel Hanrahan, Pirates; Huston Street, Padres
1B Bryan Lahair, Cubs; 2B Jose Altuve, Astros; SS Starlin Castro, Cubs; SS Ian Desmond, Nationals; 3B David Wright, Mets; C Carlos Ruiz, Phillies; C Yadier Molina, Cardinals; OF Jay Bruce, Reds; OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; OF Ryan Braun, Brewers; OF Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins; OF Andrew McCutchen.