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Giants fall to Braves 12-11, finish trip 1-7

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 06:27:05 UT

Giants fall to Braves 12-11, finish trip 1-7 The Giants waited through a 1-hour, 26-minute rain delay Thursday night, fell to the Braves 12-11 in a game that ended at 12:39 a.m. Friday and were to fly all night, arrive in San Francisco around sunrise and sleep fast because they’re opening a homestand Friday night. The Braves and MLB would have done the Giants a favor by agreeing to a day game Thursday. “That’s terrible,” said Matt Cain, the player rep and losing pitcher. The rest of their Eastern trips end with day games, and starting next season, the collective bargaining agreement will assure all games in the East will be played in the day if a team has a game in the West the following day. Thursday’s series finale at SunTrust Park didn’t do much to sway folks from the NBA draft, at least for a while. Cain lasted four innings and gave up seven runs on 10 hits, including three home runs, and reliever Bryan Morris gave up another five runs without completing an inning. Crick, who converted to relieving after struggling with command as a starter, issued no walks. “That’s what I started out with in spring training, to see how many strikes I could throw,” Crick said. Buster Posey hit a home run and and doubled twice, and Joe Panik and Brandon Belt also homered. [...] in the inning, Lane Adams hit his first big-league homer, a three-run shot against Morris.




Despite subpar numbers, Brandon Belt stays positive

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 05:01:02 UT

Despite subpar numbers, Brandon Belt stays positive ATLANTA — Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has been making better contact lately, or so it appears, but the results aren’t always evident. Make a perfect shot in basketball, the ball goes in the hoop. Hit the ball on the barrel in baseball, it doesn’t always fall. Belt is hitting .226 with a .342 on-base percentage — both down significantly from his career numbers entering the season (.272, .359). “My goal is to go up there and look for a pitch and hit the ball hard,” Belt said. [...] Belt leads the Giants in hard contact, according to Statcast, which measures these things and ranks him tops on the team in exit velocity and barreled-ball percentage. Through it all, Belt’s trying to stay positive. Through experience, I’ve been there before where you let the past performance bring you down. Austin Slater is hitting .323since his June 2 promotion to the big leagues and .378 in his past 12 games. [...] notice, manager Bruce Bochy said, Slater is the left fielder. Too small a sample size here. [...] he’s carrying himself well, getting good swings off, playing good defense and throwing up some pretty good at-bats. [...] baseman Eduardo Nuñez (left hamstring) will be examined Friday, and there’s a chance he’ll go on the disabled list and be replaced by Conor Gillaspie. John Shea is The San Francisco Chronicle’s national baseball writer. Bruce Bochy on Ty Blach, Friday’s starter: He’s been the silver lining.



On Brandon Belt and his barreled-bat percentage and exit velocity

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 01:26:49 UT

ATLANTA - Brandon Belt has been making better contact lately, or so it appears, but the results aren’t always evident. Make a perfect shot in basketball, the ball goes in the hoop. Belt was out of the lineup in Thursday’s series finale at SunTrust Park because the Braves started a lefty, Jaime Garcia, and manager Bruce Bochy wanted to keep Buster Posey, third in the league in hitting, in the lineup. The start of the game was delayed 1 hour and 26 minutes because of rain, and the team is looking at a postgame coast-to-coast flight and arriving at San Francisco after 3 a.m. Then it’s sleep fast and suit up for Monday night’s homestand opener against the Mets. Belt is hitting .224 with a .339 on-base percentage - both down significantly from his career numbers entering the season (.272, .359). [...] Belt leads the Giants in hard contact, according to Statcast, which measures these things and ranks him tops on the team in exit velocity and barreled-ball percentage. [...] notice, Bochy said, Slater is the left fielder. [...] he’s carrying himself well, getting good swings off, playing good defense and throwing up some pretty good at-bats. Nuñez will be examined in San Francisco on Friday, and there’s a a chance he’ll go on the disabled list and be replaced by Conor Gillaspie. Giants lineup: 3B Tomlinson, 2B Panik, RF Pence, 1B Posey, LF Slater, SS Crawford, C Hundley, CF Hernandez, RH Cain.



Giants lose in 11; don’t blame Samardzija

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 06:09:58 UT

Jeff Samardzija was the latest pitcher to add to the Giants’ total Wednesday night by yielding three runs in seven innings, but it came in the Giants’ rain-delayed 5-3 loss to the Braves, so what good was it? Hunter Pence’s ninth-inning home run made it 3-3, giving the Giants hope for their first winning streak since May 27-28. [...] Matt Kemp won it in the 11th on a two-run homer off Cory Gearrin, who walked Nick Markakis with one out. For the third time in the series, a Giant had a quality start, which is defined as six or more innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs allowed. The Giants are 1-2 in those games, including a Johnny Cueto loss in the opener, proving a quality start can be meaningless if it doesn’t come with run support. Thanks to Pence’s tying homer, Samardzija, who threw just 79 pitches, didn’t get the loss. All while leading the staff in innings, with a strikeout-to-walk ratio that’s off the charts. “You look at the numbers, the walks, the strikeouts, the body of work he’s given us, he’s really thrown the ball well,” manager Bruce Bochy said. The Braves homered twice off Samardzija, Matt Adams’ two-run blast in the fourth and Tyler Flowers’ solo shot. Brandon Belt tripled home Pence in the second — the Giants’ lone hit with runners in scoring position — and Denard Span tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the eighth.



Eduardo Nuñez wants to stay with Giants

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:30:42 UT

Eduardo Nuñez wants to stay with Giants ATLANTA — Third baseman Eduardo Nuñez is hoping for a longer-term relationship with the Giants, even though he might be mentioned in trade talk before the July 31 deadline and even though he’ll be a free agent after the season. The coaches, unbelievable. When you’re around a lot of good players, you want to get better. Nuñez, one of the Giants’ rare threats on the bases, has been slowed with left hamstring tightness and will be examined Friday in San Francisco. If he still has issues, he’ll be placed on the 10-day disabled list. Rather than playing one position every day elsewhere, Nuñez said he’d rather remain a Giant even in a super utility role — he has played third, short, second, left and right since arriving in July — because he envisions the Giants winning again in the near future. [...] base has been Nuñez’s main spot with the Giants, but he knows they anticipate Christian Arroyo eventually taking over there, and other jobs on the infield are taken. “He’s a lot of fun ... plays the game with passion,” manager Bruce Bochy said. Madison Bumgarner threw 35 pitches in a two-inning simulated game in Arizona — 20 pitches in the first inning, 15 in the second — and his next assignment is Sunday, when he’ll pitch three innings in an Arizona rookie league game. The next step after that is starting a minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento or Class A San Jose. John Shea is The San Francisco Chronicle’s national baseball writer. Mets Mets The Giants’ 16-inning scoreless streak to open play at Suntrust Park was their longest in any of the 107 road facilities in which they played since their 1883 inception, according to Elias Sports Bureau.



Giants’ Nuñez wants to get healthy, stay in SF

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 23:51:20 UT

Giants’ Nuñez wants to get healthy, stay in SF ATLANTA - Third baseman Eduardo Nuñez is hoping for a longer-term relationship with the Giants even though he might be mentioned in trade talk before the July 31 deadline, even though he’ll be a free agent after the season. Nuñez, one of the Giants’ rare threats on the bases, has been slowed with left hamstring tightness and will be examined Friday in San Francisco. If he still has issues, he’ll be placed on the 10-day disabled list. Nuñez said he’d rather be out a short time now than risk further injury and miss two months. Rather than playing one position every day elsewhere, Nuñez said he’d rather remain a Giant even in a super utility role - he has played third, short, second, left and right since arriving last July -- because he envisions the Giants winning again in the near future. [...] base has been Nuñez’s main spot with the Giants, but he knows they anticipate Christian Arroyo eventually taking over the position, and other jobs on the infield are taken. With the trade deadline approaching, the Giants must weigh Nuñez’s value and whether they could replace his speed, which isn’t a team strength. John Shea is The San Francisco Chronicle’s national baseball writer.



Giants beat Braves; not a misprint

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 06:33:06 UT

Brandon Belt hit a ball, and the second baseman threw it to the shortstop, who dropped it. After the two misplays, Austin Slater hit a three-run home run to erase a two-run deficit, and the Giants beat the Braves 6-3 on Tuesday night, their first win since June 11. End of a seven-game losing streak? “We got a couple of breaks with the ground attack, and Slater bailed us out,” manager Bruce Bochy said. Both could thank Slater for putting them in advantageous positions with his eighth-inning homer, which turned the momentum and ignited a five-run rally. Two of the Giants’ runs were unearned as the Braves’ defense collapsed in the eighth, making three errors. Brandon Belt hit a possible double-play ball to second baseman Brandon Phillips, whose throw to shortstop Dansby Swanson was dropped. In Monday’s opener, he was robbed by the Braves on two diving catches and seemingly again by an umpire calling him out at second for not being on the bag after sliding in with an apparent double. For Moore, who pitched one batter into the eighth inning, it was his first road win since Sept. 11.




Kyle Crick replaces Derek Law in Giants’ bullpen

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 06:07:44 UT

Kyle Crick replaces Derek Law in Giants’ bullpen ATLANTA — Kyle Crick made a full-time transition from starter to reliever this year and put up his best minor-league numbers. Tuesday, he was rewarded with a promotion to the big leagues for the first time, proving the conversion was the right move. Crick took the roster spot of Derek Law, who was optioned a day after he gave up four runs without retiring a batter. Law, who was targeted in spring training as closer Mark Melancon’s setup man, has a 5.40 ERA. “It’s been a tough go for him, tough sledding,” manager Bruce Bochy said. Crick, 24, the 49th overall draft choice in 2011, struggled with command as a starter at Double-A Richmond, where he spent three seasons, and opened this season as a Triple-A Sacramento reliever, thanks to a solid spring training. A difference with relieving, according to Crick: I kind of like not knowing when I’m going to pitch. Also: I could hear the fans the last couple of strikes. Bochy said Crick will pitch middle relief but is open to using him in other roles with Law gone and Hunter Strickland serving a suspension. Eduardo Nuñez felt more hamstring tightness and went for an MRI exam. Bochy said he doesn’t think Nuñez will need to go on the disabled list. Buster Posey failed to reach base in a road game for the first time this season. ... The Giants ended a 16-inning scoreless streak. The Giants signed their first pick, Puerto Rico high school outfielder Heliot Ramos (19th overall), for $3.1 million, according to multiple reports.



Giants’ Bochy reacts to Maddon’s comments on Posey

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:19:41 UT

ATLANTA — It has been six years, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon cited Buster Posey’s season-ending collision in 2011 when defending Anthony Rizzo for his part in a collision at the plate in Monday night’s Cubs-Padres game. “I’m really confused by why it gained so much attention only except for the fact that Buster Posey got hurt a couple years ago,” Maddon said Tuesday on a Chicago radio station. According to the rule, “A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher.” Again,” Maddon said in an interview on 670 the Score, referring to the Posey collision, “it’s all precipitated by one play that happened several years ago that to me was just bad technique on the part of the catcher, so that’s where I get really flustered by this conversation, because to me it should not even exist. After Posey got knocked over by the Marlins’ Scott Cousins in a gruesome collision and suffered major ankle and leg injuries, Bochy spoke out in favor of a rule to protect catchers, as did Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, a former catcher whose career was cut short by concussions. [...] Bochy stressed he wasn’t simply backing Posey but all catchers and cited Gary Bennett, a catcher he managed in San Diego who was plowed over in 2003 by the Dodgers’ Brian Jordan, who previously played in the NFL. Greene, a Giants catcher in 2006, was knocked over by Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder and suffered a shoulder injury that cut short his career. The rule, enacted before the 2014 season, states a catcher cannot block the path of a runner unless he has possession of the ball, and a runner can be called out if he deviates from his path, even if the catcher drops the ball.




Giants demote Law, call up Crick

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 18:30:25 UT

The disappointing Giants, in their most disappionting stretch of one of their most disappointing seasons, demoted reliever Derek Law to Triple-A Sacramento a day after he gave up four runs without retiring a batter. Crick, 24, the 49th overall draft choice in 2011, was converted to a reliever after struggling as a starter and had a 2.76 ERA and six saves in 24 outings at Sacramento. Law has given up 12 earned runs in his last 8 2/3 innings to balloon his ERA to 5.40 ERA.



Giants lose again; how long will Cueto stick around?

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 05:57:06 UT

ATLANTA — As the Giants enter the summer months and approach the trade deadline, they’ll be making decisions they haven’t made in a long time — at least since they started their run of three championships in five years. Among the scouts in attendance for Monday’s series opener at the new SunTrust Park, won by the Braves 9-0, were those focusing on Cueto, who pitched well over seven innings and can opt out of his contract after this season. In dropping seven straight games and 16 of 20, the Giants show no signs of turning around their season, and it’s questionable whether they’ll bounce back in 2018 either. If the Giants believe they’d lose the 31-year-old pitcher, moving his large contract before the July 31 trade deadline seems logical, especially because of how they’ve been exposed and the number of holes they need to fill. For any team failing to reach expectations, roster turnover can be the next step. Cueto echoed Posey’s thoughts that much of the schedule remains and said, “I know there is a winning streak there somewhere, and I just feel sad the way the season is going.” The Giants might not get prized prospects in return, but perhaps they could get upgrades somewhere. The Yankees and Cubs have been mentioned among teams seeking a starter. [...] notice, Cueto will wear orange and black.




MLB denies Stricklandin bid to cut 6-game ban

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 05:28:43 UT

ATLANTA — Hunter Strickland and the Giants finally got word on the relief pitcher’s appeal on his six-game suspension: denied. Strickland will miss the four-game series in Atlanta, which started Monday night, and the first two games of the homestand against the Mets. Strickland’s appeal wasn’t heard until last Tuesday, and his actions were considered more severe than Harper’s by MLB, which suspended the pitcher for “intentionally hitting Harper with a pitch, inciting the bench-clearing incident and fighting.” Asked whether it’s unfair that one person in a fight got his suspension reduced and the other didn’t, Strickland said, I can’t really control any of that. Strickland can be in uniform pregame and participate in team workouts but must be out of uniform and away from the team by game time. The Giants wasted a prime first-inning opportunity to score after Denard Span doubled and Eduardo Nuñez, who returned after missing three games with hamstring tightness, hit an infield single. ... Brandon Belt hit what appeared to be a double in the second inning but was out for not being on the bag after his slide. The Giants called for a review, but it wasn’t overturned. Belt was also robbed twice on diving plays by Matt Kemp and Brandon Phillips. ... With the Braves pitching R.A. Dickey, Gorkys Hernandez started in left field over hot-hitting Austin Slater. Hernandez was 4-for-10 against knuckleballers, and Bruce Bochy didn’t want Slater to mess up his swing pursuing pitches that appear like butterflies. John Shea is The San Francisco Chronicle’s national baseball writer. Ex-Giant Ryan Vogelsong, who lives in the area, dropped by the clubhouse to visit old pals. Released by the Twins in spring training, he doesn’t plan a comeback and is considering his next path.



Appeal denied: Giants’ Strickland must serve 6-game suspension

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 00:03:24 UT

ATLANTA — Hunter Strickland and the Giants finally got word on the relief pitcher’s appeal for his six-game suspension. Major League Baseball upheld its original ruling Monday, and the suspension will begin immediately. Strickland will miss the four-game series in Atlanta, which started Monday night, and the first two games of the next homestand against the Mets. Strickland and the Nationals’ Bryce Harper were suspended for their May 29 brawl at AT&T Park. Strickland’s actions were considered more severe by MLB — “intentionally hitting Harper with a pitch, inciting the bench-clearing incident and fighting.” According to the rules, Strickland can be in uniform pregame and participate in team workouts but must be out of uniform and away from the team by game time. The suspension comes after the Giants’ four-game series in Denver, where bullpens tend to get overworked. The Giants didn’t need to play with a 24-man roster but got swept anyway.



Giants pitcher Ty Blach’s Father’s Day gift to his dad

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 18:40:54 UT

Giants pitcher Ty Blach’s Father’s Day gift to his dad “That was pretty special, especially because it’s Father’s Day,” Blach, a Denver native, said of his first Coors Field start. With a bunch of family and friends in attendance, Blach took a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning before surrendering two home runs and exiting. Hunter Pence’s homer in the ninth put the Giants ahead, but Nolan Arenado hit a walk-off homer against closer Mark Melancon. “My dad and I spent countless hours out on the field, taking extra batting practice, getting extra swings, taking me to pitching lessons, whatever it was,” Blach said. Blach made his big-league debut at Coors Field in September, out of the bullpen, and made another relief appearance here in April, before he replaced Madison Bumgarner in the rotation. Pitching a mile above sea level was nothing new for Blach. “Ty did a terrific job,” manager Bruce Bochy said. Jarrett Parker (shoulder) will begin his minor-league rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Sacramento. ... Arenado has four career walk-off hits, and the Giants are three-time victims. ... Arenado was the fifth player in history whose walk-off homer completed a cycle. Infielder Christian Arroyo was placed on the disabled list at Triple-A Sacramento a few days after he was hit on the hand by a pitch. X-rays were negative, but he remains sore.



Giants lose again to Rockies, Mark Melancon blows save chance

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 03:23:46 UT

Melancon threw a first-pitch fastball to Nolan Arenado, who hit his second career walk-off home run and completed his first career cycle to send the Giants out of town with a 7-5 loss. Melancon accepted a $62 million contract in the offseason to erase last season’s bullpen problems, though the Giants’ woes run far deeper than a single reliever. Melancon retired his first batter but yielded four straight hits to blow his fourth save opportunity (he has converted seven) and balloon his ERA to 5.09. [...] the talk with Posey, the 2012 MVP, four-time All-Star and three-time world champion. Arenado sent it 374 feet over the left-field wall for a three-run homer, and the Giants lost their sixth in a row and 15th in 19 games. Hunter Pence hit his first career pinch homer in the top of the ninth to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead, and Brandon Crawford added an RBI single. [...] what could be said of Melancon, who insisted his elbow (he was on the disabled list last month) is fine and his recent inactivity (no save opportunities since June 8) didn’t affect him? The postgame clubhouse was more quiet than normal except for a few cuss words heard in the distance, a few beer bottles opening, a few packed bags tossed into the middle of the room and one player murmuring the start of a tune, “Oh, happy day. ...” In the manager’s office, Bruce Bochy said Melancon threw good pitches, and balls weren’t hit hard until Arenado homered.