Bay Area Baseball

Follow the latest news and notes on the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics

October 22, 2013
Giants, Lincecum agree to terms on two-year deal

The Giants and right-hander Tim Lincecum have agreed to terms on a deal that will keep one of the team's most familiar faces in orange and black for at least the next two seasons.

TIM.jpegThe parties agreed to terms on a two-year deal covering the 2014-15 seasons pending a physical, a team official announced today. The date of the physical is still to be determined.

Terms of the deal were not announced, though multiple outlets reported the deal is for $35 million. Lincecum (pictured), the two-time Cy Young Award winner, is 89-70 with a 3.46 ERA in seven seasons in his career with the Giants and went 10-14 with a 4.37 ERA in 2013.

Lincecum was due to become a free agent for the first time in his career. He went 20-29 over the last two seasons but remained adamant toward the end of this past season that he wants to remain a starter for now and did throw his first career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in July.

The Giants have now taken care of their top two offseason priorities, per general manager Brian Sabean in his end-of-season news conference. The Giants also inked right fielder Hunter Pence to a five-year deal just before the season ended.

Video: Lincecum celebrates throwing a no-hitter:

Tim Lincecum's career major league statistics.

- Matt Kawahara

September 30, 2013
Bay Area teams sweep Player of the Month awards

Giants right fielder Hunter Pence, who on Sunday signed a new five-year contract and had the walk-off hit in the Giants' 7-6 season-ending win over the San Diego Padres, was named National League Player of the Month today, while A's third baseman Josh Donaldson was named the recipient of the American League award.

Pence led all players with 32 RBIs in September, establishing a new San Francisco-era record for the month, and a .667 slugging percentage while tying with Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman for the most homers in the majors with 11.

Pence's week also included winning the Willie Mac Award, given to the Giants' most inspirational player, and becoming the first Giant since Alvin Dark in 1954 to start every game of the regular season.

Donaldson batted .337 in September with five homers, 16 RBIs and 20 runs while helping the A's win the A.L. West for the second consecutive year. Donaldson finished the regular season having played in 158 games while batting .301 with 24 homers and 93 RBIs, and has emerged for some as a dark-horse MVP candidate.

Before Donaldson, the last A's player to win Player of the Month was another third baseman -- Eric Chavez, back in September 2001. The last Giant to receive the N.L. award was Buster Posey in July 2010.

Kris Medlen of the Braves and Ubaldo Jimenez of the Indians were named the N.L. and A.L. Pitchers of the Month, respectively, while right-hander Gerrit Cole of the Pirates and right fielder Wil Myers of the Rays were named the Rookies of the Month.

-- Matt Kawahara

September 29, 2013
Giants walk off in season finale, finish tied for third in West

SAN FRANCISCO -- Anyone who looks back at the Giants' 2013 season finale in future years will see that the defending champion Giants beat the San Diego Padres, 7-6, with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to cinch a decidedly pedestrian third-place tie between the two teams in the National League West.

To view it that way will be to miss a lot.

The final two innings of the Giants' final game this season, on a hazy-then-crystal-clear afternoon at AT&T Park, packed in about as many turns and as much drama as a capacity crowd could have hoped for on Fan Appreciation Day. It's Sept. 29, and the Giants are going home. But they're leaving on a high note and one last wave of walk-off adrenaline.

"It was a great way to finish," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Felt like a playoff game out there.

"I think these guys really wanted a piece of third place."

September 29, 2013
Giants formalize Pence deal, turn attention to Lincecum

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants officially announced Hunter Pence's five-year deal at a news conference this morning at AT&T Park prior to the last game of the season. Pence is in the starting lineup for the 162nd time this year -- he'll become the first Giants player since Alvin Dark in 1954 to start every game of the regular season.

This morning, though, was about a different number -- five, which will keep Pence in a Giants uniform through 2018. Various news outlets have reported the deal is for $90 million.

"It's safe to say I'm extremely excited," Pence said. "This is an enormous day, I waited a long time to have an opportunity to choose where I wanted to sign.

"There were a lot of things that came into this decision to get this done before going into free agency, and I think a big part of that, number one, is I realize how brilliant this organization is. I know they're here to win. At the end of the day fans want to see us win, we play this game as competitors to win and I think there's a hunger here, a confidence and a championship mentality.

September 28, 2013
Eventful day for Hunter Pence ends with clubhouse negotiation

SAN FRANCISCO -- Quite an eventful Friday for Hunter Pence. First he found out he had won the Willie Mac Award as the Giants' most inspirational player, with his mother and brother both flying in to congratulate him. Then he homered in the Giants' 7-3 win over the Padres, snapping an 0-for-27 streak. Then, after the game, he had an extended conversation in the clubhouse with team President and CEO Larry Baer, which led some media members gathered nearby to jokingly wonder if the two were negotiating Pence's next contract.

Or it seemed to be joking, anyway. Pence, the impending free agent, disappeared for a while before returning to talk with the media, and was asked if he and Baer had hammered out a new deal.

"I don't know," Pence said. "They're about to get back to me. ... We're either really close or really far away."

He said he was being serious. Asked then if he thinks a deal could be reached before the Giants go their separate ways for the offseason, Pence said: "Yeah. I don't know. I'll know shortly.

"We'll just say that we're talking, I guess."

September 27, 2013
Hunter Pence named winner of 2013 Willie Mac Award

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants right fielder Hunter Pence was named this year's winner of the Willie Mac Award, given to the Giants' most inspirational player, during an on-field ceremony prior to tonight's game against the San Diego Padres.

The award is voted on by Giants players, coaches, training staff and fans. Pence has started all 160 games this season and this weekend can become the first Giants player in the San Francisco era to start every regular-season game in a season. Alvin Dark was the last Giant to do so, in 1954.

"It's tough to really quantify how much this means to me in my heart," Pence told the AT&T Park crowd after receiving the award. "My heart has never felt better than when my teammates have put me up in front of you today."

Pence, who began Friday batting .282 with 25 homers and 93 RBIs, will be a free agent after the season, and general manager Brian Sabean said during his end-of-season press conference Friday that the Giants have begun negotiations with Pence for next year.

Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, for whom the award is named, joined a handful of past recipients on the field for the ceremony and also addressed the crowd, saying Pence is one of his favorite players and adding: "I know along with me, all of you wish he's back next year."

Pence thanked several groups including the fans and his teammates, saying during the latter: "Buster (Posey), I know you don't like it when I say I love you -- you think it's soft -- but I actually think it's the strongest thing we've got."

After the presentation, the Giants played a video montage of Pence highlights set to Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."

-- Matt Kawahara

September 27, 2013
Sabean reflects on Giants' season, shares priorities for 2014

SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the lasting images of the Giants' 2013 season will be that of center fielder Angel Pagan sprinting around the bases at AT&T Park and diving headfirst into home for an inside-the-park home run to beat the Rockies on May 25.

When the dust settled, the Giants were 27-22 and tied for first place in the West. Pagan, though, would not play again for 84 games with a hamstring injury that required surgery. The Giants, meanwhile, spent one more day tied for first before entering a prolonged tailspin that scuttled their World Series title defense and left them battling the San Diego Padres for third place when the two teams met Friday to begin their final series of 2013.

It was one instance of what general manager Brian Sabean pointed to Friday when asked how a team that hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy last October fell so precipitously this season.

"I think it's pretty simple -- we didn't have enough depth," Sabean said during a news conference at AT&T Park. "Last year we seemingly were able to overcome injury and lack of performance. We didn't do that this year.

"We didn't get any kind of life raft help from the minor leagues, whether that was the fifth starter or what we went through in left or center. So lack of depth became an issue."

September 26, 2013
As season ends, Lincecum 'trying to be open-minded' on future

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's been a somewhat odd contrast the last couple nights at AT&T Park. On Wednesday, there was a pervading understanding that those in attendance were witnessing Barry Zito's last start as a Giant, a feeling of finality to Zito's comments after the game, and yet there was no sendoff moment as Zito was lifted for a pinch hitter after just five innings and 77 pitches.

Thursday night, the announced crowd of 41,221 seemed intent on seizing every possible chance of showing their appreciation for Tim Lincecum, who will be a free agent when this season is over. They gave him a standing ovation after he put down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth. They did again as he left the mound in the seventh, his final inning. And yet following what may have been Lincecum's final start as a Giant, nobody wanted to shut the door on his tenure in San Francisco.

"It just felt like the last start of a season," Lincecum said. "Not anything more than that."

"We don't know what's going to happen," said manager Bruce Bochy. "But I was very happy for him with the job that he did tonight.

September 26, 2013
Giants, Dodgers lineups: Lincecum makes final start of 2013

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy didn't want to discuss the possibility of tonight being Tim Lincecum's final start as a Giant.

"I don't want to go into that too much because I certainly hope that Timmy is back with us," Bochy said. "Timmy has been such a pleasure all my years here, and I hope that continues."

Lincecum, of course, will be a free agent when the season ends. He'll make his last start of 2013 tonight in the series finale against the Dodgers, attempting to avoid tying his career high of 15 losses set last season. Lincecum is currently 10-14 with a 4.44 ERA.

It will be Lincecum's 22nd career start -- and 23rd appearance -- against the Dodgers. He's 9-6 with a 2.94 ERA in thouse outings, with the ERA being the fifth-lowest against the Dodgers of all active pitchers. The record would probably be better had it not included so many duels with Clayton Kershaw.

Here's the Giants' lineup behind Lincecum tonight. Pablo Sandoval was originally in the lineup, but was scratched after arriving at the park with flu-like symptoms.

September 26, 2013
Zito closes 2013 with a win, reflects on seven years as a Giant

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Zito wasn't ready for it to end. Not his start Wednesday night, not his season, not his tenure in a Giants uniform.

Not after just five innings and 77 pitches from an arm that, with the exception of one stint on the disabled list, made every start asked of it since it inked a seven-year, $126 million contract back before the 2007 season. Not with a 5-2 lead against the Dodgers and, in his ears, the cheers of a fan base that so often it seemed he would never win over under the weight of that contract -- until he did last year, over the course of two starts.

"I felt good out there," Zito said Wednesday night. "I wanted to keep going. I wanted to throw a complete game. Last time in a Giants uniform, I wanted to end it in style."

But the ending, when it came, was abrupt. After a brief conversation with Zito following the top of the fifth inning, in which Zito "was fighting" to stay in, manager Bruce Bochy elected to pull him with his spot in the order leading off the inning. No opportunity for a curtain call, or one last walk off the mound with the AT&T Park crowd knowing for a fact that it was the end.

"It wasn't a situation where you're thinking about a curtain call, to be honest, as much as doing all you can to win tonight's game," said Bochy, citing that Zito hadn't pitched in a game since Sept. 2 and had taken a line drive off his leg in the fifth.

September 25, 2013
Bumgarner: 'A lot more stuff I can continue to get better at'

SAN FRANCISCO -- In his last start, Giants' left-hander Madison Bumgarner eclipsed the 200-inning mark for the third consecutive season. He also struck out 10 New York Mets to bring his season total to 199 -- where it will stay, after the Giants opted to shut down the 24-year-old left-hander and have Barry Zito start tonight instead.

"They told me it was kind of final and I could tell that, so didn't really try to argue too much," Bumgarner said today. "They're the boss, I'm working for them. So I'm just going to do what they say."

By whatever measure, Bumgarner was the Giants' most consistent starter in 2013, going 13-9 with a career-low 2.77 ERA. He allowed 146 hits in 201 ½ innings and posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio better than 3-to-1, issuing 62 walks alongside the 199 strikeouts.

That he did not match or exceed his total of 16 wins from last season was due in part to a convergence of tough luck and little support. Bumgarner made his first All-Star team with a 10-5 record at the break, but he went 3-4 in 12 second-half starts despite recording a 2.36 ERA.

September 25, 2013
Giants, Dodgers lineups: One more start for Barry Zito

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy wanted to get Barry Zito one more start before the season -- and quite possibly Zito's tenure as a Giant -- ends this weekend. Zito gets that chance tonight against the Dodgers, taking the rotation spot of Madison Bumgarner, who has been shut down for the season.

Zito hasn't pitched since Sept. 2, his last start, in San Diego. Bochy, though, said Zito has maintained regular throwing and took a long bullpen session in New York, so he was prepared when told Tuesday he would be starting this evening.

"He didn't have a lot of notice," Bochy said. "But talking to him last night, he said, 'I'm ready to go. He's been throwing and he's excited about this start. And I'm excited to give him this start."

It's one more chance for Zito, who is 4-11 with a 5.91 ERA, to put a positive finish on an otherwise disappointing year. The Giants hold a club option on Zito for next season, and can elect to pay him a $7 million buyout, which would end Zito's time with the Giants after seven seasons.

August 25, 2013
Vogelsong has best outing of the season in Giants' 4-0 win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Before Sunday, the Giants hadn't won consecutive games at home since July 19-20. It'd been a little longer since they looked like the Giants that many have come to expect the past few years, but for two days to close out this homestand, as Pablo Sandoval put it, it seemed like "all the pieces came together."

Ryan Vogelsong delivered one of the best outings by a Giants starter this season Sunday, throwing eight shutout innings for the first time in his major-league career. The defense made several sharp defensive plays behind him and the lineup finally broke through off A.J. Burnett in the eighth with two clutch hits with runners in scoring position, including Sandoval's two-run triple that turned a one-run game into a 3-0 lead.

There's little for the Giants to play for collectively in September outside of pride and a sense of duty, and at times lately they've simply looked flat. But the rhetoric after they split their series with the first-place Pirates on Sunday was about not treating the rest of the schedule as a string to play out.

"It's exciting," Hunter Pence said of the back-to-back well-played games, "and that's the thing. We have a lot of baseball left to play, a lot of opportunities to progress. ... We're going to go out there and try to treat every game like it's a playoff game."

"We've got time left," echoed Vogelsong, "and we need to play good baseball going into the offseason."

August 25, 2013
Giants, Pirates lineups: Affeldt to begin rehab assignment

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt came out of yesterday's mound throwing session "fine" and is heading to Arizona to begin his rehab throwing schedule, manager Bruce Bochy said. Affeldt will throw a bullpen session Monday, followed by a couple more in Arizona if the first goes well, with the Giants tentatively planning to have him join them in San Diego and face hitters in a simulated game there.

"Hopefully he's ready after that," Bochy said.

Bochy said Matt Cain will also begin rehabbing in Arizona with Affeldt, but there's no throwing schedule for Cain, who was struck on the throwing arm by a line drive in his last start and placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday.

Meanwhile, outfielder Angel Pagan played all nine innings at Triple-A Fresno last night, going 1-for-4, and is on track to be activated Sept. 1.

"He's passed all the tests," Bochy said.

* The Giants' lineup for their series finale against Pittsburgh on what's shaping up to be a beautiful afternoon in San Francisco:

CF Blanco
SS Crawford
C Posey
1B Belt
RF Pence
3B Sandoval
LF Kieschnick
2B Arias
P Vogelsong

August 24, 2013
Timely hits and just enough Timmy in Giants' 6-3 win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum wasn't at his best Saturday night, but he had his moments. After the Giants staked him to a four-run lead in the first inning, Lincecum came back out for the top of the second and struck out the side. After walking the first two hitters he faced in the fourth, he pitched out of trouble with more nasty stuff, freezing cleanup hitter Pedro Alvarez with a fastball and getting Garrett Jones to swing through a changeup to end the inning.

Lincecum didn't get to leave on his terms Saturday -- he issued his fourth walk with one out in the sixth and gave up a double to Alvarez on his 102nd pitch, bringing Bruce Bochy out of the dugout in a 5-1 game. But he did leave to a standing ovation from much of the sellout crowd at AT&T Park -- a scenario that has played out repeatedly over Lincecum's seven seasons in San Francisco, from the Cy Young years to the trying recent ones.

The Giants won for just the fourth time in Lincecum's last 18 starts Saturday. Lincecum improved to 7-13, but entered the game tied for the league lead in losses and could very well still eclipse his career high of 15, which he set last season. And yet the adulation has not worn off from a fan base that turned out again Saturday to watch a last-place team beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 behind their erstwhile ace.

"He's earned that," manager Bruce Bochy said. "You look at what he's done since he's been here, Cy Youngs, helping us win two World Series. It says a lot about our fans how they stay behind these guys. It's easy to like the players when they're going good and when they have their moments."

August 24, 2013
Giants, Pirates lineups: Belt, Crawford rest against Liriano

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandons Belt and Crawford are both getting a day off against Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano, who has been extremely tough against left-handed hitters this season. Liriano, the former Minnesota Twin and Giants farmhand, is holding lefties to a .137 average during a resurgent season in which he is 14-5 with a 2.53 ERA for the Pirates. Liriano went 6-12 in 28 starts for the Twins and White Sox in 2012.

That means Joaquin Arias at shortstop and Buster Posey at first tonight, with Hector Sanchez doing the catching. Gregor Blanco is the lone lefty in the lineup (aside from Tim Lincecum) -- Bochy said he considered starting Francisco Peguero in center but, with Brett Pill getting the start in left field, that would have been too much inexperience in the outfield behind Lincecum.

Here's the full Giants lineup against Liriano:

2B Scutaro
SS Arias
1B Posey
RF Pence
LF Pill
3B Sandoval
C Sanchez
CF Blanco
P Lincecum

And the Pirates lineup against Lincecum:

August 21, 2013
Bochy on 12-1 loss: 'I do think we drifted mentally a little bit'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Even manager Bruce Bochy sounded puzzled by the question that was probably on a lot of people's minds who were at AT&T Park for the Giants' 12-1 loss in their series finale against the Boston Red Sox: How does a team that brought so many key pieces back go from winning the World Series one year to looking like they did Wednesday -- offensively inept and at times just fundamentally unsound?

"Every year's different, you understand that," Bochy said. "But still we have a lot of the same club back and for us to probably make so many mistakes I think on the mental side or even physically, I think that has surprised us as much as anything.

"As far as holding up, we're trying to stay positive through this. We're trying to finish on a good note and it's going to be important that we do. We're trying to push that on everybody. I know we looked flat, we looked bad today, but I know they came out and they were going to do all they could to win the game. It just got away from us. It's not lack of effort. It's not."

At times, though, it was lack of executing the basics. A failure to get an out on a sacrifice bunt. A pop-up that fell between three defenders in shallow right field. A hittable pitch to the No. 8 hitter with two outs and an American League pitcher on deck. A double-play ball fielded cleanly and then thrown into center field.

"Today at times I do think we drifted mentally a little bit," Bochy said. "And that shouldn't happen."

August 21, 2013
Giants, Red Sox lineups: Sandoval out, Zito returns to rotation

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval, a late scratch from Tuesday night's lineup with a sore back, is out again today, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy said an MRI on Sandoval came out "clean." Bochy said Sandoval is likely available to pinch-hit today and should be back in the lineup tomorrow when the Pittsburgh Pirates come to town.

In other lineup decisions, Roger Kieschnick gets the start over Gregor Blanco and Brett Pill today in left field even against a left-hander in Boston's Felix Doubront. Kieschnick had three hits Tuesday night. Bochy said he wants Pill to get some more work in left before he starts a game there, particularly during the day when the sun can be tough.

Here's the full Giants lineup for today's finale against the Red Sox, with Barry Zito making his return to the rotation:

CF Torres
2B Scutaro
1B Belt
C Posey
RF Pence
3B Arias
LF Kieschnick
SS Crawford
P Zito

And the Red Sox lineup against Zito:

August 19, 2013
Giants' interleague woes continue in 7-0 loss to Red Sox

SAN FRANCISCO -- Here was an indication of how many Red Sox fans were at AT&T Park on Monday night -- when Dustin Pedroia's line drive to right-center got past Hunter Pence and into Triples Alley, half the crowd still in the first level behind home plate rose to their feet at the possibility of Pedroia trying for an inside-the-park home run.

He didn't, settling for a triple. With David Ortiz batting next, a "Let's go, Red Sox" chant started. When Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to drive in Pedroia, the cheers were at least equal to the "aw's."

And why not? The Red Sox are still playing for a shot at October; the Giants aren't. After Monday night, Boston has the most wins in the American League and looked a lot like a playoff team. Jon Lester allowed six singles and came within two outs of a complete game. Tim Lincecum faced 28 batters against the team with the highest OPS in the majors against right-handed pitchers -- and 14 of them reached base. The Giants put two on with one out in three of the final four innings and couldn't drive anybody in.

"Tonight we just ran into a well-pitched game and our guy wasn't quite on," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're playing a first-place team, and you've got to play your best ball when you're playing a club like this. And we were off tonight."

August 19, 2013
With Red Sox in town, Bochy doesn't relish role of spoiler

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants scored as many runs on their six-game road trip to Washington and Miami (36) as they had in their previous 12 games combined. Pablo Sandoval (11 for 24, seven RBIs) and Hunter Pence (8 for 27, nine RBIs) both broke out while Brandon Belt (8 for 26, two homers, four RBIs) continued his torrid August.

Even Buster Posey showed he might be breaking out of an uncharacteristic slump. Posey went 6-for-16 on the trip after going 9-for-57 (.158) in his previous 16 games, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said this afternoon Posey looked more like his typical self.

"Buster's getting better swings off, got a day off yesterday," Bochy said. "I think he's seeing the ball better."

All in all, the Giants' lineup is showing signs of life -- far too late to turn them into a contender in September. That's a fact underscored by the presence of the Boston Red Sox at AT&T Park this evening -- the A.L.-East leading Red Sox, who are trying to hold off the Tampa Bay Rays in their division and figure to have a drama-loaded month and a half of baseball remaining.

The Giants -- not so much. They're 13 games under .500 and, with the lowest winning percentage in the league since May 14, and 17 games behind the Dodgers in the West. They can still make a mark on the playoff picture, but only a residual one, depending on how they play against teams like the Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates, who come in for four games on Thursday.

Bochy was asked about playing the role of spoiler -- an unfamiliar one around here the past few seasons -- and gave a begrudging answer:

August 11, 2013
Giants' home struggles continue with 10-2 loss to Orioles

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Giants' struggles of 2013 are deconstructed down the road, they'll likely have to be broken down into phases -- the early rotation struggles, the injuries, the midseason swoon brought on by a rampant slump. The last two and a half weeks will go down as the phase of not doing enough to support a starting rotation that is once again performing like in seasons past.

Matt Cain gave the Giants their 13th quality start in 16 games Sunday, retiring 15 of the first 16 hitters he faced and allowing three runs in seven innings -- two on a seventh-inning home run by J.J. Hardy that looked like a routine fly ball before it carried in the San Francisco afternoon over the wall in left field.

And the Giants dropped to 6-10 in those games as the offense did nothing after a two-run first inning and the bullpen imploded in the late innings. Manager Bruce Bochy pointed out himself that it's an explanation he has given several times: "What's encouraging is our starters are doing a real nice job ... but it's just a case where we're not doing a lot offensively."

The Giants scored 17 runs on their seven-game homestand against the Orioles and the Brewers and went 3-4. They haven't won a homestand since May 20-26, when they went 4-2 against the Nationals and the Rockies. They've lost 11 of their last 15 home games, 19 of their last 27, and they're 31-31 at AT&T Park, where they only lost 31 games all of last season.

August 11, 2013
Giants, Orioles lineups: Pagan eyeing September return

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants were five games over .500 and tied for first place the day Angel Pagan legged out an inside-the-park home run to beat the Rockies in the 10th inning on May 25. Pagan hasn't played since. The Giants, meanwhile, spent one more day tied for first, and it has been a steady decline from that point to their current state of 12 games under .500 and 14 behind the Dodgers in the West.

Pagan has been rehabbing in Arizona since undergoing surgery to repair a tendon in his hamstring, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said this morning Pagan could be ready to rejoin the Giants in September.

"He's doing well, he's running bases," Bochy said. "He's getting close."

But Bochy stressed the Giants aren't going to rush Pagan's return. There's no point, with the Giants all but out of the playoff hunt -- and after getting a sense this summer of just how valuable Pagan is atop the Giants' lineup.

When Pagan went down, he was batting .263 with three homers and 24 RBIs out of the leadoff spot in 45 games. Those aren't eye-popping numbers, but Bochy acknowledged that something went missing with Pagan's absence. Gregor Blanco filled in admirably for a couple weeks, but fell off precipitously of late and Andres Torres wasn't much more effective batting first. Marco Scutaro is 3-for-24 in the leadoff spot.

August 10, 2013
Giants get the hit they've searched for in 3-2 win over Orioles

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sergio Romo made an interesting observation after saving the Giants' 3-2 win over the Orioles on Saturday. The win gave the Giants a 6-5 record in their last 11 games, a stretch that began on July 31 -- the date of the trade deadline -- and Romo said that shouldn't be taken as a coincidence.

"Once the trade deadline went it seemed to be more relaxed," Romo said. "You get better results when you're more relaxed, more free, and you're actually going out and enjoying it. And it seemed like we're just enjoying playing baseball."

It's almost certainly too late for that relaxed atmosphere to buoy the Giants into a second-half run that could make them into a factor in September. But as Javier Lopez pointed out Friday night -- and Romo echoed Saturday -- the Giants are playing a style of baseball in the past two weeks that more resembles "the Giants way."

It starts with the pitching. In the 11-game stretch, the Giants have allowed two or fewer runs in six games, including Saturday despite Chad Gaudin not being his usual strike-throwing self. They've won games in that time by scores of 2-1, 4-1 and 3-2. They've also lost by scores of 2-1, 3-1 and 4-3, but they're not getting "crushed," as Lopez said.

That may be little consolation for a team that's still 12 games under .500 and started play Saturday a full 14 games behind the first-place Dodgers -- their largest deficit in the West since the end of the 2007 season. But games like Saturday seem to show the Giants still feel they have something to play for.

August 10, 2013
Giants, Orioles lineups: Hot August keeps Belt third

SAN FRANCISCO -- They say not to mess with a good thing, and right now Brandon Belt is the best thing the Giants' lineup has going for it. So Belt, who's hitting .458 (11-for-24) in August, is batting third again today against a left-hander in the Orioles' Wei-Yin Chen.

"Shoot, the way he's swinging the bat, can't take him out of there," manager Bruce Bochy said of Belt, who has homered in each of the last two games.

Buster Posey catches Chad Gaudin despite it being a day game after a night game since the Giants have a day off Monday. Brandon Crawford still gets the day off today, with Joaquin Arias starting at shortstop.

Here's the full lineup:

2B Scutaro
SS Arias
1B Belt
C Posey
RF Pence
3B Sandoval
RF Francoeur
CF Torres
P Gaudin

And the Orioles' lineup against Gaudin:

LF McLouth
3B Machado
1B Davis
CF Jones
RF Markakis
SS Hardy
2B Flaherty
C Teagarden
P Chen

* Gaudin has allowed two or fewer runs in eight of his 10 starts for the Giants. Overall the rotation has 12 quality starts in the last 14 games, and the Giants are still 5-9 in those games. Four is their magic number. When the offense scores four or more runs this year, the Giants are 40-11.

* The Giants woke up this morning 14 games behind the first-place Dodgers. Last time they were that far out of first in the West -- the last day of the 2007 season, when they finished 71-91 and 19 games behind the Diamondbacks.

-- Matt Kawahara

August 10, 2013
Davis v. Lopez goes Orioles' way in Giants' 5-2, 10-inning loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Prior to Friday night, Javier Lopez had allowed one earned run in his last 37 appearances. Left-handed hitters were batting .169 against him this season in 65 at-bats with four extra-base hits, and six hits in their last 49 at-bats.

So Bruce Bochy said he felt confident walking Adam Jones with a runner on second and two outs in the 10th to bring up major-league home run leader Chris Davis to face Lopez. Lopez got ahead in the count 1-2, but Davis hit a fly ball into the gap in right-center that fell in for a two-run double, the big blow in the Giants' 5-2, 10-inning loss.

"I've got a guy who's throwing the ball very well and instead of having to go to (closer Sergio) Romo at that point (to face Jones) I've got a match-up that you like, a lefty-on-lefty," Bochy said.

"He got a fly ball. (Davis) just hit it where we couldn't get to it. That's a tough break and I think the way Lopez is throwing, we had the right guy out there for the match-up."

Matt Wieters followed with a single off Lopez to score Davis. Lopez has now made 217 appearances since joining the Giants in 2010, and in only three of them has he allowed three or more runs. The last was last May 24, when the Marlins tagged him for four runs in an inning.

August 9, 2013
Giants, Orioles lineups: Belt third, Vogelsong makes his return

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval was out early this afternoon getting in some work with hitting coach Hensley Meulens and with manager Bruce Bochy looking on. Bochy said Sandoval has been over-striding on swings so the work today was trying to "quiet things down."

"He's just been over-striding, getting out there a little too fast, and that's kept him from taking the swing that he normally does," Bochy said.

Sandoval is 3-for-31 over his last eight games and is bumped down to sixth in the Giants' lineup tonight against the Baltimore Orioles. Unlike Brandon Belt, who was given a few days off while the Giants were in Philadelphia to digest and work on some mechanical changes to his swing, Sandoval is staying in the lineup because his issue is just trying to get back to "his normal rhythm, stride, timing," Bochy said.

That means Brandon Belt, who made his first career start batting cleanup yesterday with Buster Posey out, is hitting third tonight ahead of Posey. It's Belt's third major-league start in the No. 3 spot -- and it makes for consecutive Brandons with Brandon Crawford hitting second. Here's the full lineup:

2B Scutaro
SS Crawford
1B Belt
C Posey
RF Pence
3B Sandoval
LF Kieschnick
CF Blanco
P Vogelsong

August 8, 2013
Giants split series with Brewers behind Lincecum, Belt

SAN FRANCISCO -- The word Bruce Bochy used to describe the Giants' 4-1 win over the Brewers on Thursday was "crisp." Tim Lincecum allowed one hit in eight innings, the Giants took a 3-0 first-inning lead on one whip of a swing by Brandon Belt and the game wrapped up in two hours, 29 minutes. Crisp, indeed.

What was the difference after the Giants fell apart in the eighth inning of a 6-1 loss the night before? Bochy said finally getting an early lead -- on the Giants' first home run at AT&T Park in 12 games -- probably helped the team relax, while allowing Lincecum to attack the Brewers without having to worry about one mistake costing him a game. And Lincecum agreed with that.

Lincecum also said, though, that before the game Bochy called the team together simply to stress the importance of coming to the field every day with a purpose and playing all nine innings. Those aren't necessarily things a major-league baseball player needs to be told. But Lincecum acknowledged that when a team is in the kind of tailspin the Giants have had the last two months, "It's one of those things that just needs to be reiterated."

The Giants then went out and delivered some vintage performances, none more so than Lincecum, who gave up a leadoff double to Juan Francisco in the third inning and a one-out walk to Jeff Bianchi in the fifth -- and nothing else. It allowed the Giants to split their four-game series with the Brewers and, for an afternoon, stop trending the wrong way in the division standings.

August 8, 2013
Giants, Brewers lineups: Sanchez recalled, Quiroz DFA'd

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants recalled catcher Hector Sanchez today from Triple-A Fresno, and Sanchez won't have long to settle in. He's starting and catching Tim Lincecum in today's series finale against Milwaukee.

Guillermo Quiroz was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Sanchez, who went on the disabled list in July with a strained right shoulder that had bothered him since spring training and has played 13 games at Fresno since coming off the DL. Sanchez went 7-for-35 in those games but said today the important thing is his shoulder feels as strong as at any point last year, particularly when he's throwing to bases.

Manager Bruce Bochy said it was important for Sanchez to stay at Fresno for a while to get regular playing time before rejoining the Giants, as the injury setbacks this season "slowed down his development." He'll give Buster Posey the occasional day off and give Bochy a switch-hitting pinch-hit option.

Here's the rest of the Giants' lineup today:

2B Scutaro
SS Crawford
3B Sandoval
1B Belt
RF Pence
LF Kieschnick
C Sanchez
CF Blanco
P Lincecum

And the Brewers' lineup against Lincecum:

July 29, 2013
President Obama honors Giants for 2012 World Series victory

The Giants took a break from their tough stretch to revisit a bit of recent glory, making a trip to the White House where President Barack Obama honored them for winning the 2012 World Series. Here's video from the ceremony.

July 28, 2013
Offensive woes persist in 2-1 loss as Giants are swept by Cubs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy said at the start of the Giants' 10-game homestand to start the second half that he didn't want his players thinking about the upcoming games in terms of a homestand -- or even a series. He wanted them focused on the day's game, and when they won the first two against the division-leading Diamondbacks to climb back to within 4 ½ games of first place, it seemed like a sound strategy.

Sunday, after the Giants lost 2-1 to the Cubs to end a three-game sweep and mark their seventh loss in eight games, Bochy was willing to reflect on the homestand as a whole. Asked if it was a missed opportunity, he quickly said: "No question."

The Giants were outscored 31-8 in losing three of four to the Cincinnati Reds, then put up three runs total in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cubs, who came in 10 games under .500. Now the Cubs own two more wins than the Giants, who are 12 games under .500 and in last place in the West, 10 games behind the first-place Dodgers.

"We just didn't play winning baseball," Bochy said. "We had a tough series against (the Reds), found a way to win one game. But this series, this shouldn't happen. To get that kind of pitching and not only not win a game, but to get swept, that shouldn't happen."

The Giants' starters -- Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum -- combined to allow three earned runs in 22 innings in the series, including Lincecum's seven innings of two-run ball Sunday. None, obviously, earned a win, and only Cain left his outing in line for one. The Giants stranded 24 runners in the three games and went a combined 4-for-23 with runners in scoring position, including 2-for-9 on Sunday.

"In all my years, I haven't seen a team quite go through such a hard time getting runs like we're having right now," Bochy said.

July 28, 2013
Giants, Cubs lineups: Arias gets another start at shortstop

SAN FRANCISCO -- Joaquin Arias is in the Giants' lineup at shortstop again today against a Cubs left-hander. It's the second consecutive day off for Brandon Crawford, who said he's healthy but has hit nearly .100 points lower against left-handers this year than against right-handers. Manager Bruce Bochy said he wanted to get Arias a couple games at shortstop coming off the DL, but also that Crawford's struggles against lefties recently has played a part in his sitting the final two games of the homestand.

Crawford has been as near a lock in the Giants' lineup as Hunter Pence, starting 97 of the Giants' first 103 games. But he's hitting .207 against lefties and has two hits in his last 30 at-bats against them. Bochy said Arias could also see some starts in the second half at first base against lefties, spelling Brandon Belt, though Belt is in the lineup today.

"I think it's fair to say that Crawford recently has had a tough time against lefties," Bochy said. "Doesn't mean he's not going to play against them anymore, but Belt has been swinging the bat a little better against lefties, so he gets the start today."

Bochy was asked if resting Crawford is a two-day thing and he said he'd have a clearer answer when the Giants reach Philadelphia, after their visit to the White House and President Obama on Monday. He did say that having Arias, who had two hits Saturday night and looked sure-handed at shortstop, "allows us to give Crawford a few more days off this second half."

Here's the full Giants lineup against Cubs left-hander Travis Wood:

CF Torres
2B Scutaro
C Posey
3B Sandoval
RF Pence
LF Francoeur
SS Arias
1B Belt
P Lincecum

And the Cubs lineup that Lincecum will face:

July 27, 2013
Bochy: At 11 games under .500, Giants are 'really being tested'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy said this of Saturday night's 1-0 loss to the Cubs, in which the Giants left 10 runners on base -- all in the final five innings and including two bases-loaded situations in the eighth and ninth -- and went 1-for-10 with men in scoring position to waste eight shutout innings from Madison Bumgarner:

"We got what we deserved."

Bochy also said of the Giants' clubhouse, "It's quiet in there, believe me," and he wasn't kidding. Noise was at a minimum after the Giants dropped their sixth of seven games to fall a season-high 11 under .500 and nine out of first place in the N.L. West. They're tied with the Padres for last place, though San Diego actually has a winning percentage that is one-thousandth of a point better.

The Giants have lost 21 of 28 games and still have the worst record in baseball since May 14 at 23-42. They also have a worse record than the Cubs, who ran out a lineup Saturday that featured three former Giants -- Cody Ransom, Nate Schierholtz and Cole Gillespie -- and watched Schierholtz hit the tiebreaking home run off Sergio Romo in the ninth.

"We're trying things," Bochy said. "That's all I guess you can do is keep coming out here and working. But when you get those chances like we had and you don't deliver, you're probably going to get what we got."

July 27, 2013
Bochy: Giants will focus more on fundamentals

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt's ninth-inning error was the most glaring of the Giants' mistakes in their 3-2 loss to the Cubs on Friday night. But it appears the game itself may have been a tipping point of sorts in a trying season.

Belt's was the 74th error the Giants have committed this season, which leads the National League (the Houston Astros lead the majors with 75). Manager Bruce Bochy said he held a meeting with the position players today about an increased focus on fundamentals like defense and baserunning, which "have cost us at times."

"I think my biggest disappointment right now is we're last in the league as far as errors, and that's not us," Bochy said. "That's what we've become, but it's not who we are. So from this point on we're going to spend more time on the basics, good fundamental baseball, and they'll spend more time on the field."

Bochy said that could mean increased time devoted to pre-game drills and days where the Giants skip batting practice completely and just work in the field. That wasn't the case today, as the Giants hit on the field before facing the Cubs, but Bochy made it clear he's not pleased with the defensive issues.

"We've got to get our focus back on catching the ball," he said. "If you look at why we were successful the last three years -- and I'll say even the last four years, playing winning baseball -- we pitched well, sure, and that's gotten away from us a little bit. But we also caught the ball.

July 24, 2013
Bochy joins an exclusive club as Giants split doubleheader

SAN FRANCISCO -- At the end of a really long day of baseball, Giants manager Bruce Bochy shared a hug and a smile with closer Sergio Romo. Romo has closed some of the biggest wins for Bochy's club over the past year, and late Tuesday night he put the final touches on a 5-3 victory over the Reds that was Bochy's 1,500th win as a manager.

Bochy is the 21st manager to reach that milestone. Of the previous 20 who did so, 12 are in the Hall of Fame. Only two active managers have more wins -- the manager Bochy's Giants beat in the World Series last season, Jim Leyland (1,731), and the manager who was across the way in the first-base dugout Tuesday night, Dusty Baker (1,638).

"I'll be honest, I don't know what that number means except the fact I'm fortunate to have been doing this as long as I have," Bochy said. "I'm thankful, grateful. Wish we were in a better situation right now, but still you're blessed I think in this game to be playing it."

Surely, longevity has played a part. Bochy is in his 19th season as a manager and pretty soon he'll be marking his 1,500th career loss too -- his overall record currently stands at 1,500-1,497. But you don't stick around that long by being bad at your job, and Bochy has packed some serious credentials with his two World Series titles, two N.L. Manager of the Year awards, six postseason appearances and a round number like 1,500 wins.

"It's huge," said pitcher Barry Zito. "He's been in this game on both sides, player and coach, and he's done so many things already. I think he's a very underrated manager, maybe because he's kind of a quiet guy, doesn't toot his own horn. It's a very special accomplishment and we're all really happy for him."

July 23, 2013
Giants bring up Petit, option Kontos, plus lineups for Game 1

SAN FRANCISCO -- George Kontos helped save the Giants bullpen ahead of today's doubleheader with his career-high 63 pitches in last night's 11-0 loss to the Reds. As a result, he's heading back to Triple-A. The Giants announced today they've purchased the contract of Yusmeiro Petit from Fresno and optioned Kontos down.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Kontos won't be available to throw again for two to three days and the Giants needed to be covered in the bullpen today, particularly with Eric Surkamp starting the first game in his first big-league outing since Tommy John surgery.

Petit last threw three days ago in Fresno and will be available as a long man out of the bullpen, Bochy said. Petit, the 28-year-old right-hander, has pitched exclusively as a starter this season in Fresno, where he was 5-4 with a 5.24 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings over 12 starts.

"I told (Kontos) exactly the truth," Bochy said. "He saved us last night and unfortunately he's not available for a couple days and we don't want to put these guys at risk by using them too much."

July 23, 2013
Lincecum roughed up but says no after-effects from no-hitter

SAN FRANCISCO -- Asked after Monday night's game if the Giants will need to make a move to bring in a reliever ahead of Tuesday's doubleheader, manager Bruce Bochy said he though the Giants' bullpen "actually came out of it pretty good" thanks in large part to George Kontos and his career-high 63 pitches.

And that was pretty much the extent of the positives the Giants could take out of their 11-0 loss to the Reds. Tim Lincecum, nine days after achieving no-hit immortality, turned in his shortest outing of the season while allowing a career-high eight earned runs. Bronson Arroyo held the Giants to seven singles in a complete-game shutout. And the Giants lost a game in the standings on the new leader in the N.L. West -- the red-hot Dodgers, who pounded the Blue Jays 14-5 and now lead Arizona by a half-game in the division.

Lincecum's outing is the focus of tomorrow's game story, but to start there, he couldn't recover from a 31-pitch first inning in which he was one strike away from getting out of it unscored upon before ultimately allowing a bases-loaded double to Todd Frazier. The inning built after the Giants couldn't get an out on Derrick Robinson's bunt following a leadoff double by Shin-Soo Choo.

Lincecum struck out Joey Votto and made an athletic play on a Brandon Phillips ground ball to tag out Choo in a rundown. But he walked Jay Bruce after getting ahead of Bruce in the count and then left a 1-0 fastball up to Frazier, who crushed it over Andres Torres' head in center field.

July 22, 2013
Giants, Reds lineups: Surkamp will start first game Tuesday

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy made it official a little while ago -- Eric Surkamp will start the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader in the left-hander's first game back in Sacramento since having Tommy John surgery last July. Barry Zito will get the nightcap, which will be the game in which the Reds bat last and the Giants wear their road jerseys.

"He's the freshest guy and we just think that's our best choice," Bochy said of Surkamp. Both teams can add a 26th player to their roster for the doubleheader, so the Giants won't need to send anybody down to make room for Surkamp.

It will be nearly a year to the day since Surkamp went under the knife. Surkamp was with the Giants in spring training during his rehab and has made nine minor-league starts this year, including the last four at Triple-A Fresno. His most recent was his roughest -- 4 2/3 innings allowing 10 hits and six runs against Tacoma on July 18.

"My last two I struggled with location a little," Surkamp said. "It's just one of those things coming off surgery, you're going to have your ups and downs. My arm is back to 100 percent, but just getting out there and repeating mechanics every time and stuff like that is just part of the process."

July 21, 2013
Flannery shoulders the blame after Giants' 3-1 loss to D-Backs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner, not one prone to hyperbole, said Sunday that Giants third base coach Tim Flannery "takes his job as seriously as anybody I've ever seen." And indeed, after Flannery's decision Sunday to send Buster Posey home on a double by Pablo Sandoval with nobody out in a 1-0 game backfired with Posey being thrown out, nobody took it harder than Flannery.

"I feel terrible," Flannery said. "With nobody out that can't happen. I feel responsible for the game, I feel responsible for Bum not getting a win and getting a loss. It comes with the territory over there.

"There's days you have a moment that you help win games and then occasionally you're in the middle of helping to lose a game. And that's how I felt today."

While the timing was questionable, the decision gained some weight in retrospect from the fact that the Giants managed little else in the way of offense in their 3-1 loss to the Diamondbacks on Sunday. They scored their lone run in the ninth inning by way of two Diamondbacks errors, an infield hit and a fielder's choice, and couldn't capitalize on four walks by Arizona starter Randall Delgado, who pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

July 21, 2013
Affeldt likely out 4-6 weeks, plus lineups for Giants, D-Backs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt will likely miss four to six weeks after an MRI showed a moderate left groin strain, manager Bruce Bochy said. Affeldt came out of Saturday night's 4-3 Giants win over the Diamondbacks after feeling a pop in his groin delivering a 3-1 pitch to A.J. Pollock.

Affeldt said he has been pitching with discomfort in the groin area for several weeks but hoped it would go away. He said the pain started to escalate during last night's game and after the 3-1 pitch to Pollock, "the pain threshold went up a little bit and I didn't know if I'd be able to deliver the next pitch."

The Giants placed Affeldt on the 15-day disabled list before today's series finale against the Diamondbacks and recalled Jean Machi from Triple-A Fresno. Bochy said the Giants will go forward with two left-handers in the bullpen and Jose Mijares will likely see an expanded role in the late innings.

Affeldt had a rough stretch of outings beginning June 18 in which he allowed seven runs in 6 1/3 innings over eight appearances. He said Sunday he didn't want to use the groin discomfort as an excuse -- he has pitched through such nagging issues before, he said -- but the lower-body issue may have caused him to alter his delivery some and gotten into the back of his head.

July 20, 2013
Bullpen pitches in behind Cain as Giants beat Arizona, 4-3

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy said on Friday he didn't want his players thinking in big-picture terms like "series" or "homestand" to start the second half, and instead focus on the game at hand. And in two wins against the Diamondbacks to start the half, Bochy has managed that way. In Saturday night's 4-3 win, after Matt Cain departed in the sixth, Bochy used seven relievers to get the final 12 outs, preserving the win for Cain as the Giants trimmed their deficit in the N.L. West to 4 ½ games.

He might not have drawn it up like that if given the choice. Jeremy Affeldt faced just two hitters in the sixth before leaving with what the Giants announced is a strained left groin. Affeldt hurt himself throwing a 3-1 pitch to A.J. Pollock and left without attempting a warm-up pitch. Bochy said Affeldt had an MRI with results expected back Sunday.

"That's never a good area," Bochy said. "So it's a possible DL."

Jose Mijares came in from the dugout, warmed up on the mound and threw a ball to walk Pollock and load the bases with two outs in a 4-2 game. But Mijares got Adam Eaton to strike out swinging on a 2-2 slider and leave the bases loaded for the second inning in a row. Cain also stranded three runners in the fifth by getting Giant killer Paul Goldschmidt to ground out to third. The Diamondbacks stranded 13 runners overall.

July 20, 2013
Giants, D-Backs lineups: Vogelsong throws to hitters

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ryan Vogelsong just got done throwing to hitters for the first time since fracturing his pitching hand in May. Vogelsong threw 35 pitches off the AT&T Park mound, including several warm-up tosses, mixed in all his pitches out of the windup and stretch and said he came out of it feeling no discomfort.

That followed 40 pitches in the bullpen. Vogelsong compared the simulated innings -- he went through six "at-bats," with Gregor Blanco and coaches Roberto Kelly and Shawon Dunston as the hitters -- to the early stages of spring training.

"You get a hitter in there and try to do a little too much the first time," Vogelsong said. "I threw some pitches I wasn't happy with, but there was a lot that I was happy with.

"I took out of it what I needed to take out of it, felt some things that I was doing wrong, and came out of it feeling good. My hand feels good, my arm feels good."

None of the three batters hit a ball particularly hard off Vogelsong. Dunston joked he wasn't going to swing so as not to make Vogelsong look bad, then whiffed hard when Vogelsong threw him a first-pitch curveball in his first at-bat. Smiles all around.

July 19, 2013
Giants chip away at division deficit behind Gaudin in 2-0 win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Plugged into the rotation as a stopgap solution for Ryan Vogelsong and his fractured his pinkie finger, Chad Gaudin has now made seven starts for the Giants following their 2-0 win Friday night. In them, Gaudin has a 2.23 ERA in 40 1/3 innings -- including a 0.77 ERA over his last four starts -- and has allowed fewer hits (29) than he has strikeouts (35).

Friday night, which several Giants players acknowledged was a significant jumping-off point for the second half as they gained a game on the division-leading Diamondbacks, Gaudin threw seven scoreless innings, allowed three singles and struck out eight batters -- all on 92 pitches.

The question was posed to manager Bruce Bochy after the game -- when Vogelsong does return (and it sounds like that could happen as soon as the second week of August), can the Giants really take Gaudin out of the rotation if he's still pitching like this?

"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," Bochy said. "He certainly has been consistent and it'd be hard to take him out the way he's throwing the ball. Once we get to a point where, say, Vogelsong's ready, we'll cross that bridge."

July 19, 2013
Giants, D-Backs lineups: Vogelsong eyes early August return

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants begin the second half tonight against the N.L. West-leading Diamondbacks amid encouraging news on right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who is scheduled to throw live batting practice to hitters tomorrow and is eyeing a tentative return date in early August.

Vogelsong, who has been on the disabled list since May 21 with the fractured pinkie finger on his pitching hand, will face hitters Saturday for the first time. Depending on how he comes out of it, manager Bruce Bochy said, Vogelsong could start a rehab assignment at Single-A San Jose early next week.

"That's great news for us," Bochy said.

It sounds as if the Giants are interested in getting Vogelsong back into the rotation as quickly as possible without compromising his health. While his rehab schedule is not set in stone, Vogelsong said he's tentatively eyeing Aug. 9 as a return date.

July 10, 2013
Affeldt: 'Waves are getting pretty high' as Giants' skid goes on

SAN FRANCISCO -- If Monday night's 16-inning Giants loss was like peeling a Band-Aid off very slowly, Tuesday night felt more like yanking it away. One minute the Giants trailed by one in the eighth inning of a back-and-forth game, with Buster Posey due up in the bottom of the inning. One pitch later, they trailed by five due to a Marlon Byrd grand slam and were headed for their 13th loss in 15 games.

The offensively starved Giants scored six runs in a game for the first time since June 14. And still they could not secure a win, even at home, even behind Barry Zito, who began the game with a 1.98 ERA in 10 starts this season at AT&T Park.

The Giants left 11 men on base a night after leaving 18. Several productive outs with runners on kept them in the game. But the bullpen, which allowed one unearned run in nine innings on Monday night, gave up five runs in three innings Tuesday

All five came in the eighth. After Jose Mijares allowed a one-out single, Jeremy Affeldt came on and allowed a single, two walks and a sacrifice fly. With the bases loaded and one out in a 6-5 game, manager Bruce Bochy called in rookie right-hander Jake Dunning, whose first pitch Byrd crushed for a grand slam and five-run Mets lead.

"It just seems like hard work's spitting in our face right now," Affeldt said. "But I don't know if we know what else to do but work hard.

July 9, 2013
Giants promote Tanaka, sign Francoeur; plus Tuesday lineups

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants made a handful of roster moves before today's game, including purchasing the contract of Kensuke Tanaka from Triple-A Fresno. Tanaka is in the lineup tonight, playing left field.

Tanaka came over from Japan this spring, played around the infield in spring training and often did not look comfortable in the field or at the plate. But he was hitting .330 with 11 doubles and 20 stolen bases in Fresno, recently began playing games in left field, and now he represents the latest attempt to shake up the Giants' scuffling offense.

"He's been swinging the bat as well as anybody down there," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I know (Roberto Kelly) is working with him out in our left field today. But he's been swinging the bat as well as anybody, so why not him?"

The Giants designated Cole Gillespie for assignment to make room on the 25-man roster for Tanaka. The Giants also placed Hector Sanchez on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain and recalled Michael Kickham, who gives the bullpen a fresh arm after every available reliever last night combined to throw nine innings in the Giants' 16-inning, 4-3 loss.

July 9, 2013
Bochy on Giants' 4-3 loss: 'As frustrating a game as we've had'

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was just before 1 a.m. Tuesday when Bruce Bochy walked into his post-game press conference, sat down and began rubbing his eyes. They had just watched the Giants strand 18 runners, go 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position, and lose a 4-3 game to the New York Mets on an unearned run in the 16th inning.

"That's as frustrating a game as we've had," Bochy said.

The Giants put two runners on with one out in the bottom of the 16th against Mets closer Bobby Parnell, but Pablo Sandoval struck out and pinch hitter Guillermo Quiroz hit into a fielder's choice to end the game. That was only the last of it. The 18 runners left on were the most the Giants have left in a game since June 6, 1998 when they left 19 men on in a 14-inning game -- and won.

Monday night, they left 13 runners on in extra innings alone, including the bases loaded in the 13th and the 15th. The lack of clutch hits is a big reason why the Giants have lost 12 of their last 14 games -- they've been held to two runs or fewer in 10 of them -- and they're now 3 for their last 51 with runners in scoring position.

"I think it's caught up with all of us," Bochy said. "We had so many chances and just couldn't get a hit."

July 8, 2013
Giants, Mets lineups: Belt batting third against Harvey

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt makes his first big-league start as a No. 3 hitter tonight against the Mets and their ace Matt Harvey. Belt is one of the few Giants who's hitting right now -- he's 18-for-55 (.327) over his last 17 games -- and Hunter Pence, bumped down to the No. 6 spot tonight, is hitless in his last 22 at-bats. So manager Bruce Bochy said it's an attempt to "tweak things a bit, do something to get this offense going."

Belt said he last hit third in the minors in 2011 and that "it'll be fun. ... It's definitely a challenge," he said. "I've got some good hitters behind me, so maybe I can get on base and let them drive me in."

Belt is also one of the few Giants with a previous look at Harvey, whom the Giants beat last season in his only start against them. Harvey has been a different pitcher in his second big-league season, though, with a 2.27 ERA in 18 starts and league-leading 141 strikeouts in 123 innings. His 7-2 record is a reflection of how little support the Mets have given him. He has six starts already this year where he allowed two or fewer runs and got a no-decision.

July 7, 2013
Dodgers get to Romo in 4-1 win; Gaudin strong in return

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sergio Romo sat with his head hidden in his locker as reporters entered the home clubhouse following the Giants' 4-1 loss to the Dodgers on Sunday. Romo, the losing pitcher of record in the game, then dressed quickly and brushed past media without comment on his way out the door.

The Dodgers broke open a 1-1 game in the ninth against Romo on A.J. Ellis' three-run double with two outs, and while an ill-advised flip by Buster Posey -- playing first base on a day game -- played a part in the inning escalating, the Dodgers had already put a runner on in the form of Yasiel Puig, who led off the inning with a single.

Puig, who had struck out against Romo in the ninth inning on Saturday, flipped his bat as if the ball was headed for the seats before running to first. When Ellis' double cleared the bases, Andre Ethier crossed home plate and jumped into Puig's arms. This all came a day after Romo was seen on TV cameras copying Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez's "I see you" move while in the Giants' handshake line after saving Saturday's 4-2 win.

After Sunday's game, the L.A. Times' Dylan Hernandez tweeted this quote from Puig talking about Romo: "Yesterday, he struck me out, he controlled Hanley, and he celebrated. Today, it was our turn to celebrate."

July 7, 2013
Giants, Dodgers lineups: Kickham optioned as Gaudin returns

SAN FRANCISCO -- A Giants team that has scored two or fewer runs in 11 of its last 15 games doesn't get any favors from the pitching matchups over its next two games. Today they face nemesis Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers left-hander who owns the lowest career ERA (1.33) against San Francisco of any pitcher. Tomorrow they get Matt Harvey when the Mets come to town. Both are leading candidates to start the All-Star Game for the National League.

As it happens, that decision belongs to Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Bochy was asked today if his decision could be swayed at all by what he sees from Kershaw and Harvey over the next two days. His answer: "Maybe slightly," but he already has a pretty good idea of which way he's going (he didn't tip his hand).

Not that Bochy needs to see any more of Kershaw, who has allowed three earned runs in 24 innings over three starts against the Giants this season. Brandons Belt and Crawford are both getting the day off today against the Dodgers left-hander. Here's the full Giants lineup for today's game:

CF Torres
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
1B Posey
RF Pence
SS Arias
LF Gillespie
C Quiroz
P Gaudin

And the Dodgers' lineup against Gaudin:

July 6, 2013
Bochy explains batting order mishap; Giants' All-Stars react

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's a strange day when the Giants play the Dodgers at AT&T Park and the biggest villain in the building is -- a piece of machinery in the home clubhouse. But here it is, the culprit behind the batting order snafu that led to Buster Posey's RBI double in the first inning being taken off the board.

Thumbnail image for giants board.jpg

It didn't end up costing the Giants in a 4-2 win over the Dodgers, thanks in large part to a desperately needed pitching performance from Madison Bumgarner, who struck out nine over seven innings and drove in two runs himself. But it was by far the oddest scene of the day, and a topic of much discussion after the game.

Here's what happened: With one out in the bottom of the first, Posey doubled to drive in Gregor Blanco, who had led off with a double and gone to third on Marco Scutaro's bunt. After the play, Dodgers manager Don Matingly came out of the dugout holding his lineup card and talked with the umpires, who huddled and then came away signaling an out and motioning Blanco back to third base.

The Giants, it was ruled, had batted out of order. On the lineup cards given to the umpires and Dodgers, Pablo Sandoval was third and Posey fourth. That was how Giants manager Bruce Bochy wanted it, and Bochy later said that was how it showed up on his card in the Giants dugout, too.

The problem: The Giants just installed a new electronic system in their clubhouse where they type in the lineup, which then gets displayed on a board in the clubhouse and used for the printouts handed out in the press box and on the scoreboard in center field.

July 6, 2013
Giants receive three All-Star nods, A's get one

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants catcher Buster Posey was named to the N.L. All-Star team for the second time, while pitcher Madison Bumgarner and second baseman Marco Scutaro both made it for the first time as rosters were announced this afternoon. Scutaro's first All-Star selection comes at the age of 37.

Posey, the reigning N.L. MVP, enters today's game against the Dodgers batting .310 with 12 home runs and 48 RBIs. He was edged out for the start at catcher by the Cardinals' Yadier Molina, who led all N.L. vote-getters with more than 6.8 million votes, Major League Baseball announced.

Bumgarner, who starts today against the Dodgers, is 8-5 with a 3.08 ERA. Scutaro, who makes his first All-Star team in his 12th major-league season, is batting .313 with two homers and 18 RBIs despite missing time this season due to injury.

The A's received one All-Star nod for right-hander Bartolo Colon, who is 11-3 with a 2.78 ERA. Closer Grant Balfour, who is perfect this season in 22 save opportunities, and third baseman Josh Donaldson, who ranks among the league leaders in most offensive categories and leads the A's with a .317 average, 15 home runs and 57 RBIs, were not named to the team.

The A's also did not have any players in the five candidates for the final vote-in spot, which is determined this week by fans. Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is among the five vote-in candidates in the National League. Giants manager Bruce Bochy will manage the N.L. team.

-- Matt Kawahara

July 6, 2013
Giants pre-game notes, lineups: Waiting for the breakthrough

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's kind of an unusual day here at AT&T Park. Along with the 4:15 p.m. start, the Giants are having their family day on the field, meaning no team stretch or on-field batting practice. Bruce Bochy had his pre-game media session in his office, and he spent much of it discussing the general mood of the Giants amid a skid that has seen them lose 10 of their last games and 15 of 19 to fall seven games under .500, including last night's 10-2 drubbing in the series opener against the Dodgers.

Bochy's main message: The Giants aren't moping and the mood in the clubhouse and dugout has been "pretty good despite what we're going through." Bochy has maintained, and repeated this afternoon, that what it often takes for a team to snap out of a funk like this can be as simple as one well-pitched game or one clutch hit. Something like that, he said, can be "viral," and lead to a run like the Giants made in 2010.

"It just hasn't happened to this point," Bochy said. "I don't think they're doubting themselves that it will happen."

One thing that Bochy made pretty clear -- big changes to the roster aren't expected, especially if the Giants keep playing like they are right now. Yesterday's move of swapping Juan Perez out for Cole Gillespie in the outfield was an attempt to shake things up. Otherwise, Bochy said, "These are our guys."

July 6, 2013
Bochy after Giants' 10-2 loss: 'Sometimes you get humbled'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Cain was asked after the Giants' 10-2 loss to the Dodgers on Friday night if he'd go back and watch the game on film to pinpoint any specific issues.

"You try to really not watch any part of this one," Cain said.

Across the board, the Giants are going to want to forget this one as soon as possible. Cain matched his shortest outing since 2009, allowing eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. The Giants went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded five men in the first three innings alone. Juan Uribe nearly hit for the cycle while becoming the first player in AT&T Park history to drive in seven runs in a game -- and he was missing the single.

There seemed to be a fair amount of optimism around the Giants before the game, being back home after the 1-8 road trip -- they're still a .600 team at AT&T Park this season -- with Cain throwing and the normal buzz generated by a visit from the Dodgers. But the same anemic offense from the trip reared its head, Cain -- who had allowed a combined seven runs in his previous five starts -- couldn't put hitters away after the first inning, and the Giants continue to find new depths at a season-high seven games under .500.

July 5, 2013
Giants pre-game: Gillespie called up, starting in LF; Perez out

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cole Gillespie, who last played in the majors in 2011 with the Diamondbacks, is here and starting in left field tonight against the Dodgers after the Giants purchased his contract from Triple-A Fresno today. Juan Perez was optioned back to Triple-A, and the Giants transferred Angel Pagan to the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot for Gillespie on the 40-man roster.

Manager Bruce Bochy stated pretty clearly the move is an attempt to shoot some life into the Giants' offense. The Giants' 1-8 road trip ended with them totaling seven hits in their last three games, just the second time they've had so few hits in a three-game span in the San Francisco era (April 18-21, 1978 was the other). Gillespie was hitting .277 with nine homers and 11 doubles in 74 games in Fresno.

"He's got some experience up here and he's got pop in his bat, so we'll see if he can provide some offense here," Bochy said. "We'll be seeing some lefties and that's why we brought him up."

Bochy said there's no set plan for how the Giants will use Gillespie. But with Gregor Blanco one of the many Giants in a funk at the plate -- Blanco is 0 for his last 22 -- it's likely you'll see Andres Torres in center and Gillespie in left against left-handers for the time being. Gillespie is hitting .303 against lefties in Triple-A.

June 23, 2013
Posey: 'Time to crank it up a little' after series loss to Marlins

SAN FRANCISCO -- If this series was supposed to give the defending champion Giants a chance to build themselves up before heading on the road for 11 days, given that they were hosting a Miami team with the worst record in baseball, somebody forgot to tell the Marlins. Miami held the Giants to eight runs over 38 innings, out-homered them five to one and took three out of four at AT&T Park with a 7-2 flourish on Sunday afternoon.

The easiest culprit to point to was the Giants' offense, which went hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position on Sunday and 4-for-32 in the series. They're averaging 3.1 runs in their last 10 games. But the bullpen had its rocky moments as well -- nine runs allowed in 13 2/3 innings in the series -- while the Marlins had three pitchers earn their first win of the season, including Nathan Eovaldi in the finale.

"You look at a club, you look at the record sometimes and you think, well, this is going to be a little bit easier," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But I'll say this: they played great, they pitched outstanding the whole series. ... We got outplayed here."

That was the pervading reaction in the home clubhouse after Sunday's game. The Giants aren't used to losing homestands -- this 3-4 run against the Marlins and Padres was their first since last July 23-Aug. 2. Many of those fans who stuck around after Buster Posey grounded out with a runner on third to end the eighth in what was then a 3-2 game were sent heading for the exits a few minutes later as the Marlins made it a relative blowout with four runs in the top of the ninth off Jean Machi.

June 23, 2013
Giants pre-game: Gaudin still a 'question mark' for Tuesday

SAN FRANCISCO -- A welcome sight for the Giants this morning was that of Pablo Sandoval walking into the clubhouse with his bags packed for the upcoming three-city road trip. Sandoval, who went 3-for-3 with a home run in his second rehab game with Single-A San Jose last night, can come off the disabled list tomorrow for the Giants' opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It's going to be good to have him going down to L.A. with us and putting him in the lineup," manager Bruce Bochy said. "This lineup needs a little shot in the arm right now and his presence will help."

Since arriving in Atlanta on June 14, the Giants have averaged 3.2 runs in their last nine games, in which they're 4-5. They also haven't hit a home run since Gregor Blanco led off the opener of that Braves series with a homer, a stretch of 84 innings. That clearly won't last forever, but Bochy acknowledged the lack of power is "part of who we are."

Right now the bigger question for the Giants is who will be pitching for them Tuesday. Chad Gaudin is scheduled to throw his bullpen today, but Bochy said Gaudin was still pretty sore yesterday from the line drive he took off his pitching arm in his last start.

"To be honest, he's a question mark," Bochy said.

June 22, 2013
Zito's poignant outing gives way to key performances in 2-1 win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Summing up the Giants' 2-1 11-inning win over the Marlins on Saturday, Bruce Bochy said, "started with (Barry) Zito." Three days after his father's death, the left-hander pitched seven innings of one-run ball to help the Giants snap a nine-game losing streak at home against the Marlins. Tomorrow's print story will be heavy on Zito's performance and the respectful reactions of his teammates.

"Barry's the ultimate professional," catcher Buster Posey said. "But obviously when it's a family member, especially a parent, I can't imagine what he was gong through. But he had his routine and he stuck to it and he gave us a great performance."

Zito departed after the seventh to a standing ovation with the game tied 1-1, which gave a handful of other Giants players opportunities to play key roles in a win Bochy admitted was "right up there at the top" with games the Giants have needed to win this season.

* Sandy Rosario has bounced between Triple-A Fresno and San Francisco three times this season already, with his latest call-up on June 12. Since then he has pitched in five games and thrown at least 1 2/3 innings in each of the last four, allowing one run over those outings.

His outing Saturday "saved us," Bochy said. Rosario entered in the 10th with two on and one out and struck out back-to-back hitters. He also pitched a scoreless 11th with the help of Hunter Pence's diving catch to rob Placido Polanco of an RBI hit.

June 22, 2013
After MRI shows small tear, Pagan awaits second opinion

SAN FRANCISCO -- Angel Pagan addressed reporters before today's game against the Miami Marlins and said the MRI he had yesterday on his left hamstring showed a small tear in the area that wasn't there before he re-aggravated the injury running to first base in a rehab game Thursday night. Pagan is still awaiting a second opinion on the injury before he and the Giants decide their next course of action.

Pagan said the ground ball to second base late in the game was "the only chance I had to test (the hamstring) out." Running to first base, "It was a really loud pop that I felt in my leg. It's hard to explain. I went down (to the ground) because of the frustration." Pagan was carted off the field.

The frustration is understandable given that Pagan, who last played for the Giants on May 25, spent weeks rehabbing the injury and felt he was close to returning, potentially by this weekend. Instead, he's waiting for the second opinion before option whether to undergo more rehab or potentially have surgery, which could keep him out six to eight weeks.

"It's a setback," Pagan said. "It's going back to zero."

June 22, 2013
Bullpen roughed up, Torres exits Giants' 6-3 loss to Marlins

SAN FRANCISCO -- As expected, the first question posed to manager Bruce Bochy after the Giants' 6-3 loss to the Miami Marlins concerned an injured outfielder. But it wasn't about Angel Pagan. Andres Torres injured his right knee diving headfirst into third base in the sixth inning Friday night and had to leave the game, the latest Giants player banged up in what has been a painful last month or so.

Bochy said an X-ray on Torres' knee came back negative and that Torres is day-to-day with a knee contusion. "We'll see how he's doing tomorrow, but we think he's going to be fine in a day or two," Bochy said. Torres said he hit his kneecap hard against the dirt and was "really sore," but also sounded optimistic he could be available tomorrow or the next day.

The news on Pagan sounds less encouraging. Bochy said Pagan re-aggravated a tendon in the hamstring area above his left knee while running to first in a rehab game with Single-A San Jose on Thursday night, and the Giants were "going to talk about our options and what we can do here" with Pagan. One of those options is surgery, Bochy said.

"No question," Bochy said. "It's an option and that's what we'll talk about in the next day or so, figure out what is the best option."

Pagan was at AT&T Park before the game and walking through the Giants' clubhouse without crutches. He declined to talk with reporters.

June 21, 2013
Giants, Marlins lineups, plus Pagan, Crawford, Gaudin updates

SAN FRANCISCO -- Angel Pagan walked into the Giants locker room this afternoon under his own power a day after being carted off the field during a rehab game with the Single-A San Jose Giants when he crumpled running to first base. Pagan underwent an MRI on his left hamstring and had the results, manager Bruce Bochy said -- but hadn't been checked by the Giants' doctors yet, so Bochy was unable to provide an update on Pagan's status.

"He seemed all right, a little down," Bochy said. "I think he's hoping, like the rest of us, for good news. Really won't know until he can get looked at."

Bochy said he'd be able to give an update after tonight's game against the Marlins, for which the Giants are still without Brandon Crawford. Crawford said he played catch today from 120 feet but the two sprained fingers on his right hand "still (don't) feel good when I'm throwing. I feel like there's not as much behind it."

Crawford did say he felt an improvement over when he tried to play catch Thursday and thinks he may be available tomorrow. Chad Gaudin, meanwhile, was wearing a sleeve on his right arm and said he still has some swelling after taking a line drive off the arm last night. Gaudin said he's "optimistic" about making his next start, but that likely won't be determined for a couple days -- he'll rest the arm today, play easy catch tomorrow and throw a bullpen session Sunday, which will give a better indication.

Here's the Giants' lineup tonight vs. the Marlins and right-hander Ricky Nolasco:

CF Blanco
2B Scutaro
1B Posey
RF Pence
C Sanchez
SS Arias
LF Torres
3B Noonan
P Lincecum

And the Marlins' lineup against Lincecum:

June 19, 2013
Perez builds his case, Crawford sprains fingers in Giants' win

SAN FRANCISCO -- The last Giants rookie to record at least four outfield assists in a season before Juan Perez was Jason Ellison back in 2005. Ellison had five that year -- in 131 games. After throwing out Mark Kotsay at home in the seventh inning Tuesday to preserve a 2-2 tie, Perez now has four in his first seven games in the majors, which leads the team.

"I didn't know that," Perez said. "I guess they're going to keep testing me. Just got to make good throws again and make them stop running."

Oh yeah, Perez also had the game-winning hit in the Giants' 5-4 win over the Padres, and is now 8-for-19 with three RBIs since being called up. All around, Perez is making his presence felt in the absence of Angel Pagan. Pagan (hamstring) ran the bases without problems Tuesday and manager Bruce Bochy said the Giants will likely decide tomorrow what day Pagan will begin his minor-league rehab assignment. A week ago, it probably would have meant Perez's days in a San Francisco uniform were numbered.

Now it may not be so clear. A night after throwing Logan Forsythe out at third in the ninth inning of a tied game Monday, helping send it into extra innings, Perez came up with arguably a better play Tuesday night on Kotsay, who was trying to score from second on a Chris Denorfia single after he led off the seventh with a double. Denorfia's single was fairly softly hit, and Perez had to come a long way to field the ball before launching himself into a throw that bounced twice to Buster Posey, who swiped the tag.

June 18, 2013
Giants, Padres lineups: Scutaro back, Perez earns another look

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants get the first of their walking wounded back tonight with Marco Scutaro in the lineup, mallet pinkie and all. Scutaro said yesterday he might be ready to test the finger tonight, though he's still unsure how it will respond to game action, such as if he has to dive for a ball or tag a runner. It's also the pinkie he drapes over the knob of the bat when he's hitting, leaving it open to reverberation.

"I think it's wait and see," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He feels pretty good, wants to go today, so we'll take a look at it, watch how he gets through batting practice.

"But it is a little bit different when you're at game speed, and we'll see how he handles it. Right now it's going to be really up to him how much he can tolerate and also if he can handle game speed with that not becoming a factor."

Scutaro is not one to talk himself out of a game, but Bochy said he thinks if the finger is bothering Scutaro he'll say something about it. Neither wants to risk re-aggravating the injury to the point where it knocks the Giants' leading hitter out for a more extended period of time.

"You still have to watch (him) yourself, trust your eyes," Bochy said. "Marco being Marco, sure, he's going to do all he can to get out there. I think he feels the club needs him. But at the same time we can't risk hurting himself even more."

Here's the full Giants lineup against hard-throwing Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner:

June 18, 2013
Venable saves the day for Padres, who defeat Giants 5-3 in 13th

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence didn't have a lot to say about Padres center fielder Will Venable's game-saving catch in the 12th inning Monday night, but what he did say summed it up pretty well.

"We couldn't believe he caught it," Pence said.

Venable went full extension on the backhanded, over-the-shoulder catch, landing on the warning track, to rob Juan Perez of a hit that would have easily scored Brandon Belt from second base for a walk-off hit. Instead the game went to the 13th, where the Padres scored twice in the top of the inning to win the opener of this series 5-3.

"It's one of the best catches I've seen," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a hard-fought game, and those plays win games for you. It won the game for them tonight."

Perez said off the bat he thought the ball had a good chance of getting over Venable's head since Venable was playing shallow with the winning run on second. "The guy made an unbelievable catch," Perez said. "You've got to tip your cap."

It may have been the most memorable, but it was hardly the only chance the Giants had to win this game. They took a 3-1 lead into the sixth behind Barry Zito, but gave one run back on a wild pitch by Jean Machi a batter after Zito departed. The Padres tied it in the seventh with three consecutive singles off Machi.

June 17, 2013
Giants, Padres lineups: Crawford hits third, plus injury updates

SAN FRANCISCO -- With the injuries to key Giants players and a cross-country flight that had players arriving home around 4:30 a.m. this morning, it has come to this: Brandon Crawford is batting third tonight against the San Diego Padres for the first time in his major-league career.

"Crawford asked me (why)," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I just said maybe getting into the wine too much last night."

Kidding aside, Crawford is hitting .326 over his last 36 games and the Giants are banged up, though Bochy gave a promising rundown of injury updates that indicated the Giants could be getting back to full strength by the end of the week.

For starters, Marco Scutaro's finger is feeling "much better," and Scutaro could play as soon as tomorrow, both Bochy and Scutaro said. Scutaro has taken batting practice and played catch, and the question now is how the finger will respond to game action, like if he has to dive for a ball or tag out a runner. Still, Scutaro said swelling in the finger is going down. He's still wearing a small splint.

"One of these games soon - tomorrow, next day, I don't know," he said. "We'll see."

May 30, 2013
Bochy after Giants' 9-6 loss: 'We've got to get our act together'

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the ninth inning Wednesday night, with the seagulls starting to descend on AT&T Park, the Giants tried a crowd-based tactic to ward off the flock. The PA system encouraged, "Everybody clap your hands," while the video board flashed the message: "See ya, gulls!" And the clapping did send the birds into flight -- briefly.

It was maybe the 12th-oddest sight Tuesday on the shores of McCovey Cove, on a night when the Giants scored six runs on 13 hits in their home park -- including one on which they benefited from an overzealous fan interfering with a live ball -- and still lost their third game in a row to the streaking A's, 9-6.

Tim Lincecum couldn't get out of the fifth inning, due in part to more shaky defense on the part of the Giants, who committed three errors. Marco Scutaro dropped a pop-up in shallow right that allowed a run to score. Andres Torres fell down trying to backhand a ball that rolled past him to the wall. Even the Giants bullpen, which started the game with the second-lowest ERA in baseball, got in on the act, allowing three runs in 4 2/3 innings a night after making up 5 2/3 innings in relief of rookie Michael Kickham.

"I don't know what happened, to be honest," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We just didn't play well. There's no sugar-coating this thing. We pretty much covered all facets of the game tonight as far as not playing well.

"We've got to get our act together. It wasn't good tonight."

May 29, 2013
Giants, A's pre-game notes: Gaudin 'likely' to start Sunday

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are planning to be without center fielder Angel Pagan for the rest of their series against the A's. Manager Bruce Bochy said Pagan was going to get a cortisone injection for his troublesome left hamstring this afternoon and won't be available until the St. Louis series at the earliest. Bochy said the Giants are optimistic right now they won't have to put Pagan on the disabled list.

"Right now we think he should be ready in St. Louis," Bochy said.

As for who will start Sunday against the Cardinals, Bochy said it will "likely" be right-hander Chad Gaudin. The Giants optioned Mike Kickham to Triple-A earlier today and purchased the contract of right-hander Ramon Ramirez, which gives them coverage in late-inning situations and against right-handers. Plus Gaudin, who leads Giants relievers this season with 30 2/3 innings pitches, is no stranger to the starting role with 75 starts in his big-league career.

Bochy said Ramirez is here to "help out where Gaudin was helping out," meaning the seventh and eighth innings and matching up with right-handed hitters along with Jean Machi.

May 29, 2013
Giants option Kickham to Fresno, call up Ramirez; plus lineup

Giants Athletics Baseball.jpgSAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants today made a move to bolster a bullpen that pitched 5 2/3 innings last night in relief of rookie Michael Kickham, optioning Kickham back to Triple-A Fresno and purchasing the contract of right-handed reliever Ramon Ramirez.

Kickham, called up to fill Ryan Vogelsong's rotation spot, lasted 2 1/3 innings in his major-league debut in the Giants' 6-3 loss to the A's. The Giants will need a fifth starter again June 2 in St. Louis. After being optioned, Kickham won't be able to make that start unless he replaces a player that goes on the disabled list.

The Giants did not immediately announce a corresponding 40-man move for Ramirez, a member of the Giants' 2010 World Series team who is 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 26 innings this year in Fresno.

May 29, 2013
Kickham takes long view after short debut in Giants' 6-3 loss

OAKLAND -- Mike Kickham kept a big-picture perspective of his major-league debut on Tuesday night, which was over all too quickly in the Giants' 6-3 loss to the A's.

KICKHAM.jpeg"Great experience to pitch in a major-league game," the 24-year-old left-hander (pictured, left) said. "That's always been a goal of mine. Mark that off the list. But the goal's not to just pitch one day in the big leagues. It's to have a career. So keep working toward that."

Tuesday night was the first step. And while the results certainly were not what Kickham would have liked -- he went 2 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and four walks (one intentional) while striking out three -- he had his moments.

Kickham retired the A's in order on nine pitches in the first and struck out three of the first six hitters he faced. He reached 94 mph with his fastball and had good movement with his slider. He also bounded off the mound to cover first on a grounder to Brandon Belt, beating Yoenis Cespedes to the bag by a step.

May 28, 2013
Bay Bridge lineups: Kickham debuts for Giants, Pagan still out

OAKLAND -- Giants center fielder Angel Pagan is still nursing his left hamstring and is out of the lineup for the third consecutive game. Manager Bruce Bochy said Pagan had an MRI that showed some bursitis in the area, but that Pagan is still considered day-to-day and could be available to pinch-hit depending on how he felt during pre-game warm-ups.

That puts Gregor Blanco in center and batting leadoff with Andres Torres in left. Torres is in a 10-for-18 stretch and hitting right-handers well this season, and Bochy was asked if he considered having Torres bat leadoff instead. Bochy answered he prefers to have Torres seventh -- between Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford -- to break up the lefties at the bottom of the lineup.

Tonight marks the big-league debut of left-hander Mike Kickham, rated the fifth-best prospect in the Giants organization before the season by Baseball America. Kickham walked into the clubhouse around 4 p.m., and found in his locker -- nothing. Well, a rack's worth of coathangers. One of the Giants' clubhouse staff then came over and unloaded his bag, including jersey No. 59. The last Giant to wear 59 -- Guillermo Mota.

"I look forward to it," Bochy said. "He's a kid we think a lot about. He's been throwing the ball well in Fresno, we need some help, and with Vogelsong being out he'll get some starts."

May 27, 2013
Bay Bridge Series Game 1: Pre-game notes and lineups

OAKLAND -- The reigning American League manager of the year had some glowing praise for the guy managing the other team at the Coliseum for the next four days before today's series opener:

"He's probably the best manager in baseball right now."

BRUCE1.jpegThat's A's manager Bob Melvin talking about Giants manager Bruce Bochy (pictured, arguing with umpire Alfonso Marquez). Both, of course, led their teams to division titles last season with Bochy guiding his to a second World Series title in three seasons. Melvin said his impression of the Giants is of an extremely "confident" team and that it's something that has rubbed off from Bochy.

May 22, 2013
A return to familiarity for Giants despite loss; Harper shines

SAN FRANCISCO -- More than taking two out of three from the Washington Nationals, or seeing Bryce Harper flash his all-around game to help the Nationals salvage the finale 2-1 in extra innings today, the takeaway from this series for Giants manager Bruce Bochy was simply how the games were played.

The Giants pitched. They played tight defense. Twice, including today's loss, they trailed in the eighth inning or later and tied the game. After the 1-5 road trip on which the Giants did very little of the first two things and got the one win by out-slugging the Rockies at Coors Field, it qualified as something of a return to normalcy.

"They've had a history of doing that, the pitchers and the players," Bochy said. "They got on track here, which we needed. This is more of our baseball. Sure it's a tough loss today, but you have to be encouraged with how we did play."

That starts with the starters. Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner totaled 19 innings in the series and allowed three runs. That was after the rotation posted a 9.82 ERA on the six-game trip, with even Bumgarner getting tagged in Colorado for a season-high seven earned runs.

May 22, 2013
Vogelsong starts road to recovery, plus Wednesday lineups

SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong was in the Giants' clubhouse this morning, wearing a cast and sling on his right arm a day after having surgery on his fractured pitching hand. Vogelsong said he hasn't had much pain in the hand and the sling is "more for comfort -- and so people don't run into me."

Vogelsong said the concern right now is more with making sure he doesn't develop an infection -- he had five pins inserted in his pinky finger during the surgery. Vogelsong suffered a dislocated knuckle and two fractures when he was hit on the hand swinging at an inside pitch Monday night.

Vogelsong said that even the initial hit wasn't too painful. The fact that it will likely keep him out of the rotation for at least six to eight weeks, he said, still hasn't really sunk in.

"I think once I start missing starts," Vogelsong said. "I think the thing that can help the most is if the team keeps playing well. ... You've got to try to look at positive sides of things -- get this thing right, get healthy and come back when it's crunch time and hopefully be able to contribute down the stretch."

May 22, 2013
Sandoval fights a bug, Cain rises to occasion in Giants' 4-2 win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval has been battling a flu for the past couple days and was still feeling bad enough Tuesday to get an IV before the Giants played the Nationals. He then played 10 innings on a night when it was 57 degrees at first pitch at AT&T Park. And he ended the game with his second career walk-off homer, a moon shot that bounced into the bleachers in the deepest part of the park in right-center field, right near the shield commemorating Barry Bonds' 756 career home runs.

"He got all of that one," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Sandoval definitely looked under the weather after the Giants' 4-2 win and was asked about being able to deliver that kind of swing under those circumstances against a pitcher he'd never faced, Nationals reliever Yunesky Maya.

"I don't know, man," Sandoval said. "Effort. You have to give 100 percent out there no matter what. This is your job. You have to fight through it."

May 21, 2013
Vogelsong has five pins inserted in pinky, likely out 6-8 weeks

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Ryan Vogelsong had surgery to insert five pins into his fractured right pinky finger today and that the procedure "went well." Bochy said he's hopeful Vogelsong will be able to return to pitching off a mound in six to eight weeks.

Vogelsong was injured swinging at an inside pitch in the fifth inning of the Giants' 8-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Monday night. He suffered a dislocated knuckle and two fractures, one each above and below, on the pinky finger of his throwing hand.

As of now, the Giants have not decided on what to do with Vogelsong's next turn in the rotation, which they can push back to next Tuesday because of an off-day Thursday. Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner will be moved up in the rotation to pitch on regular rest.

May 21, 2013
Posey thinks Vogelsong will return sooner rather than later

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ryan Vogelsong had just completed his first season as a full-time major-league starting pitcher when he went to Venezuela in late 2004 to play winter ball. The season had not gone particularly well. In 31 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 of them starts, Vogelsong had gone 6-13 with a 6.50 ERA.

It was in the wake of these struggles that Guillermo Quiroz met Vogelsong in Venezuela and formed a "concept of him" that the Giants' backup catcher said still holds true about Vogelsong nearly nine years later.

"He just wanted to work," Quiroz said Monday. "He wanted to get better."

It took years, but Vogelsong did just that, becoming an All-Star for the Giants in 2011 in his age 33 season and a key part of their World Series run last year. Now, facing another type of recovery after fracturing his pitching hand in two places in the Giants' 8-0 win over the Nationals on Monday night, it's that drive that figures to serve Vogelsong well as he navigates a healing and recovery process that manager Bruce Bochy estimated will be at least four to six weeks.

The details of Vogelsong's injury and immediate reaction can be found here on the blog. Vogelsong probably didn't have to talk to reporters after the latest setback in what has already been a frustrating season for him, but he did, wearing a cast that covered most of his right forearm and vowing to return to the mound as soon as possible.

May 20, 2013
UPDATED: Giants' Vogelsong suffers fracture on pitching hand

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong suffered a fractured right (pitching) hand Monday night when he was hit by pitch on a swing in the fifth inning of the Giants' 8-0 win over the Washington Nationals.

Vogelsong grimaced as the ball appeared to catch him squarely on the top of the hand. He bent over clutching the hand and left the field accompanied by trainer Dave Groeschner and manager Bruce Bochy. The Giants announced the fracture several innings later.

Vogelsong said he suffered a dislocated joint on the knuckle of his right pinky finger and two fractures, one each above and below the knuckle. He will undergo surgery Tuesday at Stanford. Manager Bruce Bochy said Vogelsong is probably looking at a recovery time of four to six weeks.

Vogelsong, who had pitched five scoreless innings in his best start of the season, said he immediately thought the hand was broken.

"It stinks," Vogelsong said. "It stinks, especially because it's been so rough. To go out there and feel like my old self again, be throwing like that, it's tough."

Vogelsong, who came in with an 8.06 ERA in eight starts, retired the first eight hitters he faced. He stranded runners on first and second in both the third and fifth innings -- a mark of his success last year, when opposing hitters batted just .227 against him with runners in scoring position. By completing five innings, he earned his second win of the year.

"It's really a shame because tonight was the Vogey that we know, it's the way he threw all of last year," Bochy said. "It's a tough one."

Bochy said the Giants had not yet discussed what to do with Vogelsong's rotation spot. He said long reliever Chad Gaudin is a candidate, but the Giants feel Gaudin is "pretty valuable in the bullpen."

Bochy said the Giants will know more about recovery time for Vogelsong following the surgery. Vogelsong said he thinks he'll be able to keep up with range of motion and arm strength exercises while the finger heals.

"I haven't really had it sink in yet," he said. "But I'll be back. No question about it."

Vogelsong said if there's a silver lining in this, it's that the injured finger is the one used least to grip and apply pressure to the ball while pitching.

"We're not talking about Tommy John or anything," he said. "So basically as fast as I can get it to heal so I can start throwing again."

Making it all the more frustrating was that Vogelsong said he had worked with the Giants' staff to address a host of mechanical issues recently and Monday's start was "the best I've felt in a long time, from a mental aspect and physical aspect."

"It's a good place to start, I guess, when I come back," he said.

Bochy said Vogelsong was "down," but was still waiting to congratulate the team in the clubhouse when they came in after the game.

"This is going to be a little while, but these things happen unfortunately," Bochy said. "You hate to see them happen. But he'll be back, hopefully in a couple months."

-- Matt Kawahara

May 20, 2013
Giants, Nationals lineups: Pagan could be game-time call

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said center fielder Angel Pagan is feeling better after leaving Sunday's game in the fifth inning with the flu, but could still be a game-time decision tonight depending on how he feels after batting practice. Pagan is in the lineup right now. If he can't go, it'll be Andres Torres in center.

Here's the Giants' lineup tonight for their series opener against the Nationals:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
C Posey
RF Pence
1B Belt
LF Torres
SS Crawford
P Vogelsong

And the Nationals' lineup against Vogelsong:

CF Span
2B Lombardozzi
RF Harper
3B Zimmerman
1B LaRoche
SS Desmond
LF Bernadina
C Solano
P Duke

May 17, 2013
Report: Affeldt, overpaid $500,000, returns money - and team says keep it
May 12, 2013
Scutaro's streak at 12; Lincecum flashes back against Braves

SAN FRANCISCO -- After starting this season 2-for-23 at the plate, Marco Scutaro said on April 8 that he didn't want to use his troublesome back as an excuse, but that it really was bothering him. Apparently you're now seeing just how much -- and how much of a difference a pain-free Scutaro makes for the Giants.

Scutaro homered and doubled in the Giants' 5-1 win over the Braves today to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He's hitting .479 (23-for-48) during the streak and has multi-hit games each of the last six days.

The home run to left off a Kris Medlen breaking ball in the fifth was Scutaro's first of the season. Of course, Scutaro was asked after the game to explain his streak. And of course, he offered pretty much the same explanation he has the past few days.

"I just feel better," Scutaro said. "I feel healthy. My back feels good and that makes me able to stay back and wait for the ball."

May 12, 2013
Sunday lineups: Regulars in as Giants go for series win

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness day at AT&T Park, which means you'll probably be seeing a lot of pink on the field today. Players have the option of using pink bats and augmenting their uniforms with pink armbands, etc. On one end of the spectrum there's reliever George Kontos, who said as a "creature of habit" he likely won't be changing his normal game-day attire too much. On the other is Pablo Sandoval, who before the game was wearing pink cleats, preparing to swing the pink bat and had pink stickers on his fingernails.

Sandoval's right forearm, by the way, which he had X-rayed after being hit by a pitch in yesterday's game, feels "good," he said and isn't anything that will keep him out of the lineup. Sandoval is playing third and batting third against Braves righty Kris Medlen. Sandoval has four career at-bats against Medlen and is 3-for-4 with a home run.

Here's the full Giants' lineup, all regulars with the off-day tomorrow:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
C Posey
RF Pence
1B Belt
LF Blanco
SS Crawford
P Lincecum

And the Braves' lineup against Lincecum:

May 11, 2013
Giants' Blanco answers the call, Bumgarner baffles the Braves

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gregor Blanco said he watched the first four innings of the Giants' 10-1 win today from the bench, saw how Madison Bumgarner was confounding the Braves and figured the Giants wouldn't be requiring his services. When Atlanta began warming up a right-hander in the bullpen in the middle innings, he put on his shin guard just in case, but didn't duck into the cages under the home dugout for any swings.

So when manager Bruce Bochy told Blanco he'd be pinch-hitting if Atlanta brought in Cory Gearrin in the fifth, Blanco said, his reaction was: "OK, let's do this." Which the Braves did after walking Hunter Pence to load the bases with one out in what was then a 3-1 game.

Gearrin came on to face right-hander Francisco Peguero, and Bochy countered with Blanco, who made it a genius move when he doubled into the gap in right-center to clear the bases and break open what became a blowout.

"No swings, no stretch, nothing," Blanco said of his pre-pinch-hitting regimen today. "It was pretty much from the bench to that swing."

May 11, 2013
Giants, Braves lineups: Loading up on righties against Maholm

SAN FRANCISCO - Giants manager Bruce Bochy just called Braves starter Paul Maholm's numbers against left-handed hitters this season "stupid." And yeah, they're pretty good. Lefties are 4-for-49 against Maholm (pictured) in his first seven starts, for a .082 average that's the lowest in the National League.

MAHOLM.jpegSo Bochy has loaded up the Giants' lineup today with right-handed hitters. Brandon Belt gets a day off with Buster Posey at first. Guillermo Quiroz catches Madison Bumgarner. Andres Torres was originally in the lineup in left field but Bochy made a switch to get Francisco Peguero a start there.

Interesting note - it was widely covered after Quiroz hit his first walk-off homer last weekend against the Dodgers that it was also just his third career home run in the majors. The other two came in 2008 when he was playing for Baltimore. And what pitcher served up the second one? Maholm, on June 15, 2008, in a 5-4 win by the Pirates over the Orioles. Here's guessing Quiroz, who recounted both prior homers immediately after the walk-off against the Dodgers, remembers it better than Maholm.

Here's the full Giants starting lineup:

CF Pagan

2B Scutaro

3B Sandoval

1B Posey

RF Pence

LF Peguero

C Quiroz

SS Crawford

P Bumgarner

May 11, 2013
Cain bruised, not battered against Braves; Scutaro on the rise

SAN FRANCISCO -- Before Friday, the Giants' last four wins and six of their last eight had come by one run. Friday night, they faced a pitcher in Tim Hudson whose last loss to the Giants came in 2006 and whose ERA in nine starts since against them was 2.48. So while manager Bruce Bochy wasn't expecting to see his team knock Hudson out of the game with a six-run fourth -- the most runs they've scored in an inning this season -- he wasn't complaining either.

"It is nice," Bochy said after the Giants' 8-2 win over the Braves. "We don't have a lot of these games. It's nice to be able to kind of work the 'pen the way you would like, give some guys a break. Guys just did a great job of putting together that big inning."

The six runs and seven hits in the inning were both single-inning highs for the Giants on the season. The seven hits were the most they've had in an inning at home since Sept. 7, 2008 against the Pirates. Marco Scutaro had two of them -- he started the rally with a lead-off single and capped it with a two-run single after the Giants batted around. They were Scutaro's first and second career hits off Hudson, his former teammate with the A's.

May 10, 2013
Bochy: Vogelsong will make next scheduled start

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ryan Vogelsong's turn in the rotation comes back around next Wednesday at Toronto. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said today Vogelsong will definitely make that start.

Vogelsong failed to make it out of the fifth inning for the second consecutive start last night in the Giants' 6-3 loss to the Braves and has a 7.78 ERA through his first seven starts. He has also allowed nine home runs in 39 1/3 innings after giving up 17 all of last season.

"I think with him it's stay behind him, let's keep getting after it," Bochy said. "He went through this last year. He had a tough rut he had to deal with, and he'll come out of this. I think he's real close."

May 10, 2013
Giants, Braves lineups: Belt sixth, Torres in against righty

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt is back in the sixth spot tonight against Braves right-hander Tim Hudson and, in a bit of a shake-up of the Giants' normal left-field platoon, Andres Torres is starting over Gregor Blanco.

Blanco has been getting the bulk of starts against righties. But Torres' numbers are actually better this season hitting left-handed against righties (.764 OPS, four extra-base hits) than vice versa (.587 OPS, one extra-base hit). Torres is also having a pretty good homestand -- 5-for-12 with a solo home run.

Here's the full Giants lineup against the Braves tonight and right-hander Tim Hudson, whom the Giants haven't beaten since April 8, 2006 (he's 6-0 with a 2.48 ERA in nine starts against the Giants since):

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
C Posey
RF Pence
1B Belt
LF Torres
SS Crawford
P Cain

And the Braves (whose 48 home runs lead the National League) against Cain (whose nine home runs allowed this season are tied for second-most in the league):

RF Schafer
SS Simmons
LF J. Upton
3B Francisco
1B Freeman
2B Uggla
C McCann
CF B.J. Upton
P Hudson

Cain earned his first win of the season in his last outing against the Dodgers. Cain has a 0.68 ERA in 13 1/3 innings against the Dodgers this year and a 7.85 ERA in 28 2/3 innings against everybody else.

-- Matt Kawahara

May 7, 2013
Lincecum, Giants' rotation searching for consistency

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum's first inning Tuesday was a boiled-down version of his night. He struck out three Phillies hitters, including Carlos Ruiz swinging on a 93 mph fastball and Domonic Brown waving at a changeup. He also allowed a run on two hits and a walk, the first of five the Phillies scored against him in a 6-2 win.

"That's definitely frustrating, just the lack of consistency," Lincecum said. "Making a great pitch and then not repeating it. That's the frustrating part."

Consistency was the keyword for the Giants after the game -- regarding both Lincecum and the rotation in general. Neither has possessed it through the early part of the season. Through the first two games of this series against the Phillies, the Giants' starters have combined for a 4.51 ERA (13th in the N.L.) and 15 quality starts in 33 games.

May 7, 2013
Machi optioned having made an impression, Mijares available

SAN FRANCISCO -- After a few days of keeping the possibility open, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said there ultimately wasn't much debate over whether to keep 13 pitchers with Jose Mijares coming off the bereavement list. By optioning Jean Machi to Fresno, the Giants keep a five-man bench and don't lose Francisco Peguero, who gives them another right-handed bat in the outfield and capable pinch runner.

"It was discussed, but right now it makes sense to go this way," Bochy said. "We always have the ability if we think we're in a box and we need another arm, we can make that move at another time."

Bochy said Machi made a strong impression with a 1.74 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings. There simply wasn't room in the pen with Mijares coming back as another left-handed option, which Bochy said he explained to Machi. For now, Machi will be a bus ride or short flight away if needed.

May 7, 2013
Giants, Phillies lineups: Pagan in, Mijares back, Machi optioned

SAN FRANCISCO -- Angel Pagan is back in the Giants' lineup tonight after missing the past two games with a right hamstring strain. Pagan was out taking early swings on the field this afternoon and returns to center field and the leadoff spot.

The Giants announced today they activated Jose Mijares from the restricted list and sent out reliever Jean Machi, opting against keeping 13 pitchers. It was most likely a tough call with how well Machi pitched since being called up -- nine games, a 1.74 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings -- but optioning a position player would have left the Giants with a four-man bench.

Here's the Giants' lineup against Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
C Posey
RF Pence
LF Blanco
1B Belt
SS Crawford
P Lincecum

And the Phillies against Lincecum:

SS Rollins
2B Utley
3B Young
1B Howard
C Ruiz
LF Brown
RF Nix
CF Revere
P Kendrick

Belt gets bumped up from the eighth spot with Crawford mired in a 2-for-32 slide, which has dropped his average from .320 to .243.

-- Matt Kawahara

May 6, 2013
Giants, Phillies lineups: Pagan out, Giants waiting on Mijares

SAN FRANCISCO -- Angel Pagan won't start tonight with the Giants wanting to give him another day to make sure his right hamstring strain heals completely. Manager Bruce Bochy said Pagan will most likely be available off the bench against the Phillies.

Pagan said he ran on the field at 70-75 percent before the game and "it felt good." In fact, Pagan said he woke up this morning with no hamstring pain at all. "But I guess the best way to make sure you're OK is just give it one more day," he said.

Andres Torres will play center field and bat leadoff against Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee. Bochy said it's nice having the option of not only another right-handed center fielder in Torres, but two potential leadoff options in Torres and Gregor Blanco.

May 5, 2013
Giants playing them close, sweep Dodgers; Cain gets his 'W'

SAN FRANCISCO -- After the Giants closed out a sweep of the Dodgers with another win by the slimmest of margins, Hunter Pence said semi-jokingly that it "literally feels like it's been three weeks of one-run ballgames, win or lose."

It wasn't that much of a stretch. Four of the Giants' wins in their current six-game streak, including all three games against the Dodgers, were one-run games -- as were three of the losses in the five-game losing streak that preceded it.

That has made for high-leverage situations late in games for a variety of players. One of them Sunday was Jean Machi. After the Dodgers cut a 4-0 lead to 4-3 in the eighth, with runners still on first and second and two outs, Giants manager Bruce Bochy brought in Machi to face pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston Jr.

That might normally have been a situation for Santiago Casilla, but Casilla was off-limits after pitching two innings Saturday night. Machi, who allowed his first run in seven appearances for the Giants on Saturday, got Hairston to ground out to Brandon Crawford to preserve the lead.

May 5, 2013
Giants, Dodgers lineups: Pagan (hamstring) rests, Quiroz starts

SAN FRANCISCO -- Angel Pagan is not in the Giants' lineup today against the Dodgers after he left last night's game with a right hamstring strain. Pagan, though, said the strain is "not bad" and he felt it would be a better idea to rest it rather than risk aggravating it. He said he'll get treatment today and is "very positive" he'll be in the lineup tomorrow.

Pagan said he tweaked the hamstring making a throw from center field on Matt Kemp's two-run single in the Dodgers' seven-run fifth inning last night. He stayed in for the rest of that inning and batted in the bottom of the fifth before being replaced in the leadoff spot by Francisco Peguero.

"I'd rather miss a couple of days than a couple of weeks or maybe a month," Pagan said. "That's something that obviously we don't want right now. We're playing pretty good and can't afford to lose anybody from the lineup. I was just trying to be smart and not to lose too much time out of the lineup."

May 5, 2013
Quiroz the improbable hero in another Giants walk-off win

SAN FRANCISCO -- After more than four hours, 10 pitching changes, 18 runs on 29 hits in regulation, two blown five-run leads by the Giants and a two-run lead coughed up by the Dodgers, how else was this game going to end? Guillermo Quiroz -- the journeyman backup catcher who hadn't had an at-bat since April 24 and hadn't hit a home run in a major-league game since 2008 -- stepped up against Dodgers reliever Brandon League and hit the third pitch into the left-field seats to rescue the Giants from a serious collapse and give the AT&T Park crowd its second walk-off home run in as many nights.

"I don't think any of us expected him to hit a home run," manager Bruce Bochy said.


* Today marked 10 days since Quiroz's last at-bat, and he waited through the entirety of the four-hour, 11-minute time of game before coming to the plate in the 10th.

* Quiroz had two previous career homers in the majors, both in 2008, when he played in 56 games for the Orioles.

* League allowed one home run all season last year in 74 appearances, though he had already given up one this year as well, to the Mets' Ike Davis.

May 4, 2013
Saturday lineups: Belt 8th, plus Giants have a decision to make

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt is batting eighth in the Giants' lineup tonight for the fifth game in a row. Manager Bruce Bochy, though, isn't ready to make that a permanent thing.

"It's working right now," Bochy said. "Whether you're superstitious -- he's comfortable there, right now we're winning. So he'll stay in the eighth spot."

Belt hit eighth just three times last year. He's 3-for-13 with two of his three homers this season out of that spot. Bochy was also asked whether hitting Belt eighth could have the effect of getting some better pitches for whoever's hitting seventh (Brandon Crawford tonight), and said: "There could be, sure."

Here's the full Giants lineup tonight against Dodgers right-hander Matt Magill, who will be making his second major-league start after the Dodgers placed Ted Lilly on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with a right rib cage strain:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
C Posey
RF Pence
LF Blanco
SS Crawford
1B Belt
P Vogelsong

May 4, 2013
Posey waits out Belisario for first walk-off homer; Ramirez hurt

SAN FRANCISCO -- One thing about games like Friday night's 2-1 Giants win over the Dodgers, which ended in abrupt and dramatic fashion with Buster Posey's first career walk-off home run as a Giant -- as manager Bruce Bochy pointed out, you look back over the previous 8 ½ innings and everything that kept the Giants in the game is magnified.

BUSTER.jpegBarry Zito putting the leadoff runner on in all six innings he started but only allowing one to score. Brandon Belt making a snap decision to come home with a throw on a ground ball in the second inning, cutting off a run. Hunter Pence throwing out Hanley Ramirez trying to go from first to third with nobody out on a single in the sixth, a play on which Ramirez came up grabbing his left hamstring and left the game.

All developments that seemed like they might go for naught as Clayton Kershaw was no-hitting the Giants through five innings, exhibiting his usual dominance at AT&T Park, where his ERA in 61 2/3 innings is now 0.73. And all suddenly crucial plays when the Giants broke through for a run against Kershaw in the sixth on Marco Scutaro's triple to break up the no-hit bid and Posey's double, which one-hopped the wall in right-center.

With Kershaw out after seven innings and 104 pitches, it suddenly became a bullpen game for both teams. Five Giants relievers combined to throw four scoreless innings, including Sergio Romo pitching around a one-out Matt Kemp single in the ninth. That brought Posey to the plate leading off the bottom of the inning, the game still tied.

May 3, 2013
Giants' Sanchez down for at-bats, Dodgers scratch Gonzalez

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the decision to option Hector Sanchez to Triple-A today was made largely to get Sanchez more game action than he saw during the first month of the season with the Giants. Sanchez missed a lot of spring training with shoulder and calf injuries and had just 23 plate appearances this season.

"Sanchez needs to play," Bochy said. "He hasn't been playing much here so we want to get him going, get some at-bats down there, pinch-hit here and there, get him going."

Bochy said Francisco Peguero, who was recalled from Triple-A Fresno, gives the Giants flexibility as a speed guy and another right-handed bat in the outfield. Peguero is hitting .415 in Fresno (27-for-65) and got the call over Brett Pill, who's also off to a good start (.367, 6 homers, 30 RBIs in 23 games).

"We just felt (Peguero) gives us a little more flexibility right now," Bochy said.

May 3, 2013
Giants, Dodgers lineups: Affeldt off DL, Sanchez to Fresno

SAN FRANCISCO - This is a fine welcome home. The Giants are back at AT&T Park to kick off a 10-game homestand, they're fresh off a sweep of the Diamondbacks in Arizona, they welcome Jeremy Affeldt back to the bullpen today -- and, oh yeah, they're facing Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw, as is well-documented, has the lowest ERA of any pitcher who has thrown at least 50 innings against the Giants (1.28), and has a 0.66 ERA in eight career games at AT&T Park (that's four earned runs allowed in 54 2/3 innings).

No doubt this will be an emotional start for Kershaw. The left-hander rejoined the Dodgers yesterday from the bereavement list, reportedly due to the death of his father.

April 26, 2013
San Diego series doubles as homecoming for Giants' Noonan

Giants road trips to San Diego in recent years have marked a return for manager Bruce Bochy to the city where he first managed a team to the World Series. This time it doubles as a homecoming for a Giants player who was a 9-year-old watching from the stands at Qualcomm Stadium as Bochy's Padres were swept in that series by the New York Yankees.

That's utility infielder Nick Noonan, who was born in Poway and graduated from Francis Parker High School in San Diego. Noonan said earlier this week that he "wasn't a diehard fan" of the Padres growing up, but he rooted for them as the hometown team.

"Me and my dad used to play wiffle ball and we'd go through the Padres lineup and bat like them, do their little antics," Noonan said. "Do the right-handers, go through (Tony) Gwynn's little bat wiggle. It was fun."

April 24, 2013
Another Giants comeback bid falls short, despite Belt's blast

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ultimately, the Giants' 6-4 loss to the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night, a game that went 11 innings with plenty of twists and turns, came full circle in a way. On the first play of the game, sure-handed shortstop Brandon Crawford couldn't handle a tough hop off the bat of Gerardo Parra, who later scored. In the top of the 11th, two defensive lapses allowed the Diamondbacks to break a 4-4 tie on an unearned run.

That the game even got that far required another late-inning rally by the Giants, capped by another huge hit from Brandon Belt, who suddenly looks more like the spring version of himself than the one we've seen for the first three weeks of the season. The Giants in the 10th actually came within about 25 feet -- or the distance by which Cody Ross threw out Pablo Sandoval at home plate -- of winning the game on Hunter Pence's two-out hit.

"That's always a tough one to lose at home," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But you have to like the way they came back from being four runs down to tie that game. They had a great situation there, and we got a two-out base hit. They just made a great play there to throw out Pablo."

April 23, 2013
Tuesday's Giants, D-Backs lineups, plus pitching to pitchers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tonight's Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin is a career .098 (4-for-41) hitter with one extra-base hit, which probably won't strike fear into anybody -- except the Giants have had their hands full with opposing pitchers at the plate early this year.

Sure, it's a fluky statistic. But of the five home runs major-league pitchers have hit so far this season, the Giants have given up three of them, with Wade Miley's shot off Ryan Vogelsong last night the most recent. The others, of course, were Clayton Kershaw on opening day off George Kontos and Yovani Gallardo in Milwaukee off Matt Cain.

April 23, 2013
Comebacks keep coming, Belt comes through in 5-4 Giants win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Does this feel familiar? If the unofficial motto of last year's Giants was "never say die," it seems they've picked up right where they left off in October. Six of the Giants' 13 wins this season have been comeback victories, with the latest a 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks on Monday night in which Ryan Vogelsong battled himself to last seven innings, Buster Posey further validated everybody's lack of concern over his early numbers and Brandon Belt came through with the game-winning hit hours after a crash hitting course with the manager.

After waiting until the 19th game of the season to hit his first home run since last October, Posey wasted little time hitting his second -- a two-run shot in the eighth inning Monday to straightaway center off David Hernandez that tied the game at 4-4. In the ninth, Belt, who started on the bench for the second consecutive game and entered in the top of the inning as a defensive replacement, came up with Andres Torres on second base and one out and lined a 1-1 fastball into left-center field for the game-winning single.

"There's no quit in this team, I can tell you that," Vogelsong said. "We fight to the last out. It's pretty fun to watch. There's a lot of confidence in this team."

April 22, 2013
Giants' Belt puts in early work, Dunston returns to the field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt isn't in the Giants' lineup for the second consecutive day -- Joaquin Arias starts at first base against a left-hander -- but that didn't make it a day off for Belt. Belt was out taking early swings on the field along with catcher Hector Sanchez under the close watch of manager Bruce Bochy, who said yesterday the two had talked about Belt's early hitting struggles and that he plans to give Belt some days off against upcoming lefties.

"When things aren't necessarily going well, sometimes you've just got to put in a little bit of extra work, figure some stuff out so you can get yourself back on the field," Belt said.

Bochy said it's common for players to get early work two or three times a homestand, but that he was out with hitting coach Hensley Meulens to help Belt fix some issues with his timing. Belt is 11-for-60 (.183) to start the year with three extra-base hits, all doubles.

April 22, 2013
Giants, D-Backs lineups: Arias at first, Torres in left

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants, 8-1 in the N.L. West, welcome in the only division team they haven't played in the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight. True to his word yesterday, manager Bruce Bochy has Joaquin Arias starting at first base against lefty Wade Miley, rather than Brandon Belt. Andres Torres gets the start in left.

Here's the full Giants lineup:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
C Posey
RF Pence
1B Arias
LF Torres
SS Crawford
P Vogelsong

And the Diamondbacks against Vogelsong:

CF Parra
LF Prado
1B Goldschmidt
C Montero
RF Ross
3B Chavez
SS Gregorius
2B Pennington
P Miley

-- Matt Kawahara

April 21, 2013
Giant arms right the ship in weekend sweep of Padres

SAN FRANCISCO -- Before a pitch was thrown in this weekend's Giants-Padres series, manager Bruce Bochy was asked if too much was being made of his rotation's struggles during the prior road trip through Chicago and Milwaukee, when the starters combined for a 6.92 ERA in seven outings. Predictably, Bochy said of course there was, which now looks pretty smart from this end of the series.

The Giants polished off a sweep of the Padres this afternoon at AT&T Park behind seven shutout innings from Barry Zito, who has yet to allow a run in 21 innings at home on the season. The Giants shut out the Padres for the second day in a row, winning 5-0, and did not allow a run over the final 21 innings of the series.

Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Zito combined to give up two runs (both by Bumgarner) in 19 2/3 innings, and the bullpen chipped in 7 1/3 scoreless. All in all, a pretty successful weekend for a staff that was roughed up by the Brewers, before it shifts focus to the Arizona Diamondbacks starting tomorrow night.

"It's great," Zito said. "We definitely had a tough time in Milwaukee. But I think as a team we put that behind us and we came back and we were just ready to play."

April 21, 2013
Giants' Bochy sits down with Belt about early struggles

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he sat down with first baseman Brandon Belt for "a while" this morning to talk with Belt about his early struggles at the plate. After a torrid spring training, Belt is hitting .183 with no home runs and is 5 for his last 24. Likely contributing to the slow start was the stomach virus Belt caught before the opening series, which caused him to lose about 10 pounds and sapped his strength for a while.

"We talked for a while today, just about a couple things between Brandon and I, but part of it is it's natural for these guys to press a little bit and try to get hits," Bochy said. "You can't try to get hits in this game, you've just got to get a quality at-bat, try to get some good swings off, and good things happen."

Belt is not in the lineup today against Padres left-hander Eric Stults, with Joaquin Arias starting at first base. Bochy said that while it isn't a case of Belt being benched, he might give Belt a few more days off with the Giants facing more lefties in upcoming series.

April 21, 2013
Giants, Padres lineups: Arias, Torres in against left-hander

SAN FRANCISCO -- Looks like no lingering effects for Pablo Sandoval from the ball he fouled off his right ankle in the seventh inning last night. Sandoval is in today's lineup and playing third. Buster Posey will catch Barry Zito, who has not fared well recently against the Padres -- in his last 11 starts against San Diego, he's 1-7 with a 5.97 ERA.

Here's the Giants' lineup against Padres lefty Eric Stults:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
C Posey
RF Pence
1B Arias
LF Torres
SS Crawford
P Zito

And the Padres' lineup against Zito:

RF Denorfia
SS Cabrera
3B Headley
1B Guzman
2B Gyorko
LF Blanks
C Hundley
CF Venable
P Stults

Sandoval is 6-for-10 lifetime against Stults with two walks. Joaquin Arias, who gets the start today against the left-hander, also has pretty good career numbers against Stults -- 4-for-10 with a home run.

-- Matt Kawahara

April 20, 2013
Playing the aggressor, Lincecum has best start of early season

SAN FRANCISCO -- That the Giants were 3-0 in Tim Lincecum's starts this year before Saturday was as much a product of their scoring 24 runs in those games as anything else, twice bailing out the right-hander when he fell victim to the big inning that has haunted him insistently since the beginning of last year.

That was not the case Saturday night. Lincecum was sharp from the first inning in the Giants' 2-0 win over the Padres, he commanded his fastball well for most of the night and he avoided the lapses in focus that have contributed to those snowball innings. No pitch was bigger than the 3-1 fastball he threw to Chase Headley with the bases loaded and two outs in the third, which jammed Headley resulting in a groundout. That pitch is the focus of tomorrow's print story.

As for the other 94 pitches that Lincecum threw over his 6 2/3 shutout innings, there were few mistakes. Lincecum struck out a season-high eight and allowed four hits, all singles. It was the first time Lincecum has gone at least that far into a game without giving up a run since last July 14. The Giants, who are now 4-0 in his starts this season, recorded their fourth win in a Lincecum start last year on June 27.

April 20, 2013
Giants, Padres lineups: Late pitching scratch prompts a shuffle

SAN FRANCISCO -- For his 25th birthday, Brandon Belt got a surprise start against the Padres this evening. Belt wasn't in the Giants' original lineup against Padres left-hander Clayton Richard -- Joaquin Arias had the start at first. But the Padres scratched Richard with illness and will start right-hander Andrew Cashner instead. So the Giants shuffled their lineup, with Belt replacing Arias and Gregor Blanco starting in left field instead of Andres Torres.

"Sure they're thinking they're facing somebody, but (the Padres) made the change before batting practice," manager Bruce Bochy said of his hitters. "They know who they're facing, so it's not really an adjustment."

Word from the Padres media contingent is that Cashner, who has been pitching in relief, probably won't throw more than about 60 pitches. So it'll most likely be a bullpen game for San Diego. Arias and Torres will likely get starts tomorrow, with the Padres throwing left-hander Eric Stults.

Here's the full Giants lineup:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
C Posey
RF Pence
SS Crawford
1B Belt
LF Blanco
P Lincecum

And the Padres' lineup against Lincecum:

April 20, 2013
Torres atones, Pagan delivers, Bumgarner shines in Giants' win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Standing on first base, Andres Torres was not happy with himself. His pinch-hit sacrifice attempt had bounced straight to Padres reliever Luke Gregerson, who wheeled and threw to second base to force out Gregor Blanco. It nullified Blanco's single leading off the ninth in a 2-2 game. Torres turned to confer with first-base coach Roberto Kelly, who told him: "Try to get a good jump, and go."

PAGAN.jpg"You want to get your job done," Torres said. "But then it was like, forget about that, try to get a good jump and get in scoring position."

Torres took off on the second pitch of the at-bat. Padres catcher Nick Hundley's throw was off line and a little high, and Torres slid in safely with his first stolen base of the season. The next pitch, Angel Pagan (pictured, left, off-balance as No. 48 Pablo Sandoval and other teammates celebrate with him) lined a 2-0 slider to right field to drive in Torres and snap the Giants' three-game losing streak.

"We needed it," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We got a bad bunt, but Torres, that's a clutch steal there for us."

April 19, 2013
Bochy not sweating rotation struggles, Posey to catch Timmy

SAN FRANCISCO -- Small sample size alert: The Giants' starting rotation, in 16 games this season, currently owns a 5.07 ERA that is the highest in the National League (though that's still a full run lower than the ERA of the Los Angeles Angels' rotation -- ouch). If you factor out Madison Bumgarner's three starts, in which Bumgarner has allowed four earned runs in 20 1/3 innings, that number jumps to 5.99.

Manager Bruce Bochy was asked about this before tonight's game against the Padres and, predictably, said it's much too early to start worrying about the rotation (Barry Zito has the second-lowest ERA at 4.86 in his three starts; the three right-handers are all at 5.63 or above, with Matt Cain's 7.15 rounding it out).

"I think too much is made of a lot of things at this stage," Bochy said. "And you know you're going to have guys with slow starts, whether it's a player or a pitcher.

"Once you get into May, maybe early June, if you have concerns then, that's when you should have them."

April 19, 2013
Giants, Padres lineups: Bumgarner as stopper, get here early

SAN FRANCISCO -- Fresh off his Miller Park romp in which he went 7-for-12 with two home runs in three games against the Brewers, shortstop Brandon Crawford slots sixth in the Giants' lineup tonight against the Padres with Buster Posey returning to the cleanup spot. Brandon Belt is seventh, followed by Gregor Blanco.

Crawford may be sad to leave Milwaukee. The rest of the Giants couldn't get out of there fast enough. It falls to Madison Bumgarner tonight to halt the Giants' three-game losing streak. It's a role the lefty knows well. Bumgarner made 20 of his 32 starts last season on the heels of a Giants loss (most on the staff by six) and went 10-6 in those games, while the Giants were 12-8.

So far this season, due to Matt Cain's struggles and Clayton Kershaw's dominance on opening day, all three of Bumgarner's starts have come after a loss. He's 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA. So the Giants must feel like they have the right guy going.

Here's the Giants lineup that will face Padres right-hander Edinson Volquez tonight:

April 12, 2013
Live Chat replay: Matt Kawahara discusses early success of Giants, A's

See the replay of our live chat featuring Matt Kawahara, The Bee's baseball beat writer, discussing the Giants and A's and their early-season success.

April 10, 2013
Giants notes: On Lincecum's 'strange' night, Crawford's homer

SAN FRANCISCO -- This was probably Bruce Bochy's best line tonight in talking about what he termed a "strange" outing for Tim Lincecum: "Unfortunately, all the innings count."

Lincecum was pretty good for five innings in the Giants' 9-6 win over the Rockies, making one mistake that Troy Tulowitzki hit for a home run but allowing only two other runners to reach base and striking out six. He was also very erratic in one, a five-run second that snowballed largely due to three walks, one of them to the opposing pitcher with two outs after getting into a 1-2 count.

So what to make of Lincecum's night? Bochy chose to focus mainly on the positives.

April 9, 2013
Bochy on Lincecum-Sanchez pairing, plus Romo on sharp start

SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey gets his first day off of the season tonight with Tim Lincecum starting, so manager Bruce Bochy knew what direction his pre-game media session was headed. With the Giants playing a day game tomorrow, Bochy said Posey was going to get either tonight or tomorrow off, and with the Giants facing a left-hander tomorrow it made more sense for Posey to rest tonight.

"It's just the way it falls this time," Bochy said.

That said, Bochy did not rule out a scenario down the road where Hector Sanchez could become Lincecum's regular catcher, if the two develop chemistry. Sanchez often caught Lincecum's starts last year -- leading to the speculation of a Lincecum-Posey rift that all parties involved have spent plenty of time refuting -- and has been behind the plate for both Lincecum starts this season.

April 9, 2013
Tuesday's Giants lineup: Posey off, Scutaro in

SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey gets a night off tonight, while Marco Scutaro stays in the lineup as he tries to work through his timing issues at the plate. Hector Sanchez will catch Tim Lincecum as the Giants try to make it eight in a row against the Rockies. Bruce Bochy had said he intended to give Posey a rest day either tonight or tomorrow.

Here's the Giants' lineup:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
3B Sandoval
RF Pence
1B Belt
LF Blanco
C Sanchez
SS Crawford
P Linceucm

And the Rockies' lineup against Lincecum:

CF Fowler
2B Rutledge
LF Gonzalez
SS Tulowitzki
RF Cuddyer
1B Helton
C Rosario
3B Nelson
P Nicasio

Helton starts after getting last night off (he pinch hit in the ninth and struck out). The veteran has pretty good numbers lifetime against Lincecum: 14-for-39 with a home run, nine walks and six strikeouts.

-- Matt Kawahara