July 2012

San Francisco Giants 4, Cincinnati Reds 3: Drop that sends us back in time

BOX SCORE

During Sunday’s broadcast of the Giants-Reds game, the camera focused in on a woman who was celebrating her 102nd birthday at AT&T Park.

After seeing her, MoreSplashHits tweeted something like: “Woman celebrating her 102nd birthday at AT&T Park still upset about Snodgrass’ drop in the 1912 World Series.”

For less educated Giants fans, Fred Snodgrass’ error in the 1912 is one of the infamous moments in Giants lore.

Fred Snodgrass

In the final game of the 1912 series against the Red Sox, the Giants led 2-1 in the bottom of the 10th inning when Boston’s Clyde Engle hit a lazy fly ball to center that Snodgrass dropped for a two-base error. Engle would later score the tying run and the Red Sox would push across the winning run later that inning.

Little did I know that the Giants would go on to win Sunday’s game against the Reds on a dropped ball by an outfielder.

Well, technically, it wasn’t dropped. Jay Bruce never touched the ball, so it went for a double for Angel Pagan.

But just as John McGraw said Snodgrass was not totally to blame for the loss in 1912, there was plenty of blame to go around for the Reds on Sunday.

Take the top of the ninth. The Giants were leading 3-2 when Javier Lopez was brought in specifically to face the left-handed hitting Bruce. After getting ahead of Bruce 0-2, Lopez gave up a single. Now, if Bruce had simply struck out, like he was supposed to do, he could have saved himself a lot of grief in the bottom of the ninth.

Santiago Casilla was brought in from the bullpen and gave up a single to Ryan Ludwick. Todd Frazier followed with a single to right-center that Gregor Blanco fielded and threw home.

With no one out, Reds third base coach Mark Berry held up Bruce at third base.

Miguel Cairo followed with a single to left, scoring Bruce. But Berry held up Ludwick at third instead of challenging the arm of Cabrera.

Apparently, earlier last week, Berry sent a runner home who was eventually throw out, leading to a lot of criticism of Berry. That could have factored into his decision.

Baker said responsibility also lies with the runner.

“A lot of that depends on the base-runner,” Baker said. “The coaches get all the blame. But most of the time you don’t need a coach. We thought it was in there all the way. Maybe (Ludwick) didn’t.”

Then Casilla struck out Ryan Hanigan and Wilson Valdez and got Zack Cozart to hit a soft liner to Brandon Belt to end the threat.

“We had the bases loaded and nobody out. That’s a tough one to lose,” Baker said. “It’s really tough when you get four hits and you get one run. That usually doesn’t happen.”

In the bottom of the ninth, the first two Giants went down quietly against Jose Arredondo. Buster Posey hit a long flare down the right field line that landed just fair then bounced into the stands along the right-field line for a ground-rule double.

Baker then elected to walk Pablo Sandoval intentionally, which didn’t make a lot of sense here. It would have been better to throw four eye-high strikes to the free-swinging Sandoval and see if he chases.

Instead, they elected to pitch to Pagan, who worked the count to 3-1 after nearly being hit by a pitch.

Then Pagan served up a fly ball to right. Bruce retreated but had room. Then, suddenly and very unexpectedly, jumped for the ball as if he were making a play up against the wall.

One problem, though. He wasn’t at the wall. He was barely to the warning track and the ball sailed over his glove for a game-winning double.

“It was not as close to the wall as I thought it was. I missed it,” Bruce said. “It’s really, really embarrassing. It should be an error. … I pride myself on my defense.”

The Giants will take it and the 5-2 homestand it gave them.

UP NEXT

The Giants have an off-day Monday before beginning a three-game series in D.C. against the Nationals. The Giants will miss All-Stars Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg in the series. Tim Lincecum will face Jordan Zimmermann on Tuesday.

San Francisco Giants fans stuff the ballots: Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval All-Star starters

During the All-Star Selection Show Sunday, one of the panelists disagreed with the election of Pablo Sandoval over David Wright, even going so far as to scold Mets fans for not getting out the vote for their man.

But you can’t blame Mets fans. When it came to All-Star votes — especially online — San Francisco Giants fans belted a grand slam.

The final all-star vote in the NL was knocked black and orange.

Buster Posey went from having 3.3 million votes and leading Yadier Molina by a little more than 200,000 votes last week to finishing with an NL-record 7.6 million votes. Posey was the leading vote-getter in the National League. He outdistanced Molina by more than 2.5 million votes.

Last week, Melky Cabrera lost as the No. 3 vote-getter in the outfield to Ryan Braun. In the final tally, Cabrera was the top vote-getter among NL outfielders. Cabrera collected 7.5 million votes, a little less than 100,000 votes behind Posey. Cabrera finished more than 1 million votes ahead of No. 2 outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Sandoval went from trailing Wright by more than 400,000 votes to beating Wright by more than 1.6 million votes. Sandoval collected 5.7 million votes.

Oh, and it didn’t stop there. Two other Giants — 1B Brandon Belt and SS Brandon Crawford — finished second in voting at their respective positions. Belt finished more than 3 million votes behind the Reds’ Joey Votto. However, Crawford missed being voted the starting NL shortstop by a little more than 306,000 votes.

Outfielder Angel Pagan finished fifth among outfielders (4.5 million). Aubrey Huff was 14th (1.9 million). Freddy Sanchez, who has not played a big-league game in more than a year, finished fourth among second baseman (2.289 million votes).

It’s the first time since 2001 that the Giants have had three players voted All-Star starters (Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and Rich Aurilia). Coincidentally, Bonds, Kent and Aurilia are expected at AT&T Park Sunday as the Giants commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 2002 NL championship squad.

Congrats to Buster, the Melkman and the Panda, and also to Matt Cain, who was named to the All-Star team.

Here is the NL All-Star team:

STARTERS

C – Buster Posey, Giants; 1B – Joey Votto, Reds; 2B – Dan Uggla, Braves; SS – Rafael Furcal, Cardinals; 3B – Pablo Sandoval, Giants; OF – Matt Kemp, Dodgers; OF – Carlos Beltran, Cardinals; OF – Melky Cabrera, Giants.

PITCHERS

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; Craig Kimbrel, Braves; Aroldis Chapman, Reds; Cole Hamels, Phillies; Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies; Wade Miley, Diamondbacks; Gio Gonzalez, Nationals; Stephen Strasburg, Nationals; R.A. Dickey, Mets; Matt Cain, Giants; Lance Lynn, Cardinals; Joel Hanrahan, Pirates; Huston Street, Padres

RESERVES

1B Bryan Lahair, Cubs; 2B Jose Altuve, Astros; SS Starlin Castro, Cubs; SS Ian Desmond, Nationals; 3B David Wright, Mets; C Carlos Ruiz, Phillies; C Yadier Molina, Cardinals; OF Jay Bruce, Reds; OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; OF Ryan Braun, Brewers; OF Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins; OF Andrew McCutchen.

Cincinnati Reds 2, San Francisco Giants 1: Giants offense needs more shutouts from pitchers

BOX SCORE

For a second consecutive day, the best thing we can say about the Giants offense is “Hey, we didn’t get shutout.”

After throwing four consecutive shutouts earlier this week, the Giants needed shutouts Friday and against Saturday to win. They didn’t get it in either.

Normally, when a pitcher shuts down the Giants offense, it’s hard to totally credit the pitcher with that. Normally, the Giants help him out.

But as much as I’d like to avoid doing this, I’d have to give Mat Latos credit.

It was the fourth game that he did not walk a batter this season, although his 115-pitch outing was the most pitches he has thrown in a game without a walk.

But Latos is usually around the plate. He hasn’t walked more than two in a game in his last eight outings.

He’d get ahead of the Giant hitters, then had them on their heals, as they rolled ground ball after ground ball to his infielders.

That is until Brandon Belt smacked a one-out triple in the ninth, leading to the Giants’ only run.

So once again we find ourselves searching for silver linings.

  • The Giants wasted a quality start from Barry Zito. Zito allowed only one run in six innings after miraculously avoiding the landmines he planted. Zito walked six out of eight batters during one stretch, including three in a row resulting in the Reds’ first run.
  • Belt had a nice at-bat to get that triple, one of the Giants’ only two hits. Belt, who has been scuffling of late, did not start, but got his triple in a pinch-hitting role.
  • The Giants still lead the NL West by one game as the Dodgers lost again, suffering their fifth shutout in six games. That’s enough to put a smile on any Giants fans face. Even the Diamondbacks loss, staying four games back.
  • Joey Votto left in the fifth inning with a sore knee. He figures to sit out Sunday’s game.
  • Brad Penny made his 2012 Giants debut out of the bullpen throwing 2 1/3 hitless innings. He retired all seven hitters he faced.

UP NEXT

Ryan Vogelsong returns to the mound to face Bronson Arroyo in the series finale at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. The Giants look for a split of the series and a 5-2 homestand before heading East to conclude the first-half of the season.

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