Giants

Giants use suicide squeeze in 11th to win 4-3

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Giants use suicide squeeze in 11th to win 4-3

July 17, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARDSAN DIEGO (AP) Chris Stewart drove in the go-ahead run with a suicide squeeze in the 11th inning, then pounced on a bunt moments later to start a slick double play that helped the San Francisco Giants hold off the San Diego Padres 4-3 on Sunday.Emmanuel Burriss, who entered as a pinch-runner in the ninth, reached on a one-out single off Chad Qualls (4-3) in the 11th. Burriss stole second and continued to third on catcher Kyle Phillips' throwing error.With the infield in, Qualls pitched out on his first delivery to Stewart, who stayed in the game after pinch-hitting in the ninth. But on a 3-1 count, Stewart laid down a perfect bunt to easily score Burriss.The Giants stole six bases, two by Burriss, to tie a San Francisco record.Javier Lopez (5-1) pitched two innings for the win and Brian Wilson wriggled out of a jam in the 11th for his 28th save in 32 chances.Wilson walked his first two batters and Phillips tried to advance them with a bunt in front of home plate. Stewart quickly popped out of his crouch and fired to third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who relayed to first for a 2-5-4 double play that fired up the Giants' infield.Logan Forsythe walked before Wilson retired Alberto Gonzalez on a game-ending grounder.San Francisco, which has won seven of its last nine games, took three of four in the series. It was the eighth time the clubs have played each other in the last 11 games.The Padres have lost eight of nine.San Diego's Orlando Hudson hit a two-run, go-ahead single in the sixth inning to take advantage of a mistake by catcher Eli Whiteside.With one out in the sixth and Everth Cabrera at the plate, Matt Cain threw a pitch in the dirt that Cabrera swung at and missed for strike three. But plate umpire Marvin Hudson ruled that Whiteside didn't catch the ball. While Cabrera took off for first base, Whiteside held up his glove, indicating he had caught the ball, while he argued with Hudson.By the time Whiteside threw to first, Cabrera beat the throw on what was officially ruled a passed ball.Cameron Maybin followed with a single and the Padres loaded the bases when Ryan Ludwick was hit on the hand by Cain's fastball. Hudson then singled in two runs to put the Padres ahead 3-2.The Giants tied the game in the seventh when Whiteside reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and scored on Andres Torres' single.Cain allowed three runs - one earned - and three hits over six innings. The All-Star right-hander struck out nine and walked two.The Padres scored an unearned run in the first after Will Venable led off with a walk and went to third on a fielding error by second baseman Mike Fontenot on Cabrera's grounder. Venable scored one out later on Ludwick's sacrifice fly.San Francisco tied the score at 1 in the second after consecutive singles by Nate Schierholtz and Aubrey Huff to start the inning followed by Cody Ross' sacrifice fly.Schierholtz had a run-scoring single in the sixth for a 2-1 lead.Padres starter Mat Latos gave up three runs and seven hits in seven innings.NOTES: Cain is 5-1 with a 2.01 ERA in his last nine starts. ... Padres SS Jason Bartlett was placed on the paternity leave list. San Diego recalled Cabrera from Triple-A Tucson. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley missed his second straight game with a strained right calf.

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

DeBoer's defense of Jones doesn't paint the whole picture

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USATSI

DeBoer's defense of Jones doesn't paint the whole picture

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer passionately defended goaltender Martin Jones following San Jose's 5-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. For the eighth time in his last 14 starts, Jones allowed four goals, but DeBoer tried to take a look at the bigger picture. 

"You guys like to grab little pictures of things that work for the story your writing," DeBoer told reporters in Denver after he was asked about Jones' recent struggles. 

"It's 14 games. You can go back six games and write whatever story you want. He's having a great year for us. Our goaltending has been excellent all year."

If you look at his save percentage, Jones is not having a great season.

His save percentage in all situations (.9097) is the lowest in his three seasons in teal, and ranks 22nd out of the 34 goalies that have played 1000 minutes in all situations, according to Corsica Hockey. His five-on-five save percentage (.9147) is also the lowest of his teal tenure, and sits 26th out of 30 goalies that have played 1000 five-on-five minutes. 

But save percentage doesn't always tell the whole story, as it doesn't take into account shot quality. As we've written previously, Jones has played behind a loose defense this season.

Among those aforementioned 30 goalies, Jones has faced the highest percentage of high-danger shots, the second-highest percentage of medium-danger shots, and fourth-lowest percentage of low-danger shots. 

Luckily, there's a metric that does take into account shot quality: goals saved above average (GSAA). GSAA works much like Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in baseball, and considers how well a league-average goaltender would do "based on the shot danger faced," according to Corsica's definition.

Jones has been better than his save percentage would indicate. His 0.54 five-on-five GSAA ranks 17th out of the 30 goalies that have played 1000 five-on-five minutes, and his all situations GSAA (8.69) ranks 11th out of 34 goalies that have played 1000 minutes in all situations. 

GSAA has the same downside as WAR, in that it's an accumulative statistic, and favors players that have played more. In order to equalize for playing time, we can look at GSAA/30 shots faced. 

Jones ranks 17th and 10th in five-on-five (0.03) and all situations (0.31) GSAA/30, respectively, among goaltenders that have played 1000 minutes in such circumstances. In other words, Jones has been about average during five-on-five play, and one of the league's better goalies across all situations, at least based on the kind of shots he's faced.

That's not neccessarily "great," but Jones has been better on the whole than his recent play would indicate. Of course, he's also been outplayed in his own crease.

Backup goaltender Aaron Dell not only boasts a higher save percentage than Jones, but his GSAA/30 in five-on-five situations (0.15) and across all strengths (0.44) are also higher than Jones'. Every 30 shots on the penalty kill, Dell (2.05 GSAA/30) saves nearly a goal more than Jones (1.06). 

DeBoer also acknowledged that Dell will have to play more out of necessity, with the Sharks halfway through a stretch of eight games in 13 days. That includes a difficult back-to-back this weekend, hosting the Penguins Saturday and facing the Ducks in Anaheim on Sunday. 

The coach was on to something on Thursday. Yes, Jones has been better than his recenty play, and his season-long save percentage, would indicate. 

But that doesn't mean he's been "great," nor does it mean he's San Jose's better option in net right now.