Giants

Baggs' Instant Replay: Reds 2, Giants 1

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Reds 2, Giants 1

BOX SCORE
SAN FRANCISCO Mat Latos still hates the Giants. And he loves to beat them.

The former foil from San Diego found AT&T Park to his liking once again Saturday afternoon. Latos pitched the Cincinnati Reds second consecutive complete game, taking a one-hit shutout into the eighth inning before escaping with a 2-1 victory over the Giants.

Barry Zito walked six but nearly kept pace with Latos while holding the Reds to one run in six innings.

The Giants only managed one baserunner Brandon Crawfords third-inning double against Latos until the ninth, when pinch hitter Brandon Belt tripled and scored on a ground out. But Latos struck out Ryan Theriot to beat the Giants for the second time this season. He also threw seven shutout innings April 24 at Cincinnati.

At least now Latos pitches for a team outside the NL West, so the Giants wont have to tangle with him again in the regular season.

Starting pitching report

Zito (6-6) issued six walks in six innings, but one was intentional and he wasnt missing by much. With his defense making plays behind him, Zito only allowed one run while posting his ninth quality start of the season.

He helped himself in the second inning, after Pablo Sandovals throwing error allowed Jay Bruce to take second base following an infield single. Zito fielded Ryan Ludwicks comebacker and alertly turned to get Bruce caught in a rundown.

The Reds were noticeably more patient the second time through the lineup. After Brandon Phillips singled, Zito issued consecutive two-out walks to Ludwick, Todd Frazier and Ryan Hanigan to force in a run.

Zito wasnt exactly all over the place, and the crowd sensed it. Even when he went 2-0 to Hanigan with the bases loaded, the fans responded with cheers of encouragement instead of the usual boos of derision. When Hanigan walked, the jeers seemed to be directed more at plate umpire Dale Scott than Zito.

Zito escaped the inning when he threw a 2-2 curve past Latos.

The left-hander needed some luck in the fifth after walking the first two batters. Sandoval made charging pickup of Joey Vottos dribbler and his throw to first base was in time only because the former MVP limped down the line.

(Votto was replaced by Miguel Cairo at first base in the bottom of the inning; the Reds reported that he had an inflamed left knee and was removed as a precaution.)

After an intentional walk to Brandon Phillips loaded the bases, Zito benefited from another lucky break. Bruce hit a spinning liner off the end of the bat to shortstop Brandon Crawford, and Stubbs got a bad read on it. Crawford flipped to Ryan Theriot for an easy double play.

Bullpen report

George Kontos allowed a run on two hits in the seventh inning, but his relief mates picked him up. Javier Lopez struck out Bruce while contributing his 14th consecutive scoreless appearance.

Then Brad Penny made his 2012 Giants debut, locating a 2-2 cutter on the outside corner to freeze Ludwick to end the inning.

Penny proceeded to retire the next six hitters in order.

At the plate

Latos nearly threw a perfect game at AT&T Park two years ago. He came darn close again.

On May 13, 2010, Latos outdueled Jonathan Sanchez in a 1-0 victory for the San Diego Padres. Only an Eli Whiteside infield single kept Latos from perfection.

This time, Latos completed eight innings and only allowed a third-inning double by Brandon Crawford down the left field line. Crawford was the only Giant to hit the ball hard off Latos. He also lined out in the sixth inning.

Other than that, they hit a bunch of lazy flies and routine grounders.

Belt made noise in the ninth with a pinch triple to the deepest reaches of right-center field in the ninth and scored on Gregor Blancos ground out to break up the shutout.

But Scotts strike zone got suddenly cavernous against Theriot, who took two borderline pitches and Latos notched a complete game with a called fastball on his 115th pitch.

In field

Sandoval committed an error but otherwise put on a Gold Glove display. He made a diving stop to rob Phillips of a single in the second inning but made his most impressive play in the seventh, when he laid out to catch Stubbs popped-up bunt attempt near the mound. Sandoval, who apparently got the wind knocked out of him while landing hard on the turf, stayed down for a minute but remained in the game.

Attendance

The Giants announced 42,135 paid -- the 125th consecutive regular-season sellout at AT&T Park. The giveaway was one of four bobbleheads depicting players from the 2002 World Series team: Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, J.T. Snow, Kirk Rueter or Robb Nen. (Chad Zerbe sold separately.)

Up next

The Giants finish their seven-game homestand as well as their season series with the Reds with a Sunday afternoon game. Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (7-3, 2.23) looks to continue his All-Star caliber first half against right-hander Bronson Arroyo (3-5, 4.13), who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his previous outing.

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

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AP

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

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AP

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.