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Giants don't get away with any mistakes in AZ sweep

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Giants don't get away with any mistakes in AZ sweep

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PHOENIX The Arizona clay was so baked and so firm, BusterPosey couldnt tell if his foot was still touching the plate.

It was not. Everything in the seventh inning Sunday heck,everything in this season-opening series was not where the Giants needed itto be.

The Giants wore new alternate uniforms inspired by the 1980sand ended up in a time warp, all right. The Arizona Diamondbacks mixed jabswith haymakers while coming back from a six-run deficit against Matt Cain, thenscored the tiebreaking run when Poseys foot drifted off the dish on a forceplay and the Giants were stunned after a 7-6 loss swept them out of the SonoranDesert.

The Giants are 0-3 to begin a season for the first timesince 1984, when current announcer Duane Kuiper, not Cain, wore No.18.

The Diamondbacks, the defending NL West champions, droppedexclamation points over the fence while scoring 14 runs in 15 13 inningsagainst Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain. Manager Kirk Gibsonsconfident crew has now beaten the Giants eight consecutive times dating back tolast season, and 10 of the last 12.

So the Giants were left with two unfavorable subjects toponder on their flight to Denver: The myriad ways they let three one-run gamesget away from them, or the uncanny way that Arizonas hitters barreled up everymistake pitch.

One thing the Diamondbacks did all series if we mademistakes, they made us pay for them, Posey said.

Lincecum and Bumgarner made most of theirs in the firstinning. Cain didnt begin to miss badly until he had a big lead.

Whether they got to their pitch early or late, they got toit, said left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who took the loss when he only retiredone of three batters in a calamitous seventh inning.

It just shows the game is not easy and were facing a goodoffensive team thats gotten better and better over the years. I think wevegot good enough pitching to equalize them, but we just didnt get it done.

The Giants started out well enough. Shortstop BrandonCrawfords first hit of the season also gave the club its first lead of 2012.His double in the second inning gave the Giants a 2-0 lead and Buster Poseymade it 6-0 in the third when his two-run home run carried near the swimmingpool in right-center.

Poseys Easter Sunday home run was his first in the bigleagues since April 24 of last season -- which also happened to be EasterSunday, strangely enough.

But the Giants quieted down as soon as right-hander JoshCollmenter departed, though a momentum stoppage they later would regret. Theyeven failed to capitalize when the Diamondbacks committed four errors over thefourth, fifth and sixth innings. Left-hander Wade Miley didnt allow a hit inhis four innings a troubling sign after the Giants struggled to pose a threatto any left-handed pitching this spring.

Still, the Giants had Cain on the mound and no cause foralarm. After all, they didnt blowa lead of larger than four runs all last season; the last time they blew a leadof six runs or more was July 28, 2010, to Florida and that game resulted in a10-9 victory.

Yet Lyle Overbay hit a two-run double in the fourth and Cainpaid for consecutive mistakes in the sixth. Ryan Roberts hit a two-run homerand Overbay followed with a solo shot to get the Diamondbacks within a run.

In both rallies, Miguel Montero drew a walk.

Middle, middle, said Cain, describing the two home runpitches. The two walks to Montero were obviously huge, too.

Cain didnt allow two home runs in any of his 33 starts lastseason. He served up just nine for the year. Arizona hit just one in 175 totalplate appearances against him.

Maybe the Diamondbacks were just overdue.

The thing about these guys, almost every one of em cantake you deep, Cain said. So youve got to focus on making pitches to all ofthem. Youve got to stay on your game and not let anything slip. That happenedtoday. I didnt make pitches when I needed to.

Neither did Affeldt or Santiago Casilla, who combined toload the bases in the seventh on a single and two walks. Left-hander JavierLopez got the ground ball that maanger Bruce Bochy wanted from Montero, ButCrawford backpedaled on the ball and couldnt make a clean stop as the tyingrun scored.

"I was trying to get the big hop and I just rushed myself,trying to get two instead of the one out, said Crawford, who was charged withan error.

Right-hander Sergio Romo got another badly needed groundball from Chris Young, but third baseman Pablo Sandoval threw wide to the plateand Posey couldnt keep his right foot from sliding. Umpire Mike DiMuroimmediately called Aaron Hill safe.

Posey did not argue. Bochy did, and got ejected.

I couldnt tell, to be honest, Bochy said. I got wordfrom somebody in the dugout he was on home plate and I lost it. Looking at it,(DiMuro) was right. Its a natural reaction.

Posey was charged with his third error of the series. Healso made a weak throw to second base earlier in the game, and failed to securea foul pop near the screen.

He said he kept his right foot on the plate because thatshow he would stand on a force play as a first baseman not to protect hissurgically repaired left ankle.

As hard as the ground is there, I couldnt feel where itwas, he said.

Now the Giants face an even harder reality. They must turn to Barry Zito, who threw battingpractice toward the end of the spring, to prevent them from the first 0-4 startin the clubs San Francisco era. They havent been 0-4 to start a season since1950. Thats when Bill Rigney as a player, not a manager wore No.18, incase you were wondering.

At least a few current Giants were willing to look ahead,memorizing May 11-13 on the schedule. Thats when theyll return to ChaseField.

Well be back here in a month, said Crawford. And wellbe back.

Hunter Pence changing positions to accommodate Andrew McCutchen

Hunter Pence changing positions to accommodate Andrew McCutchen

SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew McCutchen has spent his entire career as a center fielder. With a new team comes a new position. 

Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed on Tuesday that McCutchen will move to right field for the Giants, with Hunter Pence sliding over from right to left. Bochy said he talked to McCutchen about the plan -- one the Giants had throughout the McCutchen chase -- after Monday's trade. 

"I'm looking forward to right field," McCutchen said. "That's one place people can't pick on me saying that my defensive metrics are so bad. I'm looking forward to playing right. I know there's a lot of room out there to run, so it's definitely going to be almost like playing center."

McCutchen said he's looking forward to picking Pence's brain about patrolling right field at AT&T Park. Bochy has already spoken to Pence and said his longtime right fielder is on board with the plan. 

"He's just so excited about getting Cutch on this club that he's good with anything or whatever is best for this club," Bochy said. "So that's the plan right now."

McCutchen has played 11,621 defensive innings in his career and all but 115 1/3 of them have been in center field. He briefly moved to right field last season but shifted back to center when Starling Marte was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. McCutchen was a Gold Glove Award winner in 2012 but his defensive metrics tailed off in recent seasons. He was worth negative 28 Defensive Runs Saved in 2016 and was at negative 16 DRS last season. 

McCutchen had wanted to stay in center in Pittsburgh, but said it's a new case with a new team.

"I wasn’t too keen on (moving at first) because I felt that I had more there, that I could do something there (in center)," he said. "I honored (the Pirates) once they wanted me to play a little shallower and that backfired on me. I was basically asking for another shot but I didn’t get that chance or opportunity. But now that I’m going into the Giants organization and this is something they want me to do, I’m all for it.

"San Francisco has a huge field. It’s bigger than PNC Park. They’ve got Triples Alley and it’s called Triples Alley for a reason. For me, it’s another center field. I’m moving over a little and if it’s saving my legs and I can get more stolen bases, I’m all game and I’m all for it.”

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

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USATSI

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — There was a sense of celebration within the Giants organization on Monday after the addition of Andrew McCutchen. He is easily their best outfielder, a potential solution atop the order, and a player who is known for being a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. 

If the Giants had any doubts, though, they surely felt better after seeing the quotes that came out of Pittsburgh. In a series of statements, Pirates officials made it clear this was a difficult trade to make, with chairman Bob Nutting calling it “one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure.”

Nutting, in a statement, said that McCutchen’s smile and energy were infectious even as a teenager. Later, McCutchen got the Pirates to three straight postseason appearances. 

“He did so while always carrying himself with humility, dignity and grace,” Nutting said. 

Team president Frank Coonelly described the trade as painful. 

“(No) individual was more responsible for the success that we had from 2013 to 2015 than Cutch,” Coonelly said in a statement,” And no player was more disappointed than Andrew that we did not break through and win a World Series Championship for the City of Pittsburgh.”

McCutchen was Pittsburgh’s first-round selection in the 2005 draft and made his debut in 2009. In nine seasons with the Pirates, he was a five-time All-Star and a perennial MVP candidate. He won the award in 2013 and finished in the top five of voting for four consecutive seasons. 

General manager Neal Huntington said the decision to actually part with the franchise player was “incredibly difficult.”

“Watching Andrew patrol center field with grace, fly around the bases, drive the ball all around the ballpark, celebrate with his teammates or interact with his family, friends or fans has created lifelong memories for me and many, many others around the game of baseball,” he said.