Sept. 18, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARDDENVER (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants headed home with their playoff hopes still alive.Pablo Sandoval homered twice in an eight-run fourth inning, part of a six-home run barrage that led the late-charging Giants over the Colorado Rockies 12-5 Sunday for their eighth straight win.On its longest winning streak since April 2007, San Francisco closed within four games of Atlanta, the NL wild-card leader."We've done what we needed to do," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's obvious we need help. We've got to find a way to get (wins) and see what happens at the end."Pitcher Matt Cain, Mike Fontenot, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford also homered for the Giants, who remained five games back of Arizona in the NL West.The defending World Series champions have nine games left, including three against the Diamondbacks."We feel like we've got a really good shot," Belt said.Cain (12-10) allowed five runs - three earned - five hits, four walks and two hit batters in five innings. He helped himself with two hits, including his first home run since May 13, 2008, against Houston."I never found a rhythm," he said. "I was really working and putting a lot of pressure on myself throughout the five innings."Bochy said he was one batter from taking Cain out in the fifth, but Cain got Tommy Field to hit into an inning-ending double play."He looked like he didn't know how to pitch with a lead like that," Bochy said.In a four-game sweep of the Rockies, the Giants piled up 35 runs and 48 hits. Sandoval led the way with a seven hits, including three homers, in three games. He started the series by hitting for the cycle Thursday and ended it with his second multihomer game this season."What a series he had," Bochy said. "Pretty impressive. Pablo was locked in."Sandoval led off the fourth with a homer to center off Esmil Rogers (6-6). One out later, Belt homered and Crawford doubled. Cain followed with a homer to center.Sandoval ended the rally with his 22nd homer, a drive into the right-field bleachers for 10-1 lead."I said to my teammates, I got the hard ones. We'll see what happens.' When you get the hard ones, it's tough to get the easy ones," Sandoval said. "I wasn't thinking about the cycle, you just want to get a pitch to drive the guy in. I got a good pitch, and I hit a home run."Fontenot had given the Giants a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the first.Colorado scored twice each in the fourth and fifth innings to close the gap, but a solo homer by Crawford helped the Giants stay comfortably ahead.Ty Wigginton and Seth Smith had two hits each for Colorado, which has lost five of six.Rogers allowed nine runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings, dropping to 0-4 with a 7.81 ERA since winning three straight starts in late July and early August."The ball was very true going through the strike zone and somewhere between belt and mid-thigh area," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "When you do that, you're going to get hit by good big league hitters. That's exactly what happened."NOTES: The Giants activated closer Brian Wilson from the 15-day DL. ... The previous San Francisco player to homer twice in the same inning was Juan Uribe last Sept. 23 against the Chicago Cubs. ... The last time the Giants hit four home runs in one inning was Aug. 23, 1961, at Cincinnati. They last hit six homers in one game Aug. 7, 2006, at Arizona. ... The Giants open a three-game home series against the Dodgers on Tuesday. Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum will face Clayton Kershaw in the opener. ... Colorado finishes its home schedule with a three-game series against San Diego starting Monday.
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.
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.