Giants pass through first fiery hoop, edge Reds


Giants pass through first fiery hoop, edge Reds


CINCINNATI This wasnt Kirby Puckett or Jim Leyritz. Thiswasnt Jack Buck and his lawnmower voice, kicking up gravel with "And wellsee ya tomorrow night!"

The Giants didnt survive with a swift stroke to thebleachers or a bold scamper from second base or even an emphatic strikeout thatwill be replayed for generations.

They survived while going 3-for-36 and striking out 16 times Tuesday night.They survived despite needing to squeeze five innings from their bullpen. Theysurvived with two runs that arrived by aid of a sacrifice bunt, a sacrificefly, a passed ball and a short-hop error off the chest of an eight-time GoldGlove Award winner.

When you escape a burning house, you dont care if yourewearing one shoe.

The Giants will live to see tomorrow after a 2-1, 10-inningvictory over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

This is a group of guys that love each other and loveplaying together, said right fielder Hunter Pence, who delivered a screaming,passionate speech in the clubhouse a few minutes before the first pitch.

We want to play more baseball together. Thats what itsall about.

This was not a courtesy win. The Giants are down 2-1, theyare on the road, they are hitting .121 over three games, and sure, no team hasever come back to win an NL division series after dropping the first two.

But they are very much alive in this series, and the Redsshould be very nervous.

Reds manager Dusty Baker was not ready to announce a Game 4starter to oppose Barry Zito on Wednesday, mostly because he has no earthlyidea whom theyll choose. It could be Mat Latos on short rest after he threw 59pitches Saturday. Or they could add Mike Leake to the roster, but that wouldmean sacrificing Johnny Cuetos eligibility for the NLCS should the Redsadvance. (Cueto, who threw just eight pitches in Game 1, has a strainedoblique.)

Well try to come up with a solution tonight, said Baker,who finds himself once again facing a postseason pitching dilemma. I mean, Iwish I had an answer. But I dont.

There is this, too: Latos reportedly is battling flusymptoms, although he called it mere congestion.

I dont know what theyre going to do on the other side, Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy said. But this was a game we had to throw everything atthem. You never know what can happen, but I do know we had to win today. We hadno choice.

This game, it was do or die for us.

The Giants lineup didnt do much of anything. But RyanVogelsong and four relievers would not let them die.

Both teams combined for seven hits. Reds right-hander HomerBailey allowed just one while striking out 10 in seven overwhelming innings(and on just 88 pitches).

Even Vogelsong had to marvel at the way Bailey tore throughone batter after another while taking a no-hitter to the fifth inning whilestriking out six consecutive at one point. Then Vogelsong came back to theclubhouse after his five innings, watched Bailey on television and came awayeven more stunned at how well he was locating his fastballs.

Vogelsong, after a 30-pitch first inning, found a way tomatch a guy throwing a no-hitter. That is seldom easy to do. The bullpen tookit from there. And after 28 innings in this series, the Giants scratched outtheir first lead on two singles, a passed ball and Joaquin Arias grounder thatbounced away from Scott Rolen.

Theres no time for panic, center fielder Angel Pagansaid. If you panic, I dont think you win a game like this. You have to go outthere and believe youre going to get it done.

Even a team hitting .121 can register a pulse.

That fight we had out there? That is the fight we have tobring tomorrow, Pagan said. Whoever it is, weve got to be ready for him.

We came here to win three games in a row. We didnt come towin one game."

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.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."