Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2


Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2


SAN FRANCISCO When a full double rainbow stretched spectacularly over the AT&T Park scoreboard in the first inning, it seemed an omen to the home crowd that the Giants would win Wednesday night, but Trevor Cahill's sinker was dialed in and Madison Bumgarner prolonged the stretch of starters' struggles to eight games. Not even a benches-clearing scrum could spur a Giants comeback as San Francisco dropped the series to the Diamondbacks with a 6-2 loss.Starting pitching report:With a chance to become the first Giants left-hander to win 15 games in a season since Shawn Estes did so in 2000, and the first Giants starter to pitch into the eighth inning since Matt Cain did so on Aug. 28, Bumgarner failed to accomplish either feat.The Giants needed Bumgarner to go deep Wednesday, after using 10 relief pitchers over seven and two-thirds innings on Tuesday. The 23-year-old southpaw retired Trevor Cahill to start the seventh inning before Adam Eaton and Aaron Hill coaxed Giants manager Bruce Bochy to the mound with a single and a run-scoring double.Bumgarner didn't look sharp from the get-go. Eaton roped the second pitch of the game up the middle for a single, spurring a 22-pitch first frame from Bumgarner that included Miguel Montero's run-scoring single. Chris Johnson connected with a 87-mph slider in the fourth inning and it stayed hit for a long time, dropping between Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence square in Triple's Alley ... for a triple. In a strikeout situation with one out, Bumgarner locked in and got Gerardo Parra for the second time in two at-bats, and looked like he escaped the inning when a flare by shortstop John McDonald was corralled in on a dive by Xavier Nady. Wearing No. 12 for the first time, Nady held the ball up high, but third base umpire Greg Gibson correctly ruled McDonald safe on a trap, allowing Johnson to cross home plate and push Arizona's lead to two.RELATED: Giants' Nady set for MRI after straining hamstring
Bumgarner dialed back in until his undoing in the seventh, and he finished with six and one-third innings pitched and four earned runs allowed. It lowered Giants starters' ERA over their last eight games from 7.88 to 7.51.Bullpen report:Jean Machi was the first reliever out of the bullpen, inheriting Bumgarner's runner at third base. He got Justin Upton looking, but Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero and Chris Johnson went single-single-double and broke the game open, pushing their lead to 6-0 before Jose Mijares recorded the final out.Brad Penny pitched the eighth, and aside from the benches-clearing conversation -- detailed in the In the field segment below -- it was uneventful.Dan Runzler began the ninth. Dan Otero finished it.With the bats:Over their past seven games, the Giants averaged 6.43 runs per game -- over two more than their season average. They needed to take the "over" to beat the Diamondbacks Wednesday, and it wasn't happening against former Athletic Trevor Cahill, nor was it happening against Arizona's bullpen, thanks in large part to the double play.Cahill, who lost both his prior starts against the Giants this season with a 6.17 ERA, pitched like he was still in Green and Gold. As an Athletic, Cahill was 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA in four starts against San Francisco.Cahill was perfect through five and one-third innings, and his sinker was in fine form in the third, freezing Xavier Nady, Brandon Crawford and Madison Bumgarner in succession. Crawford's final strike looked to be low, but with Cahill pounding the strike zone, there's no excuse for not getting the bat off the shoulder.Crawford's eye would be vindicated in the sixth, though, when he took four balls and walked to first base to break up the perfect game. The no hitter lasted another two outs, as Marco Scutaro delivered the Giants' first hit of the game with a solid base knock to right field to lead off the bottom of the seventh.AT&T Park came to life as Buster Posey singled, Hunter Pence walked, and Brandon Belt delivered a base hit to break up the shutout and make it a 6-2 ballgame. But the fanfare was short-lived as pinch hitter Ryan Theriot bounced into the inning-ending double play with runners at the corners.The eighth inning also ended on the double play, this one hit by Angel Pagan.Matt Lindstrom made the heart of the Giants order look foolish in the ninth, striking out Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. Sandoval, who was 7-for-15 with four RBIs in his last four games, fanned while checking his swing on a ball in the dirt to finish his day 0-for-4.With the gloves:After back-to-back singles from the bottom of Arizona's lineup to lead off the eighth inning, Eaton hit a ground ball to first base that began the most exciting play of the game. Brandon Belt fielded it cleanly and fired to third base. Pablo Sandoval was not on the bag for the forceout, and shortstop Josh McDonald didn't slide. Sandoval applied a hard tag that send McDonald rolling towards third base coach, and former Giants star Matt Williams. Sandoval followed up, moving forward with an earful for McDonald, presumably for not sliding. Third base umpire Greg Gibson bear-hugged Sandoval and the benches poured onto the field as Williams frantically tried to keep his two former teams apart.Lost on the play was Belt's fine defensive effort to get the lead runner, which proved critical as Penny induced a would-be sacrifice fly and a popout to escape the inning unscathed. Every fly ball to right field seems an adventure for Hunter Pence. He called off Marco Scutaro at the last second on Cahill's shallow fly ball in the second. And his route was less than direct on Paul Goldschmidt's fly ball down the line to end the third. Nonetheless, both balls found his mitt. As it turns out, Nady is no Gold Glover in left, either. Aaron Hill -- he of the five hits on Tuesday -- connected with a backed-up changeup in the fifth. After a step in, a step left and three frantic steps back, Nady leapt to make the grab, but Hill's scorched drive caromed off the tip of his glove and safely fell to the warning track. It took two solid defensive plays to strand Hill. Pablo Sandoval scooped a backhanded short-hop and fired across the diamond for the second out. And Brandon Belt ranged to his right to field a grounder, spun and found Bumgarner at first base for the touchdown putout. With a runner on third in the seventh inning, Posey's unreal forehand block on his backhand side from a Jean Machi offering won't be remembered after a string of Arizona hits.On the bases:The Giants didn't have a baserunner through the first five innings. Brandon Crawford was granted the honor of standing safely with Paul Goldschmidt when his four-pitch walk broke up the perfect game in the sixth. He was stranded on second base when center fielder Adam Eaton kept Cahill's no hitter in tact with a full-extension dive to put away Angel Pagan.Attendance:The Giants announced a paid attendance of 41,035, many of whom were left after the loss wondering profoundly, "What does this mean?"
Up next:The Giants head into their natural day off Thursday in first place in the NL West.When San Francisco resumes baseball on Friday, it will open a pivotal three-game series with the second-place Dodgers at AT&T Park. Unlike Los Angeles, who will skip Joe Blanton's Sunday start in order to slide reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw into the series, Bruce Bochy said the Giants will avoid stacking the deck.Tim Lincecum (8-14, 5.21) will take on newly-acquired Josh Beckett (1-1, 2.92) -- coming off his first win as a Dodger -- in the series opener. Matt Cain (13-5, 2.98) will face Chris Capuano (11-10, 3.63) in the Saturday matinee, and the Giants will stick with Barry Zito (10-8, 4.51) against Kershaw (12-8, 2.79) in the series finale.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency


Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.

Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches


Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

SAN FRANCISCO — Late in a 98-loss season, general manager Bobby Evans met with members of the coaching staff to discuss new roles. The shakeup of the staff ended up being a stunning one. 

Pitching coach Dave Righetti was one of three coaches to be reassigned Saturday morning. After 18 seasons as pitching coach, Righetti will now serve as special assistant to the general manager. Bullpen coach Mark Gardner was given a “special assignment role to assist in pitching evaluations.” Assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will be a special assistant for baseball operations. 

The moves cap a 13-month run in which the coaching staff has taken much of the blame for a $200 million roster that was poorly constructed in places and played embarrassing baseball for long stretches of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Third base coach Roberto Kelly was let go after the 2016 season and first base coach Billy Hayes was reassigned. More changes appear on the way. 

“It does raise the level of attention to change when you struggle as much as we have, but you’re always contemplating making changes to try to help keep pushing your guys and make sure you continue to have different perspectives and new voices and reflections on how to get the most out of them,” Evans said on a conference call. 

Throughout September, multiple coaches expressed concern about their future roles, but the Giants held off several weeks before announcing changes. At least two members of the staff were involved in managerial searches elsewhere, and third base coach Phil Nevin is reportedly still a candidate for the open job in Philadelphia. 

Evans confirmed that he has interviewed outside candidates for a hitting coach role, but he would not go so far as to say Hensley Meulens will be reassigned as well. He also would not speak to the future of Ron Wotus, although the longtime bench coach is expected to be mixed up in future changes as well. Evans indicated he would announce further moves after all the open managerial vacancies are filled.

For now, the Giants are in the process of trying to find a new pitching coach. They are focused on experienced outside candidates, and they have plenty of options, as several other teams have made changes this month. Evans hinted that he wants the next pitching coach to have a more analytical approach. 

Righetti's replacement will have massive shoes to fill. His run was the longest for a pitching coach in franchise history. The Giants, usually so reliant on pitching, finished 16th in the Majors with a 4.50 ERA, but it’s hard to see how Righetti takes the blame for that. Madison Bumgarner missed a chunk of the season after a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto had a brutal injury-plagued year, Matt Moore battled himself and had the worst ERA in the National League, and the bullpen struggled, with closer Mark Melancon pitching through an injury that required season-ending surgery. 

Righetti was credited with helping to develop a rotation and bullpen that won three titles, and the bond he shared with pitchers was on display during the final weekend of the year, when Matt Cain talked repeatedly about their close relationship and went straight for Righetti after he came off the field for the final time. While it’s often hard to figure out where to give credit, even in a down year for the staff, Righetti played a role in Sam Dyson’s resurgence, and he helped Ty Blach and Chris Stratton break in as big league regulars. 

“Ultimately a change for us in the clubhouse is really an opportunity just to put a new voice with our pitching staff and try to keep pushing to the heights that we aspire as an organization and a club,” Evans said. “Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice as anything, and I think that was really the priority here.”

Righetti will help Evans in a front office role. Evans admitted that Righetti’s “heartbeat is in uniform as a coach,” but said he was willing to take on a new role for an organization he loves. 

Gardner, a former Giants pitcher, had been on staff since 2003. He will now help to evaluate pitchers inside and outside the organization, and Evans said Gardner could serve an important role in evaluating trade options. Decker joined the big league staff in 2015 after a long run working in the minor leagues. The 2017 season was his 23rd with the organization. He will have a “blank canvas,” Evans said, working in different roles inside the organization. Decker will also help with draft preparation.