Instant Replay: Panik delivers big hit, Giants beat Royals in 11

Instant Replay: Panik delivers big hit, Giants beat Royals in 11


KANSAS CITY — Bruce Bochy has missed two games the past two seasons because of minor heart issues. 

Last August, Brandon Crawford’s seven-hit game led the Giants to a 14-inning win over the Marlins. On Tuesday it was the other middle infielder, Joe Panik, who got the big hit in an 11-inning win over the Royals. 

Panik drove Nick Hundley in with an RBI single just under a diving Lorenzo Cain’s glove in the top of the 11th and the Giants held on for a 2-1 win in their return to Kauffman Stadium. Both teams spent the later innings wasting promising rallies until Panik’s liner touched grass a couple inches away from Cain’s glove.

The night was a pitching duel from the start. Two games after watching Tyler Chatwood flirt with perfection, the Giants struggled to get in gear against Jason Hammel. The former Cub retired the first 12, but Matt Cain was up for the challenge. He worked around some trouble in the first and then cruised into the fifth. 

Earlier Tuesday, infielder Whit Merrifield told reporters about facing Madison Bumgarner when he was 11 years old and getting drilled in the head. He fared better against Cain, poking a homer the other way to give the Royals a 1-0 lead in the fifth. 

The Giants struck right back, tying the game when Hunter Pence’s two-out single to right brought Panik racing in from second. Buster Posey, playing for the first time in a week, appeared to have given the Giants the lead when he hit a ball up the middle that Raul Mondesi couldn’t field cleanly. Brandon Belt raced around second but he was out by inches when Sal Perez snow-coned the throw home and put a perfect tag down. 

The Giants had a chance to go ahead in the seventh when Crawford reached third with no outs, but Hundley and Chris Marrero struck out and Denard Span grounded out. In the eighth, it was the Royals who threatened. They nudged the go-ahead run to third but Steven Okert got the Giants out of the inning. 

The Royals left a runner on second in the bottom of the ninth. The Giants countered by leaving one on second in the top of the 10th. The Royals wasted two singles in the bottom of that inning and two more in the 11th. 

Starting pitching report: That’s two good ones in a row for Cain. His last two starts: 12 innings, two earned runs, nine hits, five walks, nine strikeouts. He threw just 86 pitches Tuesday. 

Bullpen report: Derek Law got a well-deserved win after throwing two scoreless innings of relief. Mark Melancon picked up his third save.

At the plate: Posey had three singles on his first night back from the concussion DL, raising his average to a cool ..385. 

In the field: In case you had forgotten over the past three years, the Royals have an excellent outfield that will annoy the hell out of you if you root for the other team. Cain made it look way too easy while chasing down a Hundley liner in the fourth and another in the ninth, and Alex Gordon made a tremendous diving catch to rob Marrero in the sixth. 

Attendance: The Royals announced a crowd of 20,863 human beings who didn’t seem to have any hate for the Giants. That 2015 title worked some magic. 

Up next: Bumgarner will make his first appearance at Kauffman Stadium since the night he won a free truck with technology and stuff.


Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts


Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.