Moore, Giants finally keep momentum going with second win over Reds

Moore, Giants finally keep momentum going with second win over Reds

SAN FRANCISCO — For a team with only 14 wins, the Giants have packed in quite a few thrilling games.

There was the night Joe Panik drove one into center at Kauffman Stadium to beat the Royals in extra innings. The night newcomers Christian Arroyo and Michael Morse homered in a comeback win over the Dodgers. The night Johnny Cueto edged Clayton Kershaw. Just a few days ago, the Giants scored four in the ninth to stun the Mets. 

Those games came with a common, unfortunate theme: They were all followed by a loss. 

Momentum has slipped through this last place team’s grasp over and over again, but on Saturday the Giants finally found a way to keep their ship headed in the right direction. Matt Moore was sharp into the eighth and two solo homers proved enough. The Giants beat the Reds 3-1, getting a second win in 15 hours. 

“I think last night helped propel us to win today, honestly,” said Justin Ruggiano, who hit the second blast. “Matt knew we needed innings and he took on the challenge. Had we lost that game (last night), that would have made us even more tired. But it gave us a little jolt and carried into today.”

Even Moore, who was sent home after the fifth inning Friday, felt the energy. A starter is ostensibly sent home early so he can rest, but Moore couldn’t pull himself away from the marathon. He watched until the final out, and when he reported to the clubhouse Saturday morning, he hoped no one would ask what time he turned the TV off. Regardless, he gave Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti exactly what they needed. 

The Giants were already quietly planning roster moves in case the bullpen had another taxing day. Moore then went out and tossed 120 pitches, tying the second-highest total of his career. He got the first out of the eighth before departing. 

“It was really needed for him to get us deep into the game and he gave us more than I thought, to be honest, with where his pitch count was early,” Bochy said. “He found a way to make some pitches.”

The Giants found an unlikely way to give Moore the lead. A group lacking power smacked two solo shots, one from Brandon Belt that found the water, and one from Ruggiano, who has had plenty of success at AT&T Park. 

“Having a lot of day games here has helped,” Ruggiano said.

A night earlier, he had been robbed by the thick air.

“I hit this one about the same,” he said. “They felt the same to me. (But) I know how it is here in day games.”

Moore gave up a homer himself, but that was it. He was charged with one run over 7 1/3 and picked up his first win since April 10. That was also the last time the Giants went back-to-back. On April 11 they lost again, and they dropped eight of 11 overall after their previous “winning streak.”

Players and coaches were hopeful this style will be more long-lasting. The Giants have gotten back to their roots the last 24 hours, winning on starting pitching, a resilient bullpen, and a steady defense. Shortstop Brandon Crawford and second baseman Joe Panik were particularly flashy Saturday. Moore even added to the highlight reel, snagging Joey Votto’s scorched liner back to the mound. 

“I was kind of wondering how guys catch those,” he said, smiling. “I threw the ball and then my hand was hurting.”

An hour later, he used it for handshakes and high-fives. He hopes to do it again Sunday.

“Obviously the trench we’re in is steep, right? But without making excuses or saying we have time, it’s about taking it one at a time,” he said. “If we slow down and worry about today, and take care of what’s right in front and keep your head down, that seems the way to handle it.”


Giants prepare for life without Bumgarner: 'We just hope that someone can step up'


Giants prepare for life without Bumgarner: 'We just hope that someone can step up'

SACRAMENTO -- As the Giants took batting practice at Raley Field on Saturday afternoon, the scoreboard in center field offered an unfortunate reminder of their new reality. The River Cats are giving away Madison Bumgarner t-shirts on April 13, and the promotional material remains prominently displayed at their ballpark.

Bumgarner will be back here rehabbing at some point for a second straight summer, but it will be long after his giveaway day. A day after taking a line drive off his pitching hand, Bumgarner had surgery to have three pins inserted to stabilize his fractured fifth metacarpal. While manager Bruce Bochy said he hopes to get his ace back in two months, the Giants are internally preparing for a potential absence of 12 weeks. 

In the meantime, the rotation will be remarkably inexperienced. Ty Blach is slated to start opening day at Dodger Stadium, with Derek Holland -- a non-roster invitee -- and Chris Stratton pitching after Johnny Cueto. Because they have two early off days, the Giants will skip their fifth starter until April 10. 

The hope is that the fifth turn comes up just two or three times before Jeff Samardzija (strained pectoral) is healthy, so for now the Giants are leaning toward internal help. General manager Bobby Evans said no trades or signings were imminent. Prospects Tyler Beede and Andrew Suarez are the top candidates to fill out the rotation until Samardzija returns.

"They're both ready to help," Evans said.

So, too, are the rest of the Giants. The theme in the clubhouse Saturday was that the other 24 must keep the team afloat while Bumgarner heals. But there was no sugar-coating the magnitude of the blow.

"It's tough...Bum is irreplaceable," Brandon Crawford said. "We just hope that someone can step up and fill in for the time being."

Hunter Pence said the news was especially hard to hear because of how much work teammates watched Bumgarner put in this spring. The lefty appeared poised for a career year while dominating the Cactus League.

"It's unfortunate," Pence said. "We've got a lot of good position players and we have a good defense, and we've got to pull our weight until he gets back."

Bochy said Bumgarner was in good spirits despite losing a chunk of his season for a second straight year. The pins will be in his hand for at least four weeks, and then it's back to the rehab trail. 

"The good news that we got this morning is that they really felt good about the surgery," Bochy said. "He's such a tough guy. He handles this stuff well, he does. And I'll say this, for the six weeks out there in spring he looked as good as I've seen, and that's saying a lot. 

"He was throwing the ball beautifully so that's the thing that makes me sick about this too, along with we're losing our number one guy. But he's doing fine. It happens, unfortunately, in this game but what's important is how we all respond to it." 

Bumgarner undergoes surgery on pitching hand


Bumgarner undergoes surgery on pitching hand

A day after a line drive fractured a bone in his pitching hand, Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner underwent surgery to stabilize it.

A specialist in Arizona added three pins to Bumgarner's fifth metacarpal bone in his left hand on Saturday, the Giants announced. 

Bumgarner told reporters on Friday that the pins will remain in his hand for four-to-six weeks. Bruce Bochy told reporters on Saturday that the team does not expect Bumgarner to return until early June. 

The 28-year-old suffered the fracture in his final start of spring training, and was set to start Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 29. In 21.0 innings over six appearances this spring, Bumgarner posted a 3.43 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.