Season-high four in a row


Season-high four in a row


SAN FRANCISCO When youve hit one home run in your last 18 home games, youd better be creative about scoring runs.

The Giants keep finding ways, and their pitching staff keeps making those runs hold up.

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro allowed the tying run to score in embarrassing fashion when he lost track of the outs in the fifth inning, Buster Posey scored the tiebreaking run in the seventh after drawing his fourth walk of the afternoon and Ryan Vogelsong maintained the rotations full-gallop pace as the Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 at AT&T Park on Monday afternoon.

The Giants completed their first four-game sweep over the Cubs in San Francisco since June 17-20, 1999, at Candlestick Park. They have 19 wins since May 5, tied for the most in the majors with the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox.

Starting pitching report
Vogelsong (4-2) turned in the Giants seventh consecutive start of at least seven innings and no more than two earned runs. Its a streak that has been done just one other time in the Giants San Francisco era, when they had nine straight starts meeting those qualifications in 1988.

Vogelsong gave up both his runs in the second inning, when the Cubs collected five singles most of them bleeders -- in a six-batter span. The right-hander stranded the bases loaded when he fielded Castros checkswing tapper and made an accurate throw to first base.

He only allowed one more runner into scoring position after that, and Ryan Theriots highlight play helped him escape the seventh inning.

Vogelsongs 2.38 ERA leads the Giants rotation and he has nine quality starts in 11 outings.

Bullpen report
Jeremy Affeldt went six up, six down to record a very impressive two-inning save. He even got an at-bat out of the deal, which his teammates enjoyed very much.

At the plate
The Giants extended their streak to 13 home games without a home run, the second longest in the clubs San Francisco era. They went 15 games without a homer from Sept. 4 to Oct. 3, 1980.

Its also the longest streak by any club at home since the Dodgers played 14 consecutive games at Chavez Ravine without a homer in 1992.

They utilized patience over punch to score enough to support Vogelsong. Buster Posey walked while seeing 27 pitches in each of his first four plate appearances. He became the first Giant with a four-walk game since Juan Uribe on May 9, 2010. It also was just the second four-walk game since Barry Bonds in 2007.

(Since 2000, Bonds owns 16 of the clubs 19 four-walk games. Posey, Uribe and Dustan Mohr own the others.)

The Giants began their comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the second inning when Brandon Belt and Joaquin Arias singled and Brandon Crawford followed with a double down the right field line. But Ryan Theriot struck out with the bases loaded and Melky Cabrera had the misfortune of lining out to second baseman Darwin Barney.

Cabrera grounded out to strand a pair in the fourth, but the Giants benefited from a huge mental mistake to tie it in the fifth.

Posey led off by drawing a walk against Jeff Samardzija and Angel Pagan ripped a single extending his hitting streak to an all-time franchise record 28 home games. Pagan doffed his helmet as the sellout crowd treated him to a standing ovation.

Belt walked to load the bases but it appeared the Cubs would escape when Arias lined out and Crawford hit a roller to second base for an easy double play. But Castro simply strode across the bag as he received the throw from Barney, causing faces to strike palms all through Cubs nation. Posey looked back after crossing the plate, surprised that his run counted.

Posey drew another walk from former Cubs closer Carlos Marmol to start the winning rally in the seventh. The Giants once again loaded the bases with no outs after Pagan reached on an infield single and Belt walked. Arias grounded into a double play as Posey crossed the plate.

In field
Was Theriot lucky or good?

Maybe a little of both when he stopped Castros short-hop smash in the seventh inning. With the tiebreaking run at third base, Castros hot shot deflected off Theriots glove but went straight up in the air. It was a bad bounce for the Cubs, as Theriot snatched the ball with his bare hand and threw in time for the out.

The Giants announced 41,524 paid. Approximately 41,523 knew there was one out when Crawford hit his grounder in the fifth.

Up next
The Giants begin a three-game road trip at Petco Park against the last-place San Diego Padres on Tuesday. Tim Lincecum (2-6, 5.82) will try to get back in the victory column against right-hander Anthony Bass (2-5, 4.00).

Lincecum is 10-4 with a 1.84 ERA in his career against the Padres. After San Diego, his next start is expected to come June 16 at Seattle the Washington natives first ever appearance at Safeco Field.

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role


Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

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. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered


Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

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.