Buster Posey, Giants' vets spark wild win over Pirates

Buster Posey, Giants' vets spark wild win over Pirates

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after his team stayed quiet at the trade deadline, vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean dropped a well-worn line on reporters.

“Not being flip, but the more you’ve been around the game, it’s not how good you are, it’s how well you play,” Sabean said. 

That’s what the Giants had to hold onto at the time, and that’s still the hope they have. With all their injuries, they can’t go man-to-man with the teams atop the division. They simply have to play better, which is what made the first game of this series so discouraging. Coming off two brutal losses, the Giants tanked Thursday night, pitching and hitting poorly and playing awful defense. 

It was the kind of performance that makes one want to wave the white flag, and perhaps some of that was going on. Manager Bruce Bochy was more than a half hour late to his pre-game media session because he was in a long meeting with team officials.

“We talked about the club and ways we can get better,” was all Bochy would offer once he finally settled into the dugout. 

The Giants certainly were a bit better a few hours later, beating the Pirates 13-10 in a game that was far closer than it should have been. This wasn’t all about how well they played, though. Sometimes it really is about how good you are.

This team was not built for depth, although there is more of it in some spots than we thought. It was built around stars, Face of the Franchise types, and in recent days Bochy has grouped them together in a desperate bid to get going. That meant Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford hit atop the lineup. Bochy was telling his veterans to lead the way, and on Friday they did. 

McCutchen got it going with a leadoff homer, his first in 19 at-bats this season against his former team. Posey followed with a rare infield single, and that was just the beginning. His first hit helped the Giants score two more in the first. In the second, Posey singled again. In the third, he singled in two more runs as part of a four-run frame. In the fourth, he singled yet again, capping a three-run inning. 

“He’s been swinging the bat a lot better,” Bochy said. “That’s the kind of hitter he is.”

Through four innings, Posey had raised his average seven points. That’s extremely difficult to do in August. He was pulled after grounding out in the sixth of what was then a blowout. 

McCutchen had a homer and four walks. Longoria reached base twice and drove in a run. Crawford had two walks and a double. 

A night after the four All-Stars at the top combined to go 1-for-14, they reached base 14 times, scored six runs and drove in five. 

"They had good at-bats and got in hitters' counts and took advantage of it," Bochy said. "They had some good pitches there and were letting it go. It's good to see them have some success. They've been due for a game like this where we break it open."

The Giants would need every bit of the production. Derek Holland was hit around and Pierce Johnson cashed in two of his runs while giving up a grand slam in the seventh. Even Tony Watson couldn’t stop the bleeding. He gave up two runs in the eighth and Josh Bell came a couple feet short of cutting the deficit to one. 

In a game he led 11-3 after six, Bochy used his closer in the ninth. Will Smith gave up a run, but finally ended a long night. 

"We had to keep tacking on," Bochy said. "These guys did a nice job of it."

Giants vs. Braves lineups: Johnny Cueto hopes to continue dominance


Giants vs. Braves lineups: Johnny Cueto hopes to continue dominance

After a night to forget, the Giants will once again take the field in Atlanta against the mighty Braves, who clinched the NL East division title in a 6-0 win over San Francisco on Friday night.

Bruce Bochy’s group got a front-row seat to the Ronald Acuna Jr. show, as the superstar 21-year-old reached base all four times he went to the plate, including a towering two-run homer off Tyler Beede.

The Giants will send Jonny Cueto to the mound, who continues to impress in his return from offseason Tommy John surgery. Cueto didn’t factor into the decision but tossed five scoreless innings with just three hits allowed in his last start at Oracle Park against the Marlins.

Opposite Cueto will be 25-year-old Max Fried, who has had a breakout season in 2019. Fried is second in the NL in wins with 16 on the year.

[RELATED: How Padres firing Andy Green could impact Bruce Bochy, Giants future]

Coverage begins at 3:00 PT with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming in the MyTeams App.

Here are the lineups for Giants-Braves:
San Francisco Giants (74-80)
SS Mauricio Dubon
1B Austin Slater
C Buster Posey
3B Evan Longoria
CF Kevin Pillar
LF Joey Rickard
RF Jaylin Davis
2B Cristhian Adames
RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Atlanta Braves (95-60)
CF Ronald Acuna Jr.
2B Adeiny Hechavarria
3B Josh Donaldson
LF Adam Duvall
C Francisco Cervelli
1B Austin Riley
SS Dansby Swanson
CF Billy Hamilton
LHP Max Fried (16-6, 4.25 ERA)

How Padres firing Andy Green could impact Bruce Bochy, Giants future

How Padres firing Andy Green could impact Bruce Bochy, Giants future

ATLANTA -- Bruce Bochy hasn't even had a chance to open most of the alcohol he was given on his season-long farewell tour, and he already might find himself in the rumor mill regarding another job. 

The San Diego Padres fired manager Andy Green on Friday, and you can bet Bochy's name will come up in some regard, even though he's eight games from retirement. Bochy has said all season that he is happy with his decision, but he also has at times left the door open to managing again down the line. At the very least, Bochy knows he'll be involved in baseball in some capacity next season, and the Giants have had discussions about what kind of title to give him.

Bochy won 951 games in 12 seasons in San Diego and still lives in Poway, a small city not far from Petco Park. Regardless of whether there's interest on either side, Saturday's decision will have some impact on the Giants. 

The Padres trail the Giants in the standings, but have a much better farm system, more young talent at the big league level, and a couple of entrenched superstars in Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. Their opening looks more appealing at the moment than the one that Farhan Zaidi will present to candidates in the coming weeks, and the two modern front offices could be vying for the same candidates. 

[RELATED: Giants' Tyler Beede showing signs of hope despite continued struggles]

The hire will have another type of impact on the Giants' future. The Padres have long been considered a sleeping giant by many in the industry, and with the right manager they could present another significant NL West hurdle for the Giants over the next couple of years. 

Soon, we'll find out which man the Padres consider to be that right fit. And we may find out just how committed Bochy is to drinking that wine and taking all those free fishing trips he has accumulated.