Fifth-inning error costs Giants in loss to D'backs: 'Changed that whole game'

Fifth-inning error costs Giants in loss to D'backs: 'Changed that whole game'

PHOENIX — The Giants will win some games this season because of Brandon Belt’s defense. On Wednesday, Belt felt his glove cost them one. 

The first baseman, a Gold Glove finalist two years ago, clanked a grounder to first in the fifth inning, opening the floodgates for seven unanswered runs by the Diamondbacks. Belt was hard on himself after an 8-6 loss. 

“It hopped up a little bit and I just got caught in-between,” he said. “I didn’t think I had time to get in front of the ball so I tried to backhand it. It changed that whole inning, changed that whole game. With our pitchers going the way they are, we had a good chance to win that ballgame.”

The pitcher who was cruising at the time, Matt Moore, didn’t place blame. Moore was ticked at himself for the previous two hitters, a double by Chris Owings and a walk of Paul Goldschmidt. After Belt’s error, Moore gave up an RBI double. He was charged with two more runs in the sixth. 

“I’m never going to get mad at something that happened after I walked someone,” Moore said. “There was plenty of stuff well within my control.”

Moore took a 4-1 lead into the fifth. He had struck Goldschmidt out twice on six pitches earlier, but he felt his breaking ball flattened out as the night went on and the Diamondbacks started to take advantage. Their sneaky-talented lineup scored two in the sixth and two more in the seventh. 

For a few minutes, that looked like it wouldn’t be enough. The Giants loaded the bases with one out in the eighth and got a run closer when Aaron Hill drew a walk. But Joe Panik struck out on a close 3-2 pitch inside and Chris Marrero flied out to center. 

“I felt good in the eighth,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It was swinging back our way. We had some good hitters there and they got out of it. We couldn’t get that one more hit to get us over the hump.’

--- Bochy said he’ll mix it up Thursday, with Hill starting at second against Robbie Ray and Nick Hundley possibly starting at catcher. Marrero will get a second start in left, and he’s still looking for his first hit. Jarrett Parker, the other half of the platoon, is 0-for-7 with five strikeouts. 

“They’re probably pressing a little,” Bochy said. “Parker is late. I’ve never seen him this late. He’s late on his setup and his timing is off. You know, we’ve played three games. Let them get settled in here.

“I think Marrero is getting some good swings off but it’s fair to say Park is a little off with his timing. He’s in rush mode.”

It would make sense if either or both are anxious. Parker is getting his best shot at breaking in as a big league starter. Marrero is getting his first action in four years. 

--- Early on, this looked like the Eduardo Nuñez Story. He singled in the second, stole second, and raced home when Joe Panik’s grounder was knocked down behind second. 

“It shows you how fast he is and how electric he can be,” Bochy said. “That wasn’t really that close. He got to the bag so soon and (third base coach Phil Nevin) realized he caught it. He had no chance to stop (Nuñez). That’s how fast he is.”

At Chase Field, it’s a nice addition to the lineup. At Petco Park and AT&T Park and places like that, Nuñez is going to win a few games all by himself. 

--- Hill made his first appearance in left in his 1,526th big league game. He looked fine on a line drive, and he was just fine out there this spring, too. The Giants don’t have many options in left with Denard Span, Michael Morse and Mac Williamson all hurt. If the two platoon guys keep struggling, maybe Hill gets a longer look. At the very least, it's a nice option off the bench considering how often Bochy double-switches. 

Throwback night from Hunter Pence powers Giants past Padres

Throwback night from Hunter Pence powers Giants past Padres


SAN DIEGO — It was a throwback lineup for Hunter Pence. With Chris Shaw getting the start in left, Pence moved back to right field, his position for so many consecutive nights as a Giant. It was a throwback night, too. 

Pence drove in the first three runs and Shaw the next two and the Giants beat the Padres 5-4. They have started their final trip of the year with two solid wins. 

A flare from a rookie and one of the smartest baserunning moves of the season gave the Giants the lead. With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, Shaw hit a fly ball to shallow left. Hunter Renfroe came up inches short on a diving attempt, but Brandon Crawford seemed to know that would happen the whole time. He was running up Nick Hundley’s back and scored from second, putting the Giants ahead by a run. 

Here's what else you need to know ... 

—- Pence wiped out an early deficit with an absolute moonshot. He crushed a Joey Lucchesi pitch to the top of the second deck in left. The blast went an estimated 437 feet and gave the Giants a 2-1 lead. Pence has two of the five longest homers of the year for the Giants despite having just three total. 

—- He hit a Hunter Pence Special in his next at-bat, bouncing a ball that caught first baseman Eric Hosmer by surprise and went down the line for a double. This was Pence’s first game with multiple extra-base hits since August 18 of last season. It was his first three-RBI game since last September 19. 

—- The Padres took the lead on a controversial call in the fifth. With a runner on, Franmil Reyes hit a towering fly ball to left. Chris Shaw appeared to have an excellent shot at robbing Reyes of a two-run homer, but his glove collided with a fan’s outstretched hands as he reached over the short fence. The Giants challenged the play but lost.

—- The homer ruined Derek Holland’s line a bit. He gave up four earned in five innings. This was the first time since August 10 that he allowed four runs in a game.

POLL: Giants memorable moments -- Ishikawa's HR wins '14 Pennant vs. Winning '12 World Series


POLL: Giants memorable moments -- Ishikawa's HR wins '14 Pennant vs. Winning '12 World Series

NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into Giants Pregame Live at 6 p.m. to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Rockies conclude on Saturday, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will move on.

1. Travis Ishikawa's walk-off homer wins 2014 NL Pennant (Eight-time winner -- Defeated Tim Lincecum strikes out 10 in 2010 World Series clincher)

(From former Giants third base coach and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Tim Flannery)

After winning a one-game Wild Card showdown in Pittsburgh and then dramatically defeating the heavily favored Washington Nationals 3 games to 1, we found ourselves one series away from another trip to the World Series. After four tough fought games against the St. Louis Cardinals, we were leading the NLCS 3 games to 1 and back in San Francisco with our ace Madison Bumgarner on the mound with a chance to make history once again.

Bum would be facing the Cards veteran ace Adam Wainwright, who was very familiar pitching win-or-go-home games. The Cards struck first,  scoring one in the 3rd inning, but Joe Panik hit a two-run homer to take the lead and get the packed house in China Basin on their feet and going wild. The Cards came right back to quiet the crowd and steal back the momentum with two homers of their own and take back the lead 3- 2. Bumgarner and Wainwright both went into shut down mode retiring the rest of the hitters they saw. With the Cardinals leading by one, relief specialist Pat Neshek took over in the 8th only to surrender a huge pinch-hit homer to Michael Morse who went down and hooked a slider up and out to left field to tie the game.

Santiago Casilla took over in the 9th and after loading the bases, Jeremy Affeldt came in once again and shut down the Cardinals and keep the game tied into the bottom of the 9th. 

With Michael Wacha taking the mound for the Cardinals, the crowd at AT&T came to their feet knowing one run would send us to our 3rd World Series in the last five years. Pablo Sandoval singled to start the inning and with one out, Brandon Belt walked. Joaquin Arias pinch ran for Sandoval. Travis Ishikawa came to the plate to hit and with the count 2-0, he went down and crushed a low, sinking fastball to right field hitting a line drive that looked like it had a chance to get over the head of the right fielder. As the third base coach, I immediately checked my runner at second base, and Árias did the correct thing, going half way on the ball in the air. When I looked back to find the ball, everything went into slow motion and deftly quiet, at least in my head. Then I realized the ball was over the outfielder and we were going to win the Pennant.

At that moment, the quiet in my head erupted into total chaos as the ball continued into the seats for a walk-off, Pennant winning moment that would be part of history forever. Bedlam broke out with Ishikawa running around the bases with his teammates running down the line with him jumping and screaming. Jake Peavy sprinted by me and ran on the field to jump on Travis at second base thinking he hit a double, not a homer to win it. Waiting at home plate, the rest of the team was delirious waiting on Ishikawa to run through the obstacles of people, flying helmets and tears until he touched home plate and sent the Giants to the World Series and his legacy into the history books forever right next to the Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard ‘round the World” as the “Giants win the Pennant, the Giants win the Pennant, the Giants win the Pennant.” 

Fans, friends and family danced and partied on the field and then into the Clubhouse to celebrate all night, still not believing what had just taken place. A very surreal moment that will never be forgotten.


2. Giants sweep Detroit to win 2012 World Series thanks to Marco Scutaro's game-winning hit

(From Alex Pavlovic)

The Giants fought so hard to stay alive early on in the 2012 postseason, but the final steps to a second title in three years ended up being relatively painless. 

After overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS, the Giants swept the powerful Detroit Tigers, clinching the Series with a 4-3 extra-innings win in Detroit. The Game 4 victory was the seventh straight for the Giants, who outscored the Cardinals and Tigers 38-7 during that stretch. 

"I'm just glad the whole world got to see what this team is about," Ryan Vogelsong said after the World Series. "Starting with Game 5 of the NLDS, we played our best baseball of the season. I always knew we were capable of this."

Appropriately, the final victory came with a comeback. The Giants trailed early after Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer, but grabbed a Game 4 lead when Buster Posey took Max Scherzer deep in the sixth. The Tigers came right back to tie it, setting the stage for one last Marco Scutaro moment. The postseason star drove Ryan Theriot in with a single in the top of the 10th, and Sergio Romo took over from there. 

Romo got Austin Jackson and Don Kelly swinging before freezing Cabrera with one of the most memorable pitches in franchise history, a 2-2 fastball right down the middle. On a cold night in Detroit, the Giants poured out of their dugout to celebrate for the second time. 

"We bought into something you don't see very often," Hunter Pence said. "We bought into playing for each other and loving each other."