Free-falling Giants blanked in Atlanta, drop seventh straight

Free-falling Giants blanked in Atlanta, drop seventh straight


ATLANTA -- R.A. Dickey knew he was close, even if the results didn't show it.

He was right.

Dickey threw seven scoreless innings in his strongest outing of the season, Matt Adams hit another homer and the Atlanta Braves sent the San Francisco Giants to their seventh straight loss, a 9-0 rout Monday night.

The 42-year-old Dickey (5-5) escaped a jam in the first but wound up surrendering just three hits. The knuckleballer retired 16 of the last 17 hitters he faced, including 13 in a row.

"You know it's good when they're swinging and missing," Dickey said. "That means it's in the zone for a while, then out of the zone quickly."

Even after his last outing, when he was tagged for a season-high eight runs by Washington, Dickey insisted his baffling pitch wasn't far off.

"It's hard to see sometimes," he said, smiling. "You have to trust me."

Of course, it helped to be going against the Giants, whose skid is the longest of a hugely disappointing season. San Francisco dropped to 26-46 and fell a staggering 20 games behind first-place Colorado in the NL West.

"Dickey got in a groove with that knuckleball," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We just couldn't get the barrel to the ball."

Adams homered in the fourth off Johnny Cueto (5-7), driving it deep into the right-field seats. The first baseman added an RBI single in the eighth, sparking a seven-run outburst that made it a rout.

He now has 10 homers and 27 RBIs since being acquired from St. Louis on May 20 after Freddie Freeman sustained a fractured wrist.

"We all miss Freddie, but that guy has been everything and more than everything we could've hoped for," Dickey said. "I hope we can find a spot for him when Freddie comes back."

San Francisco started strong. Denard Span led off a game delayed 44 minutes by rain with a double to left, and Eduardo Nunez reached on an infield single. But Brandon Crawford and Hunter Spence popped out to shortstop, sandwiched around Buster Posey's strikeout, to leave the runners stranded.

Cueto also went seven strong innings, surrendering five hits and two runs.

The Braves blew it open against San Francisco's depleted bullpen, scoring all seven runs in the eighth with two outs. Dansby Swanson had a two-run single and Danny Santana hit the first pinch-hit homer of his career, a towering three-run shot off Derek Law that landed in the second deck.

Law faced six hitters, giving up five hits and a walk. He was charged with four runs, boosting his ERA from 4.20 to 5.40.

The Giants will be a man down for six games after Major League Baseball upheld Hunter Strickland's suspension.

The right-handed reliever plunked Washington star Bryce Harper on May 29, igniting a brawl that led to a three-game suspension for Harper, who has already served his time.

Strickland will miss all four games in Atlanta, as well as the first two games of a weekend series in San Francisco against the Mets.

The Braves plan to go to a six-man rotation, at least temporarily, when 44-year-old Bartolo Colon returns from the disabled list Wednesday to start against the Giants.

The right-hander went down June 6 with what was described as a strained left oblique muscle. The move came a day after he gave up eight runs in 3 2/3 innings against Philadelphia, dropping his record to 2-7 with a 7.78 ERA.

Giants: OF Jarrett Parker (fractured right clavicle) began a rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Sacramento.

Braves: Micah Johnson could soon be headed for a rehab assignment, and Sean Rodriguez is making big strides in his recovery.

The jack-of-all-trade players have yet to get on the field this season. Johnson sustained a broken left wrist making a diving catch in a spring training game, while Rodriguez sustained a torn left rotator cuff during an offseason car wreck that also injured his wife and two sons.

Johnson is much closer to returning, but Rodriguez is aiming to get back on the field before September.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore (2-7, 6.00) gets the start Tuesday coming off the shortest outing of the season. He gave up eight runs and 11 hits in just three innings at Colorado. San Francisco is 3-11 in Moore's starts, including a current stretch of five straight losses.

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (6-4, 4.86) makes his sixth career start against the Giants. He is 2-2 with a 3.99 ERA in his previous appearances, the most recent win coming in 2013.

For second straight year, an altercation proves costly for Giants


For second straight year, an altercation proves costly for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Your view of which side was the blame Tuesday night depends almost entirely on which side of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry you grew up on. That much was made clear over the past three days, both in the aftermath of the mini-brawl and when the punishments were handed down Thursday afternoon. 

At this point, it doesn’t really matter how much blame to place with either party. The only thing that matters for the Giants is that for the second consecutive year, they found themselves mixed up in a silly skirmish that cost them a player. This time around, the price is steeper for the team, both because of the player involved and the circumstances of the season. 

A year ago, Michael Morse’s career ended with a concussion suffered when Jeff Samardzija crashed into him seconds after Hunter Strickland threw at Bryce Harper. Morse was put on the DL and soon found himself retired, but with a .194 average on a terrible team, he wasn’t going to stick around much longer anyway. Morse admitted to USA Today earlier this year that he looks back on that stretch as “playing with house money.”

This season’s injury will have a far greater impact, even though the hamstring strain Dereck Rodriguez suffered was announced as just a Grade 1. The timing couldn’t be worse for the Giants, who are on the fringes of the playoff race, sure, but are far from the 98-loss pace they were on when Morse went down last season. They still have hopes of making a run. 

The staff got together in Los Angeles and went away from Bruce Bochy’s tradition, using the off day to skip the fifth starter spot. That had Rodriguez lined up to face the Reds on Friday night, with the hope that the club could build off the momentum from the Dodgers series. He was going to face the lowly Mets next week, too. Those were two very good opportunities for road wins. 

Instead, it’ll be Casey Kelly on Friday and the Giants will piece it together from there. The rotation is weakened with the loss of a dominant rookie who was soaking up innings like an ace, and the repercussions will surely be felt in the bullpen at some point on this important road trip.

The Giants have no margin for error this season, and they already have found themselves reeling from things like Madison Bumgarner getting hit by a liner, Brandon Belt’s appendix acting up, Evan Longoria getting drilled by a pitch, Joe Panik spraining his thumb on a tag, and Mac Williamson suffering a concussion when he ran over a bullpen mound. 

There was blame to be placed Tuesday, but this is also another bad break. Rodriguez was the first from the dugout to reach the scrum, doing what players do dozens of times a year without injury, and appeared fine as he hopped around the outside of the altercation. Two days later, the Giants admitted their latest beef with Yasiel Puig had come at a costly price.

The Giants will hope Rodriguez can return on the next homestand, but this is a blow to his Rookie of the Year campaign and a big shot to a roster that now has just three healthy starters and really could have used two more Rodriguez starts over the next week. Chris Stratton is an option to return and Ty Blach is available for spot-start duty. Tyler Beede is on the minor league DL, so you can cross him off. Perhaps Shaun Anderson is thrown into a playoff push. Management surely spent the flight to Cincinnati trying to figure all that out instead of enjoying a successful and dramatic series at Dodger Stadium that was highlighted by Tuesday's shoving match. 

An hour after the shoving had ended, Nick Hundley said he hoped the incident would bring the team closer together. 

“This is a tight-knit group,” he said. “We’ll feed off that. What a great win.”

The next night, the Giants lost in extra innings. They now have lost at least two starts from a player who was the best part of a season forever stuck around the .500 mark. It doesn’t really matter who is to blame at this point. The simple truth is that the Giants have been involved in several of these incidents the last five years, and they finally paid a steep on-field price. 

Giants put Dereck Rodriguez on DL with injury from brawl with Dodgers

Giants put Dereck Rodriguez on DL with injury from brawl with Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tuesday's brief scuffle at Dodger Stadium ended up being much more costly for the Giants than for the Dodgers.

A few hours after Yasiel Puig was suspended two games by Major League Baseball, the Giants announced that rookie right-hander Dereck Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list after being hurt during the altercation between the Dodgers outfielder and San Francisco catcher Nick Hundley. 

Rodriguez went on the 10-day DL on Thursday with a Grade 1 hamstring strain. He was one of the first players on the scene when Puig and Hundley exchanged shoves Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. Rodriguez came from the dugout and apparently got hurt somewhere during the exchange. 

The blow is a big one to a Giants team that's on the fringes of the National League playoff race. Rodriguez, a rookie, has been the club's best pitcher, posting a 6-1 record and 2.25 ERA to this point. He has allowed just six runs in five second-half starts, throwing his name into the NL Rookie of the Year race. 

The Giants skipped their fifth starter so Rodriguez and Madison Bumgarner could kick off the three-game series in Cincinnati. Instead, Casey Kelly will start Friday's opener against the Reds. The Giants will announce a corresponding roster move Friday.