Giants' aggressive base running costly in loss to Cubs

Giants' aggressive base running costly in loss to Cubs

The San Francisco Giants hoped to exploit one of Jon Lester’s few previously identifiable weaknesses and run on him on Friday night.

Instead the Giants’ aggressive approach on the bases could leave them wondering about what could’ve been as they lost to the Cubs 1-0 in Game 1 of the National League Divisional Series in front of 42,148 at Wrigley Field. With two of six Giants base runners thrown out on the bases, Lester and Aroldis Chapman didn’t need much more as they combined on a six-hitter. Javy Baez provided the only offense with an eighth-inning solo home run off Johnny Cueto to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

“Yeah (those outs) probably get a little magnified,” Giants first baseman Brandon Belt said. “But at this level of play, it’s not something you want to do. Just from past experiences, the team that makes the least amount of mistakes usually wins the ballgame. And they made less than we did.”

You can’t fault the Giants for their hardline tactics on the bases. Lester was nearly unstoppable at Wrigley Field in 2016 with a 10-2 mark and a 1.74 ERA in 15 games. He had only allowed 95 runners on base in those 103 1/3 innings.

But even though he’s a left-hander, Lester has proven susceptible to the opposing running game over the years. His struggles throwing to first were discussed ad nausea in 2015 as Lester allowed stolen bases in 44 of 55 attempts against.

Even though he improved to better than league average in 2016 -- the Cubs threw out 32 percent of attempts with Lester on the mound -- the Giants hoped they could take advantage.

But catcher David Ross shut the Giants down nearly from the outset.

Leadoff man Gorkys Hernandez was the first out when he was easily caught stealing second base in the first inning after reaching on a bunt base hit. Conor Gillaspie was erased in the third inning when Ross picked him off first base after a leadoff single.

“It’s hard,” Gillaspie said. “Obviously, I wasn’t expecting that, but we were trying to create a throw over and trying to get something stirred up to create an opportunity for ourselves. It’s smart. It was a good play. Got me.”


Rockies vs. Giants lineups: Red-hot Alex Dickerson batting second

Rockies vs. Giants lineups: Red-hot Alex Dickerson batting second

Giants fans at Oracle Park on Monday night will get an early look at Alex Dickerson.

As the team returns to San Francisco from a seven-game road trip, Dickerson will be batting second in the lineup against Jon Gray and the Colorado Rockies.

Dickerson joined the Giants on Friday in Arizona and went 5-for-12 with four extra-base hits and nine RBI in the three-game series. He batted seventh in all three games.

Giants starter Drew Pomeranz takes his 7.09 ERA to the mound and will look to bounce back from a rough outing in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

First pitch for Rockies-Giants is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT, with pregame coverage beginning at 6 p.m. You can follow all the action on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming online and on the MyTeams app.

[RELATED: Bochy shows confidence in Anderson]

Here are the full Rockies-Giants lineups:

Colorado Rockies (40-37)
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) RF
2. David Dahl (L) CF
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. Daniel Murphy (L) 1B
5. Ryan McMahon (L) 2B
6. Raimel Tapia (L) LF
7. Pat Valaika (R) SS
8. Tony Wolters (L) C
9. Jon Gray (R) P (7-5, 4.18)

San Francisco Giants (33-43)
1. Mike Yastrzemski (L) RF
2. Alex Dickerson (L) LF
3. Buster Posey (R) C
4. Pablo Sandoval (S) 1B
5. Kevin Pillar (R) CF
6. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Donovan Solano (R) SS
9. Drew Pomeranz (R) P (2-7, 7.09 ERA)

Shaun Anderson 'wanted that seventh' in Giants' 3-2 loss to D-backs

Shaun Anderson 'wanted that seventh' in Giants' 3-2 loss to D-backs

Giants starter Shaun Anderson needed just 81 pitches to get through six innings Sunday against the Diamondbacks.

With the game in the balance and the pitcher's spot due up fourth in the top of the seventh, no one would have blamed Bruce Bochy for pinch-hitting for Anderson. But the Giants skipper let the rookie hit for himself and sent Anderson back out to start the bottom of the seventh.

"He got better as he went [along], and he was better early today," Bochy told reporters after the Giants' 3-2 extra-innings loss in Arizona. "The kid did a real nice job. That's why I let him hit there with two outs, nobody on. He was throwing the ball really well, did a great job in this ballpark."

Eduardo Escobar led off with a single, and Christian Walker followed with a ground-rule double. At that point, Bochy knew it was time to take out Anderson.

"You love his makeup, the way he battles out there -- he keeps his poise," Bochy said of Anderson. "I said earlier, he's got the strength and stamina you like from a starter. He maintains his stuff deep in the game."

Anderson was attempting to get through seven innings for just the second time in his young career. Instead, he went six-plus innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs, walking one and striking out two on 93 pitches.

"I felt great," Anderson told reporters. "We were going to attack Escobar. He got a hit. And I felt good about facing Walker, too. I was going to get a ground-ball double play, and and he ended up getting a hit. But overall, I felt great. I wanted that seventh."

[RELATED: Bumgarner's trade value not high?]

Anderson appreciated the faith Bochy showed in him to try to get through the seventh inning of a tie game.

"I hope I can continue to bring that confidence for him, and he can continue to have me roll out there for the seventh," Anderson said. "I wanted that seventh. He and I both knew that."