Giants

Giants blow four-run first-inning lead, beat Cubs on Posey's walk-off in 13th

Giants blow four-run first-inning lead, beat Cubs on Posey's walk-off in 13th

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Derek Holland brought a small bottle of baby oil onto the field at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday morning in an effort to help get Brandon Belt into the All-Star Game. Many hours later, Holland upgraded to his walk-off Alhambra jug. 

Buster Posey smacked a long single off the bricks to give the Giants a 5-4 win over the Cubs in the 13th inning on Wednesday afternoon. The game-winner, the eighth walk-off of the season for the Giants, came after hours of frustration at the plate. 

The Giants scored four runs in the first and then shut it down. They had 10 baserunners from the third through the eighth, but did not score. In the meantime, the Cubs chipped away. A couple of homers in the middle innings tied the game. 

The Giants got the leadoff runner on again in the ninth but could not score, but they weren't burned, in large part because of Will Smith. The closer lowered his ERA to 0.95 with two scoreless innings and Dereck Rodriguez came out of the 'pen for three scoreless innings. In the 13th, the lineup finally broke through. 

Brandon Belt walked with two outs and Andrew McCutchen bounced a single into left. Posey, who handles high-velocity pitchers well, won it off hard-throwing rookie James Norwood, who was making his MLB debut. 

—- Johnny Cueto was sharper than in his return, but still struggled with his command at times and pitched without his usual velocity. In five innings, he gave up three earned on six hits and three walks. HIs fastball averaged 89.4 mph. 

—- Cueto appeared to hurt his right hand while taking a swing in the bottom of the fourth inning. He yelled out in pain as he left the batter’s box and was immediately checked by a trainer once he returned to the dugout. Cueto stayed in the game, but gave up a two-run homer in the top of the fifth and barely escaped. Bochy let him stay in after a four-pitch walk and rocket to the track from Javier Baez, and Cueto struck out Kyle Schwarber and got Addison Russell to line out to center. 

—- Making his second start in as many days, Chase d’Arnaud hit a leadoff homer against Mike Montgomery. The shot to left was his first as a Giant. Called up Saturday, d’Arnaud likely will see the majority of the starts at second base against left-handed pitchers. 

—- The Cubs tied it in the seventh when Baez took Tony Watson deep to center. Watson had not allowed a run in his previous 18 innings, the longest active streak in MLB. He had thrown 20 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings at home.

After two straight losses, Giants looking to regroup during All-Star break

After two straight losses, Giants looking to regroup during All-Star break

SAN FRANCISCO — The clubhouse cleared out quickly after Sunday’s games. Players are always in a rush to get to flights home after the final game of the first half, but you have a bit more urgency in your step when you’re trying to leave a couple losses behind.

There is one member of the clubhouse, though, who will not soon forget the way the Giants lost 6-2 to the A’s in their first-half finale. Bruce Bochy watched a lineup that looked tired and incapable of backing a suddenly sturdy staff. Afterward, he promised to spend the next four days pondering some solutions.

“That’s what I’m going to sit on here the next four days — if they need more breaks,” Bochy said. “We’ll think of things to keep them fresher and sharper.”

The team that faced Sean Manaea on Sunday looked very much in need of a break. The Giants had five scattered hits and a performance that would have looked right at home in last season’s first half. Bochy said he saw some tired bats, and the numbers this month look all too familiar, in the wrong way. The Giants have just six homers in July, the least in the Majors, after showing increased power early in the season.

Two have come from Chase d’Arnaud and Pablo Sandoval, fill-ins for Evan Longoria. Alen Hanson and Gorkys Hernandez have the others. That’s not exactly how they drew this up. Bochy cut off a question about the backups having all the power this month.

“Oh I’m well aware of that,” he said, laughing.

Andrew McCutchen doesn’t have an extra-base hit this month, continuing a frustrating first season in San Francisco. Brandon Belt has three doubles but nothing more in July. Buster Posey also has three doubles and Brandon Crawford has a pair. Bochy is pleased with the additions of guys like d’Arnaud, Hanson and Steven Duggar, Sandoval’s improvements and Hernandez’s breakouts, but he knows he needs his big guns down the stretch.

“That’s what we’re missing as much as anything is power,” he said. “Not just homers — we’re not driving the ball like I think we can.”

The staff is hopeful that four days off will help. It’s not like the Giants have a tough travel schedule in front of them. They’ll regroup on Thursday in Oakland for a workout and then play three more in the East Bay, where most of this roster lives. After that it’s a day off and two in Seattle, and then it’s back home.

Bochy revealed that Dereck Rodriguez will get the opener in Oakland, followed by Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Andrew Suarez. Jeff Samardzija, placed on the DL on Sunday, is a possibility for the fifth spot, although Derek Holland seems far more likely.

Rodriguez got the nod in part to break up the lefties and righties, but also as a reward for the good work he has done. He has been a revelation, helping the Giants stay above water. Even after losing two straight to the A’s, the Giants finished the first half at 50-48 and just four games behind the Dodgers in the National League West.

A year ago at the break, this club was 34-56 and 27 games out of first place.

Giants enter All-Star break with a whimper, lose second straight to A's

Giants enter All-Star break with a whimper, lose second straight to A's

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- There were many positives in the first half for the Giants, but the All-Star break came with a whimper. 

The lineup scattered five hits, Andrew Suarez had a rare dud, and the Giants fell 6-2 to the A's in the third game of this six-game set. They've lost two straight after a good win on Friday night and enter the break with a 50-48 record and in fourth place in the National League West. 

Here's what you need to know from "Don't Miss Your Red-eye Flight" Day... 

--- Suarez was cruising through his final start of the half before the wheels came off in the fourth. Suarez didn’t allow a hit to that point, but Jed Lowrie walked with one out and the A’s followed with four consecutive singles. A sacrifice fly capped the four-run inning. Suarez gave up four earned in five innings, walking two and striking out five. He had allowed four total runs in his four previous starts. 

--- Because of all his injuries, Ray Black often wasn’t allowed to pitch back-to-back days in the minor leagues. Bruce Bochy tested him Sunday, sending him out for the seventh a few hours after Black got a couple outs in relief of Tony Watson. Black easily handled the test, striking out two and getting a pop-up to center. His fastball was down a tick… to 97. 

--- Chase d’Arnaud hit a solo shot, his second since being called up. The veteran is tied with Pablo Sandoval for the team lead in homers in July. That’s nice for d’Arnaud, not so great for this offense. The Giants have just six homers this month.