Giants erupt in ninth, stun Dodgers in series opener

Giants erupt in ninth, stun Dodgers in series opener


LOS ANGELES — There was nothing new about what Clayton Kershaw did Monday night, but there was a twist at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw dominated through eight innings but the Dodgers could not hand the ball to Kenley Janson, who is on the DL with a heart issue. The Giants took full advantage, scoring four in the top of the ninth for a stunning 5-2 win in the first game of an important series. 

Nick Hundley’s single with two outs and the bases loaded flipped the lead and the Giants kept tacking on, once on a Gorkys Hernandez single, once on a Dodgers error. When they were done, they were back to .500 at 60-60, and just four back of the Dodgers. They are five games behind the Diamondbacks. 

Here’s what you need to know from a wild night at Dodger Stadium … 

--- Kershaw allowed just one run, but Dave Roberts turned to Scott Alexander in the ninth. With one out, the Giants got singles from Chase d'Arnaud and Buster Posey. Two batters later, Austin Slater was drilled, loading the bases. That's when Hundley came through. 

--- Brandon Crawford was removed in the fifth, a few minutes after a nasty collision with Gorkys Hernandez. The two ran into each other while chasing a Kershaw pop-up that went for a double. Crawford hit in the top of the next inning, but didn’t take the field after that. He appeared to hit his head when he ran into Hernandez. 

--- Madison Bumgarner did his part to make this matchup a solid one. In six innings, he allowed two earned on seven hits, repeatedly working out of traffic. Bumgarner struck out four and walked two. One of the runs scored on a bloop with two outs, the other on a Justin Turner homer. 

--- Steven Duggar wasn’t all that impressed with Kershaw, apparently. The rookie had an infield single in his first at-bat and smoked a single to right his second time up, coming around to score two batters later. He struck out the third time up. 

--- Ray Black’s first appearance against the Dodgers was a dominant one. He got Joc Pederson to ground out and then blew Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig away. 

--- It’s a small thing, but Kershaw runs out grounders harder than half the position players in the National League.

Hunter Pence, the authentic Giant no matter what

Hunter Pence, the authentic Giant no matter what

When Larry Baer vaguely hinted at the San Francisco Giants “shaking things up” for 2019, it was largely assumed that said shakeup would probably include Hunter Pence, one of the mainstays of TGOD.
The Grand Old Days.
But it was also largely assumed that Pence would seek what is left of his baseball fortune elsewhere because, well, he just seems like a guy who would be standing in someone’s outfield forever.
Instead, when asked about his future after he hit his gargantuan home run in San Diego Tuesday night, all he said was, “We’ll see.”
Pence is not a “we’ll see” kind of guy. He has made his fame on being a “hell yeah!” kind of guy, and that was the very attitude that elevated him to cult status in San Francisco.
And that’s the other thing. It’s hard to imagine him in another uniform, even though he was an Astro and a Phillie before he went west, and typically players from other teams don’t usually get cult status in this very provincial town.
Oh, and don’t get your delicates in a knot with that “provincial” crack. Every sports town is provincial, and not just a little. All sports, like all politics, are first and foremost local. Pence just happened to crack San Francisco’s code with the pregame dugout speeches, and the scooter, and the goofy pre-at-bat rituals, and the gangly gait and googly eyes and Captain Underpants nickname and the Wawindaji nickname and the all-weather-carpet hair.
And the results. On a team that has not fielded a full complement of major-league-starter-caliber outfielders since Barry Bonds’ last year in 2007, Pence stood out through two World Series and a third playoff run. He mattered greatly at a time when the Giants were at the top of their game in making fan-base memories.
And now, “we’ll see.” It almost sounds like a retirement speech rehearsal, even though there are so many ways to interpret that simple two-word speech.
Indeed, players hate when outsiders do their retiring for them. If Pence wanted to announce that he was done, he was more than capable of forming a longer and more declarative sentence.
But he has established such a visceral connection with this town that imagining him anywhere else seems wrong. Signing somewhere else and then coming to sign a one-day contract “to retire as a Giant” seems inauthentic for him.
And for those who note that he was handsomely compensated for his time in San Francisco (which he very clearly was; a shade over $100 million), he paid it back in deeds. The books are square on Pence, and begrudging him anything is the mark of a cad.
So “we’ll see” it is. He’ll say more when it’s time to say more, but “we’ll see” seems perfectly sufficient for today no matter how he takes to embellish those two words.

Giants notes: Chris Shaw shakes off confusing call, drives in game-winner

Giants notes: Chris Shaw shakes off confusing call, drives in game-winner

SAN DIEGO — The Giants have had one of the better replay records in baseball since the system was installed, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy with the process. Several calls have baffled manager Bruce Bochy this season, and on Tuesday he couldn’t understand how a fan wasn’t called for interference for getting in the way of left fielder Chris Shaw’s glove.

Shaw went back to the wall and leapt for a Franmil Reyes fly ball. He thought he was about to rob a homer for the first time in his career. Instead, a man in an aqua t-shirt got his hands in the way and pulled the ball into the seats. 

“I just don't understand it. If that’s not interference, I don’t know what is,” Bochy said. “The only thing they tell us is that it came from (the office) in New York. It looked like definite interference to me. I don’t get it.”

Luckily for the Giants, the call didn’t cost them a win. Shaw made sure of that. The homer gave the Padres a one-run lead, but Shaw came up in the eighth with the bases loaded and poked a two-run bloop single into left. He thought he got enough of it for a sacrifice fly. It ended up being a positive that he didn’t hit the ball as hard as he thought, though. Padres left fielder Hunter Renfroe’s dive came up short and the Giants took a 5-4 lead that held up. 

“I was pretty pissed off right there,” Shaw said of the sequence that started with the fan robbing him. “I thought I had a chance to take two runs off the board. Coming up in that position, that’s where you want to be.”

Shaw got his first start against a lefty, but it was right-hander Craig Stammen on the mound in his biggest at-bat. Bochy liked that he put the ball in play.

“Good things happen when you put it in play,” he said. “He didn’t hit it good, but he put it in play.”

For a player plagued by strikeouts his first two weeks in the majors, that was a big moment. Nick Hundley scored easily and Brandon Crawford got an incredible read, nearly running up Hundley’s back as he tagged at third. Third base coach Ron Wotus said he never even had a decision to make. Crawford saw that the ball was going to drop and he was headed home regardless. It gave Shaw a game-winning hit. 

“That’s incredible baserunning,” Shaw said. “Obviously he’s got great instincts.”

--- The main story tonight is on Hunter Pence and his future. 

--- Aramis Garcia has a hit in eight of his nine career games. Before this one, Bochy said Garcia will get a lot of starts at first over the next 10 games with Brandon Belt’s knee ailing. 

--- Will Smith recorded his 14th save, tying Hunter Strickland for the team lead. Smith gave up a double, but this one never seemed in much doubt. That’s what he does, and there seems no doubt he’ll enter next spring as the club’s closer.