Giants

Giants squander another Dereck Rodriguez gem in ninth consecutive loss

Giants squander another Dereck Rodriguez gem in ninth consecutive loss

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants hoped to be contending for a division title in September. At this point, they would settle for a single win in the month. 

A close game turned into another ugly loss Monday night. This time, it was to the Braves. This time, it was 4-1.

The Giants are 0-for-September, and they’ve lost nine straight, their longest skid in 12 years. 

Dereck Rodriguez is really good, though. So there’s that. 

Here are some things you should know from the Giants' loss at AT&T Park … 

-- Rodriguez crossed the 100-inning mark with six more dominant frames. He gave up one run on four hits. Among NL pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched, he ranks fourth with an ERA of 2.35. The three guys in front of him -- Jacob deGrom, Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer -- are fighting it out for the Cy Young Award. 

-- The Giants did a lot of little things right to get their first run. Rodriguez put down a perfect sacrifice following a single by Gorkys Hernandez, and Hernandez alertly stole third on Sean Newcomb. That led to the Braves bringing their infield in with one out, so Austin Slater’s high chopper to third got over Johan Camargo’s head and made it 1-0. 

-- The Giants did a lot of things wrong to give up the second run of the night. Ozzie Albies hit a single to center and went halfway to second, daring Hernandez to throw. He did, except he threw it to first, and Albies easily made it to second. The throw got away, and Albies was awarded third, and he scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly. The ball was shallow, but Austin Slater’s throw home was 30 feet from the plate. 

-- Hunter Strickland gave up a double, triple and squeeze in the top of the ninth. A 2-1 game turned into 4-1, and his velocity appears to be down a couple of ticks. It's been quite the fall for the former closer. 

Giants' Pablo Sandoval is playing like an All-Star in short amount of time

Giants' Pablo Sandoval is playing like an All-Star in short amount of time

PHOENIX -- Pablo Sandoval didn’t walk around the clubhouse on Sunday morning. He bounced.

Sandoval went from one group of teammates to the next, his voice booming through the room as he cracked jokes. At one point he joined a group of relievers watching a long drive contest on a clubhouse TV. “Swing harder, bro!” he yelled at the golfer on the screen.

Then he found a group of reporters. One asked why he blew a kiss to the camera after his homer on Saturday night. Sandoval said it was his son’s birthday, and he knew he was watching. Sandoval went and grabbed his phone and came back with a video of his family watching his pinch-hit blast. 

“I always have a good game on his birthday,” he said.

It was pointed out that Sandoval also hit a homer on Mother’s Day.

“I always have a good game on Mother’s Day,” he quickly replied. 

Right now, Sandoval seems to have a good game every day. 

He came off the bench for another pinch-hit homer, this one a 10th-inning blast that gave the Giants a thrilling 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks. With two pinch-hit homers in less than 24 hours, Sandoval doubled his previous career total. 

“You expect good things to happen, that’s how good he has been,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “And it happened again today.”

Sandoval has been a breath of fresh air, a constant source of life and production. And at this point, it’s worth asking if he has been more. Has he been an All-Star? 

The Giants, even in a season like this, must have one, and so far Sandoval has been as good a choice as any. He has easily been the team’s best hitter, posting a 1.001 OPS for a lineup that has just one other player (Brandon Belt, .848) above .800. Sandoval and Belt are tied for the team lead in homers with seven, and Sandoval entered the day leading the Giants with 1.1 Wins Above Replacement. 

The most likely choice at this point is closer Will Smith, who picked up his 12th save in as many opportunities. But Sandoval is making a run for it, largely on the strength of his pinch-hit work, which may be an issue for some, but really shouldn’t hurt a player who does so much damage in the National League. 

He is 9-for-24 as a pinch-hitter with two homers, six runs scored and four RBI. Sandoval leads the Majors in pinch-hits, and Sunday’s was yet another with two strikes. He got a fastball on the outer half from Yoshihisa Hirano and spun it out to left. 

“I was getting ready for one moment,” Sandoval said. “You have to be ready for everything. Bochy gave me an opportunity in the 10th and I got a great swing and a good pitch to hit. 

“I calmed myself down, used my hands a little bit more. Don’t jump at the ball. That’s what I’ve been doing this season. Try to get a good pitch to hit — it can be low, it can be high. If I put the barrel on the ball with a good swing, there’s going to be damage.”

[RELATED: Johnny Cueto impresses Bochy]

Sandoval got his chance because of another substitute. Brandon Crawford came off the bench and robbed Adam Jones of a walk-off single in the ninth, diving to stop a hard shot with a runner on third. 

“That was the key to the game,” Sandoval said. “It wasn’t my bat. It was that play. That’s why that guy wins a Gold Glove every time he has an opportunity. He made that play to save the game.”
 

Giants vs. Diamondbacks lineups: Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford sitting

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USATSI

Giants vs. Diamondbacks lineups: Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford sitting

The Giants' bats were muy caliente against the Arizona Diamondbacks in their 8-5 victory on Saturday.

On the mound, Madison Bumgarner continued his Chase Field dominance. He allowed four runs and five hits with six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings in the NL West matchup and now boasts a 6-1 record with a 2.58 ERA in his last 12 starts at a location batters thrive in. 

On Sunday, it's Drew Pomeranz who receives starting honors on the bump for the Orange and Black. This is his first start since coming off the injured list after suffering a left lat strain at the beginning of May. His last outing didn't create the best of circumstances -- the lefty allowed seven runs in just 1 2/3 innings against the Reds, ballooning his ERA to 5.93.

The Giants will face D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray, who had a dazzling performance in his last outing against the San Diego Padres on Monday. He allowed just two runs over five frames and reached the 800th-career strikeout mark.

Brandon Belt is out of the lineup for the Giants with Donovan Solano starting at shortstop. Brandon Belt is also out of the lineup with Tyler Austin covering first base.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app.

Here are the lineups for both teams in the finale of a three-game series.

San Francisco Giants (19-25)

Joe Panik, 2B
Donovan Solano, SS
Tyler Austin, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Kevin Pillar, RF
Stephen Vogt, C
Mac Williamson, LF
Steven Duggar, CF

Drew Pomeranz, (1-4, 5.93 ERA)

Arizona Diamondbacks (25-21)

Adam Jones, RF
Ketel Marte, CF
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
David Peralta, LF
Christian Walker, 1B
Wilmer Flores, 2B
Nick Ahmed, SS
John Ryan Murphy, C

Robbie Ray, P (3-1, 3.14 ERA)