Giants

Instant Replay: Giants score four in seventh, Cueto earns third win

Instant Replay: Giants score four in seventh, Cueto earns third win

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The first week of the season was filled with blown leads. The second week has included a pair of failed comeback attempts. 

On Friday, the Giants let their manager relax. 

This one turned into a good old-fashioned blowout. Johnny Cueto threw seven sharp innings and the lineup scored four runs early and four more in the seventh. The Giants beat the Rockies 8-2 as Cueto became the first pitcher to three wins this season. 

The Giants are getting close to sending Michael Morse and Melvin Upton Jr. to Triple-A Sacramento, but left fielder Chris Marrero dropped a “not so fast” swing into the night’s action to get things going. After a walk of Eduardo Nuñez and the first of two Tyler Anderson balks in the second, Marrero crushed a 2-2 fastball into the left field seats.

Brandon Crawford, who has had an emotional week, lined the first pitch of the fourth the other way for a solo shot that gave Cueto a 4-0 lead, but the Rockies immediately chipped away. 

Two singles and walk loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Stephen Cardullo hit a bouner to second and Joe Panik tried to tag Tony Wolters to start a double play, but the ball flew out of Panik’s glove as he touched Wolters. A run scored, and the Rockies would tack on another before Crawford and Panik turned an inning-ending double play. 

The Giants do not typically compile their run on homers, and the seventh-inning rally had a more familiar feel. With two outs, Denard Span drew a walk and then watched as five straight hitters knocked singles. Brandon Belt’s at-bat was the best of of the bunch, a 13-pitch marathon that ended with a 96 mph Jake McGee fastball getting lined into center. Belt fouled off seven pitches after falling behind 0-2. 

Starting pitching report: Cueto's night: 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts. 

Bullpen report: Derek Law is settling in after a shaky start. He was sharp in the eighth. 

At the plate: Marrero had 4,005 minor league plate appearances before picking up his first homer. 

In the field: Belt spent a chunk of Thursday’s game chasing down popups to deep right. Crawford made a similar play on the left field side Friday. 

Attendance: The sellout crowd tried to push the seventh-inning rally along with cell phone lights. If those people think I'm forgetting that they did the wave two weeks ago, they're nuts. 

Up next: Matt Moore will face right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who gave up one earned run in 13 innings at AT&T Park last season. 

Giants' new catcher Erik Kratz leaves a presence everywhere he goes

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USATSI

Giants' new catcher Erik Kratz leaves a presence everywhere he goes

Death, taxes, and Giants transactions.

That appears to be the theme of the week.

A few transactions were made on Saturday and on Sunday morning, the Giants acquired veteran Erik Kratz in a trade for minor league infielder, C.J. Hinojosa.

But this isn't an article about moves being made, or trades being implemented. This is about the 38-year-old catcher who leaves a presence behind with anyone he meets -- and he's met a lot of people.

Kratz coming to the Giants means this will be the eighth big-league team he will roster for and, in total, 11 organizations -- er, 12 now. 

Last season, during his time with the Brewers, he became the oldest position player to make his first postseason start since Lave Cross did in 1905.  

And how did he do during that debut? Well:

During Game 2 of the National League Division Series, he hit a two-run, eighth-inning single that gave the Brewers a 2-0 advantage in the eventual 4-0 win over the Rockies. And he was beyond thankful for the opportunity as he told MLB.com's Adam McCalvy last year.

"If you told me 16 years ago that I'd be here today I wouldn't have changed the path that I took," Kratz said. "I never gave up. I've been blessed every day to be in this situation."

His friends had surprised him during the postseason -- and each one of them sported one of his jerseys from each of the teams he played on. And when he was asked about what they would think about seeing him on the big stage, they would probably ask about his "nasty facial hair" and say he "looks fat on TV."

I spoke to Robert Murray who is the Brewers' beat writer for The Athletic. Through the phone, you could hear his excitement at the opportunity to talk all things Kratz.

"This is right up my alley," he told NBC Sports Bay Area. "I love Kratz."

Then Murray told me a story about him. One that made Murray a little sad Kratz would no longer sport a Milwaukee uniform.

"I had asked Josh Fields if he knew anyone in the Brewers' clubhouse besides Yasmani Grandal when I heard Kratz say in the background, 'Robert, that's a stupid question." After the interview, I asked him what made the question stupid when he replied, 'You should know by now that basically everybody in baseball has played baseball with Erik Kratz." Even in the toughest of situations, knowing on Feb. 1, that he wouldn't make the Brewers, he was a true professional and kept a strong sense of humor."

Murray said that is what he will remember about Kratz.

Don't worry, I didn't rub it in his face too much the Giants had gained a great human, but I will say it got me excited to see what he can add to that team, to that clubhouse, to that organization.

For those of you who say, "I don't care, give me his stats." This isn't one of those articles.

You know where to find his numbers. 

Giants acquire veteran catcher Erik Kratz in trade with Brewers

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USATSI

Giants acquire veteran catcher Erik Kratz in trade with Brewers

SAN FRANCISCO -- A day after they made a seemingly endless series of transactions, the Giants got going with an early morning trade. 

Catcher Erik Kratz was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers, with minor league infielder C.J. Hinojosa headed the other way. The deal was made a day after the Giants released Rene Rivera, a similar veteran who appeared in line for an Opening Day job. 

When Rivera was let go, Aramis Garcia looked to be in line for the backup job. But Kratz is a right-handed-hitting veteran who is out of options, so the Giants may keep him instead. Kratz, 38, will be playing for his eighth big league team. He hit .236 for the Brewers last year with six homers and six doubles in 203 at-bats. 

Kratz was a surprise contributor in the postseason, hitting .292 in 26 plate appearances. He is known for doing good work defensively and is a strong clubhouse presence. 

It's unclear why the Giants elected to go with Kratz over Rivera, who worked with their pitchers all camp. Or why they may be shying away from sticking with Garcia, who had a good spring and also knows the pitching staff well. Those questions will be answered in the next four days, and the Giants figure to make many more moves before the dust settles. 

[RELATED: Giants trade Matt Joyce after three days with team]

Hinojosa was once viewed as a future utility man at the big league level, but he was suspended 50 games last season for a positive test for a drug of abuse. When he returned, he posted a .689 OPS. 

To clear a 40-man spot for Kratz, the Giants DFA'd pitcher Jose Lopez, acquired at the start of the spring from the Reds.