Instant Replay: Giants see lead slip in sixth, lose series


Instant Replay: Giants see lead slip in sixth, lose series


ST. LOUIS — A sixth-inning meltdown Sunday night washed away all the positives built up by Jake Peavy early on and gave the Giants their first series loss in nearly a month. 

Peavy, the bullpen, and an ill-timed error put the first six Cardinals on base in the decisive inning. The Giants blew an early lead and fell 6-3 at Busch Stadium. They’ve lost back-to-back games for the first time since May 9-10, when they dropped a series at home against the Blue Jays.

For five innings the Giants looked like they were headed for one of the more bizarre wins of the season. Peavy was shutting down a tough Cardinals lineup. Carlos Martinez had great stuff, but he gave up a two-run homer to Jarrett Parker in the fourth on a ball nobody thought was clearing the wall. Parker appeared to think it was headed foul before it crept over the wall 363 feet away and Martinez scrunched his face up in confusion. 

Headed for a third straight strong start, Peavy unraveled quickly. He had a 3-1 lead entering the sixth but was pulled after two doubles and a walk. Hunter Strickland entered and his only pitch hit a batter. Javier Lopez entered and got Matt Adams to hit a sharp grounder to first, but it ate up Brandon Belt. Cory Gearrin entered and got a grounder up the middle, but Brandon Crawford couldn’t handle it.

Crawford and Panik saved a complete meltdown by making back-to-back highlight plays on sharp grounders, but the damage had been done. The Cardinals plated four in the inning, taking a 5-3 lead.

The Giants loaded the bases in the top of the seventh but Brandon Belt’s sharp liner was hit right at left fielder Matt Holliday. 

Starting pitching report: Peavy’s start was actually more reminiscent of last season, not his early struggles this season. He allowed a .351 average the third time through the order last year and on Sunday he didn’t retire any of the Cardinals he faced a third time.

Bullpen report: Gearrin was a bright spot on a night when there weren’t many. He got six outs after entering with the bases loaded, throwing 22 pitches. 

At the plate: Madison Bumgarner blasted one to the upper deck during BP. That was the offensive highlight of the day.

In the field: Because of contracts and risk, we’ll probably never get to see Bumgarner in the home run derby. Equally sad is the fact we’ll never get to see Belt pitch. The former Texas prep star showed off his strong arm in the third, throwing behind Matt Carpenter at second for a heads-up out. 

Attendance: The Cardinals announced a crowd of 44,907 human beings who know what it’s like to be a Thunder fan.

Up next: A day off! The Red Sox come to town on Tuesday, with Albert Suarez facing Rick Porcello. 

Johnny Cueto throws 60 pitches in rehab start, close to Giants return


Johnny Cueto throws 60 pitches in rehab start, close to Giants return

Almost nothing can be learned from a rehabbing veteran's box score in the minor leagues. That was reinforced a couple of years ago when a Dodgers A-ball team crushed Giants ace Madison Bumgarner as he tried to get a feel for his signature cutter.

So throw out the five runs that Johnny Cueto was charged with Tuesday night in Modesto. Look only at the number "60," which is how many pitches Cueto threw in his second appearance for the San Jose Giants.

The big-league training staff had hoped to see Cueto get above 55, and he appeared to have another solid night of work as he inched closer to the majors. Cueto gave up four hits, walked one and struck out three.

His next stop will be Triple-A Sacramento for two more starts.

Cueto is lined up to pitch Monday in Sacramento, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters in Chicago that he should be back in the big leagues around Sept. 8. For over a year, Cueto has targeted the first week of September. 

The right-hander is now nearly 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery and has had no setbacks. He was coming along so smoothly that the Giants discussed taking away one of the rehab starts and getting him back early, although plenty in the organization preferred caution.

[RELATED: Yaz starring for Giants after big-league chance]

The original path was two starts for San Jose and two for Sacramento, and Cueto is halfway through the schedule that'll soon get him back with the Giants.

Giants' Tyler Beede continues rough nights giving up more home runs


Giants' Tyler Beede continues rough nights giving up more home runs

It's always a good time when Madison Bumgarner pinch-hits for the Giants, and there was a bit of added flavor Tuesday. After Bumgarner drew a walk from Cole Hamels, Logan Webb entered to run for the staff ace. 

It was an interesting moment, but one Bruce Bochy didn't want to see so early in the first game at Wrigley Field. Bumgarner was hitting because Tyler Beede had thrown 91 pitches in four innings and was done for the night. 

In a game the Giants would go on to lose 5-3, Beede gave up three solo homers to the Cubs in his four innings. He has allowed 11 homers over his last six starts, giving up 25 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings. 

"It's execution of pitches, the pitch quality, making mistakes. That's the key to pitching," manager Bruce Bochy told reporters when asked about the home run issue. "Sometimes it gets away from you and it gets over the heart of the plate. That's what happens to him. He's making great pitches at times and then makes that mistake. He's just not getting away with them. Those are good hitters, they're going to take advantage of them. That's the hump he's got to get over, is being consistent on every pitch."

The first homer Beede allowed Tuesday was a prime example of the recent trend of mistakes. It was a fastball that was located, well, just take a look:

That one was hit out by Nicholas Castellanos. The next two were off the bat of Anthony Rizzo, and while they weren't as dead-center as the first one, they were both mistake pitches. Rizzo hit a fastball that was down and in but in his sweet spot, then blasted a changeup two innings later. 

“I don’t want to continue to feel like if I make a mistake, it’s going to leave the yard," Beede told reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "But it seems to be the way things are going as of right now.”

The staff discussed Beede's rotation spot after his last rough start, but when the Giants got to Phoenix a day later, Bochy announced that Beede would face the Cubs. The team was in a tough spot with the rotation, but there's a bit more breathing room if the Giants again want to discuss giving Beede a chance to step back.

[RELATED: Cueto close to making return to Giants]

Shaun Anderson made a rehab appearance for Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday and should be ready to return if needed. On a longer timeframe, Johnny Cueto is also lined up to slide into the rotation spot. Cueto made a second rehab appearance for the San Jose Giants on Tuesday and now will make two starts for the River Cats.