Giants

Instant Replay: Giants win series over Dodgers in extra innings

Instant Replay: Giants win series over Dodgers in extra innings

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES — After a blowout loss Wednesday, a voice echoed out of a back hallway in the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium.

“Shark tomorrow,” a player said. “If he beats them it’s still a good series.”

Jeff Samardzija did his part, throwing eight brilliant innings, and about an hour later the lineup finally broke through. Gorkys Hernandez drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th and the Giants kept piling on. When it was over, they had a 4-1 win and a series victory over the Dodgers. 

The victory was the 1,800th of Bruce Bochy’s career. The other eight managers with 1,800 wins and three World Series titles are in the Hall of Fame. 

On a night that started quietly, Joe Panik’s hustle out of the box kept Yasiel Puig from adding to his highlight reel in the fifth. Panik scorched ball off the wall in right-center and Puig came up with a rocket that missed getting the out at second by an inch. After two outs, walks of Gorkys Hernandez and Brandon Belt loaded the bases. With his final pitch of a 19-minute inning, Julio Urias got Hunter Pence to fly out to right. 

Puig and Panik were linked again in the sixth and this time it went the Dodgers’ way. Panik dropped a high pop-up down the first-base line and as it rolled a few feet away, Puig took off. He beat the throw to third and scored two batters later when Chris Taylor poked a slider into right. That was just the second hit off Samardzija, who had retired 14 straight entering the inning. 

The Giants tied it up on an oddly fitting way. Pence led off the top of the eighth with a single and went to third on a wild pitch that skipped around behind the plate. Buster Posey’s grounder to second knotted the night. 

Samardzija was done after 101 pitches. He gave up three hits and one unearned run, walked none, and struck out 11. He never pitched with the lead, and the Giants failed to take one in the 10th despite loading the bases. Phil Nevin held Belt at third on Posey’s single. Christian Arroyo then struck out and Eduardo Nuñez flied out. 

An inning later, the Giants broke through. With two on and one out, Hernandez ripped a double into the left field corner. Belt’s single made it 3-1 and Pence tacked on an insurance run with a sacrifice fly.

Mark Melancon made it interesting in the bottom of the inning, but held on. 

Starting pitching report: The double-digit strikeout game was the 10th of Samardzija’s career and his second as a Giant. 

Bullpen report: Steven Okert got a double play to end the ninth and cruised through the 10th. He recorded 10 outs in the series and picked up his first career win.

At the plate: Belt had a career-high 104 walks last season. With three against Urias and one by Josh Fields on Wednesday, he's on pace for 123. 

In the field: Belt and Samardzija teamed up for one of the plays of the year in the eighth. Belt went a healthy distance into foul territory for a weird grounder and made a quick throw back to the bag. Samardzija made a leaping grab and got a foot down before Puig could slide into first. 

Attendance: The Dodgers announced a crowd of 50,215 human beings who missed out on the frightening televised shot of Clayton Kershaw teaching Urias pitch grips in the dugout. 

Up next: A day off! (In Cincinnati, though.) The Giants will face Bronson Arroyo, Amir Garrett and Scott Feldman at Great American Ball Park. 

Giants Review: In limited time, Avelino was 'a breath of fresh air'

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AP

Giants Review: In limited time, Avelino was 'a breath of fresh air'

SAN FRANCISCO — Abiatal Avelino had just 11 at-bats in the big leagues in 2018, three of which resulted in singles. He left a much larger impact on the front office, though. 

When Larry Baer, Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy met with beat reporters before the season’s final day, Bochy smiled as he recalled a conversation he had with the rookie in his office a day earlier. Sabean called Avelino “a beautiful young kid” and “very passionate.”

“He has a lot of fun playing the game, and that’s half the battle,” Sabean said. “He’s an interesting personality and I mean that in a positive way. He was a breath of fresh air, even though he didn’t play that much.”

Giants coaches noticed how Avelino seemed to grow two feet the second he got that first hit out of the way, brimming with confidence in subsequent at-bats. They noticed that he was often the first one out of the dugout, greeting teammates who had never heard of him a week or two earlier. He did all the right things off the field, and on the field, there’s plenty of talent. 

Here, Avelino is the latest profiled in our look at the 2018 Giants. If you missed any of them , here are Pablo Sandoval, Ty Blach and Nick Hundley. You can find the rest of them here

What Went Right

Avelino broke through with Double-A Trenton, hitting .337 with 10 homers, 28 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 49 games. That earned him a promotion to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. His numbers took a dip there, but overall, he hit .283 in the minors in 2018, totaling 15 homers, eight triples, 13 doubles and 27 stolen bases for three affiliates. 

Avelino made his MLB debut on Sept. 8 and picked up his first two hits on Sept. 26. He singled off Clayton Kershaw in his second-to-last appearance of the season. 

Avelino did not play enough to make any kind of real determination about his defense, but he appears to be a true shortstop with the skills to play other infield spots, and team officials want to see if he can play the outfield, too. 

(Also he had one of the funniest celebrations of the season.)

What Went Wrong

It’s hard to take too much away from the Major League numbers. At two Triple-A stops, Avelino struggled a bit, posting a .663 OPS after a promotion with the Yankees and then going 2-for-13 with the River Cats. He was 23 and repeating Double-A, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he dominated the level in 2018.

The Giants would like to see more from him in Triple-A early next season. 

Avelino is certainly fast, but some on staff believe he’s more of an above-average runner than the elite burner that his minor league stat lines say he is. That’s to be determined. He didn’t get to run much in September. 

Contract Status

Avelino was added to a 40-man roster for the first time in September. He has not used any minor league options. 

The Future

Avelino, acquired in the Andrew McCutchen trade, will play winter ball this offseason and the Giants will be open-minded about him when he arrives in Scottsdale. But a number of things will have to go wrong elsewhere for him to be in the big leagues early next season. He needs more minor league at-bats, but he should be a factor at some point in 2019.

It’s been a while since the Giants had a true backup for Brandon Crawford, and Avelino could become interesting quickly if he shows he can be a super-utility player.

Giants executive David Bell named finalist for Reds next manager

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AP

Giants executive David Bell named finalist for Reds next manager

SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Giants continue their search for a new head of baseball operations, one of their top executives may be headed elsewhere.

The Cincinnati Reds announced Thursday morning that three men will get second interviews in their search for a new manager: Joe Girardi, Brad Ausmus and David Bell, currently serving as the Giants' vice president of player development. 

Bell, who joined the Giants last offseason, also reportedly has interviewed with the Rangers and Blue Jays. Some within the Giants organization have viewed him as their future manager, but it seems a decent bet that he'll get his shot well before then.

Bell was a manager in the Reds' minor league system earlier in his career and his father played for the Reds. 

The Reds had 12 candidates interview initially, according to MLB.com. Bell was joined by, among others, current Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens.