Instant Replay: Giants win series vs Dodgers with Belt's blast


Instant Replay: Giants win series vs Dodgers with Belt's blast


SAN FRANCISCO — Most kids Julio Urias’ age spent Sunday night trying to figure out how to properly flip a cup. In his first of many starts in this rivalry, Urias showed the Giants that he’s the real deal.

But Brandon Belt showed him that you can’t groove a slider in the big leagues and get away with it, and Jake Peavy showed a national audience that a 35-year-old can be pretty dominant, too. Peavy pitched six shutout innings and Belt hit a two-run homer as the Giants edged the Dodgers 2-1, taking the series and extending their lead in the National League West to five games.

Peavy and Urias matched zeroes for much of the evening, with the young lefty showing the mid 90s fastball and good breaking ball that should make him a mainstay in the Dodgers rotation for years to come. Urias was on a strict pitch count, but he got through five innings on 77 pitches and retired seven, including Belt twice. With one out and one on in the sixth, Urias threw a slider that hardly moved and Belt crushed it to the arcade.

More than a decade ago, it was Peavy who was the young budding star who could reach back for extra velocity as needed. He’s a much different pitcher now, but he found a way to be effective against a scuffling Dodgers lineup, changing speeds and mixing up pitch selections. Peavy never faced any real trouble in his six innings. 

Starting pitching report: Peavy has allowed five earned runs in his last four starts, throwing 24 2/3 innings. His final line Sunday: six innings, four hits, one walk, three strikeouts. He became the sixth active pitcher to win 150 games. 

Bullpen report: On his 31st birthday, George Kontos pitched to one batter in the eighth and struck out Enrique Hernandez. 

At the plate: Mac Williamson lined out sharply to deep left while leading off the fifth and Statcast recorded an exit velocity of 115 mph. That’s the hardest ball hit by a Giant this season, topping Jarrett Parker’s 114 mph single off Williams Perez last month. 

In the field: Williamson got robbed, but he also took a hit away, leaving his feet in the first to keep Justin Turner from a double.

Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,583 human beings, including Tim Hudson. He proudly kissed a beer can when he was shown on the scoreboard. Retirement seems grand.

Up next: Matt Cain returns to the rotation. He’ll face Chase Anderson and the Brewers. 

Again faced with extras, Sam Coonrod and relievers make it look easy


Again faced with extras, Sam Coonrod and relievers make it look easy

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Sam Coonrod jogged to the mound for his fifth big league appearance, one that very likely was the most high-stress outing of his life, Javier Baez inched closer to the plate. Kris Bryant stepped into the on-deck circle. Anthony Rizzo grabbed his bat and climbed the steps of the dugout. 

That's about as imposing as it gets in the National League. And Coonrod didn't care one bit. 

"I tried not to worry about that," the Giants' rookie right-hander said quietly a few minutes later. "I try not to pay attention to it."

Coonrod's journey to the big leagues has been a long one, and at times it has been stalled by injuries, including Tommy John surgery just as he seemed ready to break through. But along the way he has learned a few important things. Ryan Vogelsong, now an instructor in the organization, taught Coonrod to focus on his catcher, not the guys in the opposing lineup. Someone at some point -- possibly many someones -- taught Coonrod to come up and simply trust Buster Posey.

"Buster knows a lot better than I know," Coonrod said.

Posey put the signs down and Coonrod opened eyes while obeying. He struck out Baez on a 97 mph fastball, got Bryant swinging through 99 mph, and induced a harmless grounder from Rizzo. When Pablo Sandoval went deep in the bottom of the 13th, Coonrod had his first big league win, one that filled him with raw emotions that were still evident after the win. 

The win was the 17th in 20 games, and the bullpen has carried the heaviest load in recent days. The Giants have won in extra-innings five times in the last eight games. They have played 15 extra frames on this homestand alone, and it's a daily shuffle to find fresh arms. 

Will Smith couldn't be used Monday. Sam Dyson and Trevor Gott were in that situation Tuesday. So Smith threw two innings and Mark Melancon threw two more. Coonrod was going to go a second inning and then turn the ball over to Drew Pomeranz, who aired it out in two innings Monday. Bochy really, really did not want to use Pomeranz, and he didn't have to. Coonrod made it look easy. 

"He was good, wasn't he?" Bochy said. "He was really good. In that situation, high-leverage, and the way he handled himself -- the stuff he had was really impressive. You look at what this young kid did. That's the first time he's been in that situation."

This type of usage will not be sustainable for the Giants, especially if they deal from that bullpen depth. That remains an open question before next week's deadline, but for now the relievers aren't focused on who might go. They show up every day, play catch, take inventory of what hurts, and put up zeros until a hitter can send everyone home. 

"It's incredible," Madison Bumgarner said. "We've got a lot of good arms to throw at you and put on you there. They've shown that. They've shown how they've pitched under high stress situations. We feel like anybody you run out there is going to get the job done, and they have."

Madison Bumgarner trade isn’t what Pablo Sandoval wants to see Giants do

Madison Bumgarner trade isn’t what Pablo Sandoval wants to see Giants do

If that was Madison Bumgarner's final home start in a Giants uniform, Pablo Sandoval made sure it’d be a memorable one.

In the bottom of the 13th inning Tuesday night at Oracle Park, Sandoval sent the home fans happy when he drilled a walk-off home run to the opposite field off Cubs reliever Brad Brach.

Earlier in the game, Bumgarner continued his recent hot stretch, limiting Chicago to three runs and six hits over seven innings before giving way to San Francisco's bullpen, which proceeded to pitch six innings of one-run ball.

Immediately after Sandoval rounded the bases and was hounded by his teammates at home plate, he spoke with NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez about the left-hander who started it all off.

"He's special. He's special. He's one of the guys you don't want to give up," Sandoval said of Bumgarner. "He's such a talented guy up there. Every time he gets on the mound, you want to win for him and do everything you can to support him. 

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"He's one of the greatest pitchers ever. ... He's one of the greatest guys."

Tuesday's start was Bumgarner's final one at Oracle Park before the July 31 MLB trade deadline, and teams surely will inquire about the Giants’ ace. If Sandoval gets his way, it won't be MadBum’s last.