Giants

Pablo Sandoval sparks Giants vs. Reds to snap three-game losing streak

Pablo Sandoval sparks Giants vs. Reds to snap three-game losing streak

We've seen this story unfold for the Giants this season, over and over. Once again, the first inning looked like a nightmare for the team. 

Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner allowed two unearned runs in the top of the first inning Sunday against the Reds, quickly putting San Francisco in a deficit. The two runs put the Giants' first-inning frustrations at 42 runs for the opposing team compared to just three runs themselves in the first this season entering Sunday's game. 

Pablo Sandoval pushed it to five runs in the first inning this season with one swing of the bat. The versatile switch-hitter golfed a low and outside pitch over the left-field wall to tie it up in the Giants' eventual 6-5 comeback win. They came from behind three different times to secure the victory and snap a three-game losing streak. 

"All the situations we've been through this season, we're always fighting to try and help the pitching staff," Sandoval said to Amy G after the game. "That's what we did today and we're gonna continue doing." 

Sandoval started the scoring with his home run and ended it by crossing the plate for the game-winning run on a Kevin Pillar single to center field. Playing first base in place of Brandon Belt, Sandoval went 3-for-4 with two RBI and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. 

Sandoval's big day at the plate Sunday was another in a long list of dominance against the Reds. He's now batting .310 (57-for-184) in 49 career games against Cincinnati, with five home runs and eight doubles. Two of his four home runs this season have been off Reds pitchers. 

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The Panda has been more than a novelty hat or bobblehead this year. He's been a reliable bat off the bench or someone that can start at the corners and even come in for an inning on the mound.

In a season full of more downs than ups for the Giants, Sandoval's been a positive player to appreciate from afar.

Giants say they won't include Aubrey Huff in 2010 World Series reunion

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USATSI

Giants say they won't include Aubrey Huff in 2010 World Series reunion

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants do celebrations and nostalgia better than anyone, and quite a bit of time will be devoted this season to looking back at the 2010 team that finally brought a title to San Francisco. But a key member of that team will not be invited to Oracle Park because of tweets he sent this offseason. 

The Giants have told Aubrey Huff, the starting first baseman on that team, that he is not welcome at the ballpark when they celebrate the 2010 championship. 

"Earlier this month, we reached out to Aubrey Huff to let him know that he will not be included in the upcoming 2010 World Series Championship reunion," the organization said Monday in a statement. "Aubrey has made multiple comments on social media that are unacceptable and run counter to the values of our organization. While we appreciate the many contributions that Aubrey made to the 2010 championship season, we stand by our decision."

The Athletic first reported Monday that Huff would not be included, and the 43-year-old told the website that he was "shocked" and "disappointed" by the decision.

"If it wasn't for me, they wouldn't be having a reunion," Huff told The Athletic. "But if they want to stick with their politically correct, progressive b------t, that's fine."

Huff hit .290 with 26 homers for the 2010 Giants and then dropped off over the next two years. He resurfaced years later with a Twitter account that often goes for shock value but crossed the line two notable times in the offseason. Giants officials were particularly taken aback by two tweets. 

In November, Huff tweeted a photo from a gun range with the caption "Getting my boys trained up on how to use a gun in the unlikely event" that Bernie Sanders beats Donald Trump in the 2020 election. In January, he tweeted about taking a flight to Iran to "kidnap about 10" women, writing "bring them back here as they fan us and feed us grapes, amongst other things."

[RELATED: Kapler shares short message to Giants' full spring squad]

Huff has not been around the ballpark much since retiring, but he came back to San Francisco in September for Bruce Bochy's final game, receiving a mixed reaction from the crowd. 

The Giants plan to celebrate the 2010 team on Aug. 16 and give out replica rings to the fans in attendance.

Gabe Kapler shares short message to Giants' spring training full squad

Gabe Kapler shares short message to Giants' spring training full squad

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Gabe Kapler has said repeatedly in recent weeks that he wants the Giants to be more prepared than their opponents, so it seemed likely that he would spend weeks working on the exact speech he would give when the full squad assembled for the first time on February 17.

But the first meeting was not a marathon. There was no dramatic speech, just a quick message from Kapler, one from Farhan Zaidi, some words from a couple of veterans, and then the Giants hit the field and began playing catch. 

"Players on Day 1, the thing they want to do the most is to get out on the field and compete," Kapler said. "So to squeeze everything in to Day 1 for the pageantry maybe doesn't make as much sense as to try to share those messages on a daily basis."

Kapler will have plenty of time to spread his beliefs. During his first day leading the full roster, he simply wanted the players to compete and to get used to some subtle changes. The Giants brought a machine out to throw sliders to hitters after they had taken a couple of rounds of batting practice, giving them a chance to hit breaking balls much sooner than they normally would.

Kapler said he was encouraged by how many players took advantage of the extra opportunity. 

"Those slider machines are not comfortable for players, particularly when they haven't seen a lot of pitches," Kapler said. "So to see the engagement and the buy-in was really cool. Our hitting coaches did a great job of making it a menu option, and then it was even cooler to see our players select the more difficult and challenging practice."

Kapler and the staff had a week to get pitchers and catchers used to some new ways of practicing and the emphasis on competition, but it was a bit different when the position players showed up. The bullpen is basically a wide-open competition and it's unclear who the fifth starter will be along with the backup catcher.

But the starting lineup is a bit more set, with veterans at catcher, first, short and third and roster options like Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence already in place. 

You could say there's far less competition on the position player side, but that's not how the Giants want their players viewing it. Evan Longoria, who played with Kapler in Tampa Bay, said it was good to see how much emphasis is being put on winning jobs this spring. Even the core veterans are being made to feel pushed a bit. 

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"There are a lot of jobs open, there's a lot of things that guys are going to be competing for in camp, which is great," Longoria said. "Hopefully we see some of that fire come out, friendly competition or real. It's not really friendly, you know. Guys are playing for their livelihood and it's a job, so I love seeing that competitive nature come out in guys.

"It was good to hear guys stand up and I think it's really good to get those things out there in the open from the beginning."