Giants

Royals rough up Cueto, Giants swept in two-game home series

Royals rough up Cueto, Giants swept in two-game home series

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Royals slugger Mike Moustakas didn't care to get caught up in a debate concerning whether or not his latest home run landed in the waters of McCovey Cove.

With Kansas City finally finding a comfortable groove after a rocky start to the season, Moustakas is thinking big picture.

Moustakas hit his 18th home run leading off the second inning, Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain followed with back-to-back shots in the third and the Royals beat the San Francisco Giants 7-2 on Wednesday to complete a two-game sweep.

The win was Kansas City's fourth straight and left the Royals at 30-34 - not bad for a ballclub that was nine games under .500 one month into the season.

"We're trending in the right direction," Moustakas said. "We've been playing great baseball on this road trip and if we keep this going we're going to be in a good spot after the end of this month."

Moustakas, one of Kansas City's top hitters over the past two weeks, stayed hot with his home run off former Royals pitcher Johnny Cueto (5-6) that initially appeared to land in McCovey Cove. Officials later determined that the ball landed on a walkway and bounced into the water.

It was the fifth homer in 12 games for Moustakas, who is already just four shy of his career-high.

"It's all good, a homer's a homer," Moustakas said.

Bonifacio finished with two hits and three RBIs, Whit Merrifield added three hits and three runs while Alcides Escobar singled three times to help Jason Hammel end an eight-game winless stretch on the road that dated to 2016.

Hammel (3-6) allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings to beat the Giants for the first time in 12 starts. The right-hander gave up eight hits, struck out four and walked one.

"He commanded the ball really well, he changed speeds, he used his slider effectively, got some big swings and misses," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "His last couple of starts, he's really come on for us."

Bonifacio homered in the third after Merrifield opened the inning with a bunt single. Two pitches later, Cain lined an 0-1 pitch over the fence in left-center that put the Royals up 4-0.

Cueto struggled in his first appearance against his former team since signing with San Francisco after helping Kansas City to the 2015 World Series. He allowed five runs and 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts.

Kansas City has scored seven or more runs in each of its last four games, all wins.

Eduardo Nunez had two hits and an RBI for San Francisco. The Giants have lost 11 of 15.

San Francisco had two on and two outs twice but failed to score each time. Hammel fanned Brandon Crawford to end the fourth and reliever Peter Moylan got Buster Posey to ground out to end the seventh.

"The way we're swinging, it's a steep climb," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "This is humbling to go through something like this. It's a tough time for these fellows."

WALKED OFF

Brandon Belt's walk in the seventh inning was the first free pass issued by Hammel since May 29. It also was the last batter the right-hander faced, as Yost came scurrying out of the dugout to replace him with Moylan. Hammel hardly resisted. "I don't ever want to say I was getting tired but that inning the pitches were up," he said. "Probably the right move there."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: 2B Joe Panik returned to the lineup after being sidelined for four games with a sprained left thumb he injured last week in Milwaukee diving for a ground ball. He went 2 for 4.

UP NEXT

Royals: LHP Matt Strahm (1-3, 4.05) makes his first career start Thursday in Anaheim against the Angels. Strahm has made 20 appearances out of the bullpen this season.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore (2-7, 5.28) faces the Rockies for the third time this season when the teams play at Colorado in the opener of a four-game series Thursday. Moore is winless in his previous five starts.

MLB rumors: Giants gauging Evan Longoria trade interest with teams

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MLB rumors: Giants gauging Evan Longoria trade interest with teams

Evan Longoria's first season in San Francisco didn't go as planned, and now his future might not either.

The veteran third baseman has only spent one season in San Francisco, but the Giants, led by their new regime under Farhan Zaidi, reportedly are already looking at ways to move on. 

According to Jon Heyman, the Giants "have been gauging trade interest" in Longoria. But that won't be easy. 

Longoria, 33, still has $72.5 million left -- $58 million from the Giants -- on his contract through 2022, plus a $2 million assignment bonus if he's traded. When the Giants acquired him in a trade with the Rays before the 2018 season, Tampa Bay sent San Francisco $14.5 million.

The three-time All-Star had the worst season of his 11-year big league career after joining the Giants. He had career lows in batting average (.244), on-base percentage (.281), and home runs (16). 

[RELATED: Giants' Evan Longoria expresses displeasure with slow MLB free agency]

Longoria is the most likely candidate for Zaidi to pull off a salary-swap trade. He doesn't have a no-trade clause, and Zaidi has been here before in the past with players like Matt Kemp.

The Giants want to get younger and more athletic. Trading Longoria could just be the start of more roster turnaround for a team that has lost 187 games the past two seasons.

Giants' Evan Longoria expresses displeasure with slow MLB free agency

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USATSI

Giants' Evan Longoria expresses displeasure with slow MLB free agency

Despite playing 11 years of Major League Baseball, Giants third baseman Evan Longoria has never gone through free agency. He signed a six-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, and then a 10-year extension with the club in 2012.

But with what he's witnessing this offseason, it's safe to say he isn't looking forward to the day he has to partake in the process.

Longoria took to Instagram to share his displeasure, writing the following: 

We are less then a month from the start of spring and once again some of our games biggest starts remain unsigned. Such a shame. It’s seems every day now someone is making up a new analytical tool to devalue players, especially free agents. As fans, why should “value” for your team even be a consideration? It’s not your money, it’s money that players have worked their whole lives to get to that level and be deserving of. Bottom line, fans should want the best players and product on the field for their team. And as players we need to stand strong for what we believe we are worth and continue to fight for the rights we have fought for time and time again.

What Longoria is arguing is a lot of common sense that baseball fans need to understand.

Let's look at the following point: "As fans, why should “value” for your team even be a consideration? It’s not your money, it’s money that players have worked their whole lives to get to that level and be deserving of. Bottom line, fans should want the best players and product on the field for their team." 

He's not wrong. 

The money either goes to players, making them millionaires, or owners, making them billionaires. Who are we watching on the field? It's quite simple. 

Sure, it might be fun to play armchair GM, but fans should want the best and most entertaining product on the field. We can understand why teams rebuild, but that doesn't mean we have to get to this point as fans. Every team can afford a Bryce Harper or a Manny Machado.

The best game is the most competitive game, and that's what players want. Fans should be nodding their head in agreement. 

What's most interesting from Longoria is the fact that he's calling out the system and calling for players to fight back. The MLB collective bargaining agreement ends at the end of the 2021 season. If anger increases from players, negotiations could get quite awkward.