Angel Pagan

Offense explodes for FOUR RUNS as Giants avoid sweep in San Diego

Buster Posey San Francisco Giants

After amassing two runs combined on solo homers in the first two games of their series against the Padres, the Giants matched that total in the first inning on a two-run blast from Buster Posey that traveled 427 feet. The offense kept rolling in the second inning, when San Francisco loaded the bases with a Brandon Hicks walk, a single by Brandon Crawford and a walk to Tim Lincecum, a series of events that was followed by a two-run single by Angel Pagan.

And that was it. The Giants didn’t collect another run or even another hit after those three in the first two innings, but it was enough in a 4-3 win that proved once again that any contest with a scoring differential other than one run is an anomaly for this bunch.

Alex Pavlovic’s game story included Bruce Bochy’s thoughts on the offense, which was slumping something fierce coming into this game.

The final box score didn’t show all that much improvement at the plate — the Giants had just three hits — but Bochy counted a half-dozen hard-hit balls that found gloves, and the Padres added a collection of highlight catches in the outfield.

“I thought we were kicking tail today, I did,” Bochy said. “I looked up in the seventh and saw three hits and went, ‘Geez!’ We did hit some balls hard.”

Lincecum had one of those “alright, we’ll take it” kind of starts. Six innings, three runs (all earned), seven hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. Thanks to instant replay, he was able to earn the win.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the third, Chase Headley sent one down the right field line. Two runs scored, and Xavier Nady was tagged out at the plate after Hunter Pence quickly got the ball to Brandon Belt and Belt made a nice throw to Posey. Nady was originally called safe, but that’s why MLB was forced into instituting instant replay.

The Giants held a 4-2 lead, and the Padres added another run when Nick Hundley hit a homer off Lincecum to lead off the seventh. San Francisco’s bullpen came through once again, as Jeremy Affeldt pitched a scoreless inning, Javier Lopez and Santiago Casilla combined to handle the eighth, and Sergio Romo earned his fifth save of the season despite walking the leadoff hitter and wild-pitching him to second.

Extra BASGs

— Posey threw out Everth Cabrera, who was trying to steal second base. Posey has thrown out eight attempted base-stealers this season, which leads the majors. Posey is throwing out guys at a 40% clip, and he’s getting tons of chances as teams are being extremely aggressive against him compared to prior seasons. There were 0.78 stolen base attempts per nine innings against Posey in 2013, a decrease from 1.16 per nine innings in 2012. So far this season, 20 guys have attempted to steal off Posey — 1.32 every nine innings. Small sample size, sure, but look for that rate to drop in the coming weeks.

— The Giants’ bullpen stats are ridiculous through 60.1 innings: 1.79 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 0.4 HR/9. The only number that doesn’t suggest dominance is their 48 combined strikeouts, but they’ve only walked 15 (three intentional).

— I’m in L.A. covering the Golden State Warriors, and with travel and yesterday’s game I was forced to listen to most of Friday’s and Saturday’s baseball action. Good lord, Ted Leitner is bad. So many “my Padres” references, and I’ve never heard an announcer shoehorn so many commercial reads into a game. There would be a pitch (an actual pitch, not a sales pitch), then he’d go on and on about some mortgage company (including several mentions of how the late Jerry Coleman loved this company as well, which may have been true but sounded very uncouth). Did the game stop for 30 seconds? No, but Leitner would read away, undeterred by the game he was supposed to be describing.

The Dodgers have Vin Scully, the A’s have Ken Korach, and the Giants’ group is without compare. Padres fans deserve better, and it hammered home once again how good Giants fans have it.

— I usually don’t pay a ton of attention to lineup construction, but I’m wondering when/if Bochy will consider batting Crawford second. If he wants to keep Posey in the third spot — which I certainly think is a possibility — does this lineup make sense or am I completely off base?

  • Pagan (.356/.397/.466)
  • Crawford (.283/.375/.472)
  • Posey (.238/.314/.444)
  • Belt (.293/.321/.560)
  • Morse (.286/.355/.518)
  • Sandoval (.171/.256/.286)
  • Pence (.181/.289/.278)
  • Second baseman du jour (.193/.283/.277)

This wouldn’t be a permanent lineup, but with Bochy there is no such thing anyway. This would give the Giants alternating righty/lefty hitters from one-through-seven against left-handed pitchers, and Crawford has made it known he likes hitting second. Belt has also made no secret of the fact that he likes hitting near the top of the lineup, but I’m guessing he’d be satisfied with the cleanup assignment. Most importantly, the guys who are actually hitting would be at the top of the lineup. Crazy, I know.

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