MadBum stifles Cubs in graceful August exit

Giants' ace finishes month 5-0 after fanning 12 through six, allowing two hits and making acrobatic play

MadBum stifles Cubs in graceful August exit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner concluded his graceful waltz through August with his fanciest footwork of the month.

Bumgarner displayed his characteristic dominance Thursday with 12 strikeouts in six innings during the Giants' 9-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs. But San Francisco's ace most impressively maintained control of himself on foot, not on the mound.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Living a dream: Tomlinson's 1st homer grand

Giants rookie emotional after receiving rousing ovation following slam

Living a dream: Tomlinson's 1st homer grand

SAN FRANCISCO -- Growing up in Chickasha, Okla., Giants rookie Kelby Tomlinson always dreamed of hitting a home run in the Major Leagues. On Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park, his wish finally came true.

Tomlinson connected for his first career home run, and it was a grand slam off reliever James Russell in the eighth inning that put an exclamation point on San Francisco's 9-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.

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Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants rout Cubs for series win, gain ground

Giants rout Cubs for series win, gain ground

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner fanned 12 Cubs over six innings and Marlon Byrd drilled a three-run homer to propel San Francisco to a 9-1 victory over Chicago on Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park.

The outcome marked the first time the Cubs lost a series to a National League opponent since they were swept by Philadelphia, July 24-26.

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Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heston likely to replace Cain for Sunday start

General manager Evans says Giants 'leaning' toward scratching righty, who may hit DL

Heston likely to replace Cain for Sunday start

SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Matt Cain likely will be scratched from his scheduled start Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals and will be replaced by Chris Heston, Giants general manager Bobby Evans said Thursday.

Evans delivered this information during his radio show on KNBR-AM (680), the Giants' flagship station.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Despite injuries, Giants are time-tested champs

Veterans' mental toughness, newcomers' energy a boon in season's final five weeks

Despite injuries, Giants are time-tested champs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Every now and then, it's not a bad idea to recall the immortal words of former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich: "Never underestimate the heart of a champion."

Rudy T. was referring to his back-to-back kings of the NBA in 1994 and '95, but his sentiments also apply to the three-time World Series champion Giants. Fans in San Francisco and its environs know never to underestimate these guys, even as their faith repeatedly is tested in odd-numbered years such as 2015.

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Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants, Leake to face baseball's best in Cards

Giants, Leake to face baseball's best in Cards

When the Giants and Cardinals met last week in St. Louis, the three-game series evoked a playoff atmosphere. The teams scored six runs apiece as the best team in baseball took two of three from the second-place Giants.

As the two teams open a three-game series at AT&T Park on Friday, the stakes are even higher for San Francisco. The Giants are fighting for their playoff lives as they attempt to catch the Chicago Cubs for the second Wild Card spot and the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League West lead.

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Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants must be patient with Pence's recovery

Bochy hopes to have outfielder back in roughly two weeks, but oblique rehab tough to gauge

Giants must be patient with Pence's recovery

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are hoping their injured players return to full health soon, but it appears Hunter Pence has a ways to go.

Pence, who strained his left oblique on his final swing of a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals on Aug. 17, has yet to resume baseball activities. The Giants' right fielder is eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Sept. 2, but manager Bruce Bochy made it clear that he won't be back for a while.

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Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peavy plays stopper, cools Cubs for big win

Peavy plays stopper, cools Cubs for big win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Depleted in numbers but not in spirit, the San Francisco Giants reverted to their familiar combination for success, featuring plenty of pitching and just enough offense, to outlast the Chicago Cubs, 4-2, in a tense, taut Wednesday night encounter.

The Giants, who lost their previous five games against the Cubs this year, broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of sixth-inning runs off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks as Brandon Belt tripled and Buster Posey and Kelby Tomlinson both laced RBI doubles.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tomlinson steps up with key hustle, hits in win

'That's how you play the game,' Bochy says of rookie's effort vs. Cubs

Tomlinson steps up with key hustle, hits in win

SAN FRANCISCO -- The short-handed Giants lineup needed a boost Wednesday night as they try to climb back into the National League Wild Card race, and rookie Kelby Tomlinson was there to provide it.

An unlikely hero, Tomlinson helped San Francisco push the tying run across in the first inning and added an RBI double in the sixth to propel the Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs to move within 6 1/2 games of the second Wild Card spot.

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Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fan overcomes beer, food spill to get ball

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Fan overcomes beer, food spill to get ball

The opportunity to catch a foul ball doesn't come along very often. Some sad souls (like myself) will never, ever snatch up a lucky souvenir and regret it for the rest of their lives. But during Wednesday's Cubs-Giants game at AT&T Park, one of these rare chances came upon a group of fans high up in the stands. And one fan knew these things. He knew that this might be it. And neither food nor his beer would get in his way.

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Giants pondering struggling Cain's next start

Right-hander allows six runs in five innings against Cubs

Giants pondering struggling Cain's next start

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's a given that Matt Cain will keep striving to regain his winning form. Whether he's allowed to do that when his next turn in the Giants' pitching rotation arrives is another issue.

Manager Bruce Bochy indicated Tuesday night after San Francisco's 8-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs that he and the Giants' hierarchy will discuss the feasibility of starting Cain on Sunday against St. Louis, particularly in the wake of the right-hander's current lapses.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants see Cubs pull away with homers

Giants see Cubs pull away with homers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jake Arrieta could be looking ahead and counting how many games he might win this season, but the Cubs right-hander is focused on posting a quality start, and it's paid off.

Arrieta became the first pitcher in the Major Leagues to reach 16 wins and Kyle Schwarber, Miguel Montero and Starlin Castro each homered to power the Cubs to an 8-5 victory over the Giants on Tuesday night. Chicago now has won 21 of its last 25 games.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Affeldt endures another off-day injury

Giants reliever hurts left knee playing with kids at lake

Affeldt endures another off-day injury

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rest and relaxation again proved hazardous to Jeremy Affeldt's health.

The Giants placed Affeldt on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, one day after the left-hander sustained a partial dislocation, known as a subluxation, of his left knee. The Giants recalled right-hander Mike Broadway from Triple-A Sacramento to fill Affeldt's spot in the bullpen.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Panik could return during Giants' next road trip

Panik could return during Giants' next road trip

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants second baseman Joe Panik (lower back stiffness) resumed swinging off a tee and remains on track to return to the team in early September, manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday.

For the first time since the Giants placed Panik on the disabled list Aug. 3, Bochy was able to provide a more precise return date for when the 24-year-old will rejoin the team.

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Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hardened veteran Byrd a perfect fit with Giants

Hardened veteran Byrd a perfect fit with Giants

PITTSBURGH -- Marlon Byrd walked into the visitors' clubhouse at PNC Park on Friday afternoon ready to take on a new role with a new team, the Giants, his fifth club in the past three seasons. But it all felt familiar.

It wasn't just because Byrd had spent plenty of time in that clubhouse as a visiting player. It's because Byrd found himself in the same situation two years ago, just on the other side of the ballpark along the Allegheny River.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants hope offensive woes don't follow them home

Giants hope offensive woes don't follow them home

PITTSBURGH -- It was the kind of road trip you hope you can sleep off on the flight home.

Yet again unable to take advantage of opportune situations, San Francisco wilted at the plate in a 5-2 loss to the Pirates on Sunday night at PNC Park, ending an offensively anemic six-game swing away from home.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Williamson on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

Houston phenoms on list 20 times thus far, most of any team

Williamson on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

The Houston Astros might be the feel-good surprise story in the big leagues, but let's not forget much of that has been built from within, taking advantage of one of the best farm systems in baseball.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants burned by Pirates' fast start

Giants burned by Pirates' fast start

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has an expression for the "gamer" attitude his players use to overcome their own rash of mistakes to post the Majors' third best record: "So what? Now what?"

The Pirates played their ultimate "So what? Now what?" game Sunday night, downing the Giants, 5-2, despite a series of physical and mental errors in the middle innings. After two fielding errors by first baseman Pedro Alvarez and a throwing error by second baseman Neil Walker gifted the Giants with two runs to trim the Bucs' lead to 3-2, homers by Andrew McCutchen in the sixth and Alvarez in the seventh restored order.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants toppled by Bucs' walk-off homer

Giants toppled by Bucs' walk-off homer

PITTSBURGH -- Seven innings after robbing Brandon Crawford of a home run, Starling Marte robbed Crawford's entire team of a possible win. Marte's homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth Saturday gave the Pirates a 3-2 walk-off win over the stunned Giants at PNC Park.

Marte drilled the first pitch to him by George Kontos for his 15th homer of the season to keep the game's theme to its conclusion. The Bucs' first two runs had been the product of Jung Ho Kang's first career two-homer game.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Leake returns with strong six innings vs. Bucs

In first start off DL, new Giants pitcher lifted after 77 pitches for scoring chance

Leake returns with strong six innings vs. Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- Giants right-hander Mike Leake wasn't surprised he was pinch-hit for, even with a one-hitter going.

In Leake's first start since returning from the 15-day disabled list, he tamed the Pirates' bats, but fatigue and circumstance forced him out of the game. He turned a tied ballgame over to the bullpen, which wasn't preserved in a 3-2 loss to the Pirates on Saturday at PNC Park.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lollis sent down as Leake returns from DL

Lollis sent down as Leake returns from DL

PITTSBURGH -- With Mike Leake officially activated from the 15-day disabled list and poised to start for the Giants on Saturday, the club optioned outfielder Ryan Lollis to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for the right-hander.

The 28-year-old outfielder was deemed as excess in the San Francisco outfield. The Giants acquired Marlon Byrd on Thursday and have Nori Aoki, Gregor Blanco, Juan Perez and Justin Maxwell at their disposal.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Byrd delivers with 3 hits, HR in Giants debut

Byrd delivers with 3 hits, HR in Giants debut

PITTSBURGH -- Marlon Byrd got a fresh start, and he didn't wait to take advantage of it.

Finishing a triple shy of the cycle, Byrd went 3-for-5 in his Giants debut and helped his new team earn a 6-4 win over the Pirates on Friday night.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MadBum keeps Bucc-ing trend with 5th homer

MadBum keeps Bucc-ing trend with 5th homer

PITTSBURGH -- Sometimes pitchers get lucky at the plate.

But Madison Bumgarner's power is no fluke, and he proved it again on Friday night, belting his fifth home run of the season in the Giants' 6-4 win over the Pirates at PNC Park.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Byrd, MadBum jacks power Giants past Pirates

Byrd, MadBum jacks power Giants past Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Madison Bumgarner recovered from a shaky beginning on Friday night to not only pitch into the seventh, but he again got double-billing as the hitting star of a 6-4 victory over the Pirates at PNC Park.

Bumgarner's two-run homer in the second -- his San Francisco pitchers-record fifth of the season -- accounted for the winning run. Also making a huge contribution was the newest Giant, Marlon Byrd, who hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat and finished 3-for-5 in his debut, falling a triple shy of the cycle.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants option Heston to make room for Byrd

Giants option Heston to make room for Byrd

PITTSBURGH -- Giants right-hander Chris Heston was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for recently acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd, manager Bruce Bochy said before Friday's game against the Pirates.

Despite being sent down, Heston is expected to return to the Majors when rosters expand on Sept. 1. Heston was originally slated to start on Saturday against the Pirates. Instead, Mike Leake will come off the disabled to take that turn in the rotation.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

11 factoids about Bumgarner's homer prowess

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11 factoids about Bumgarner's homer prowess

In the top of the second inning against the Pirates on Friday night, Bumgarner went deep once again -- for the fifth time this year. 

Which naturally means it's time for a whole bunch of facts given his remarkable performance. (And let's not even mention that he's posted a 3.02 ERA on the season -- also remarkably similar to his 2.98 mark of last season.) And given that he's a pitcher, let's just put a blanket small sample size alert over all of these and just enjoy the dingertude. 

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Giants handed shutout loss by Pirates

Giants handed shutout loss by Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Charlie Morton pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning Thursday and was supported by Neil Walker's two-run homer and opposite-field RBI doubles by Aramis Ramirez and Jung Ho Kang as the Pirates downed San Francisco, 4-0, before the 19th sellout of the season at PNC Park.

Morton improved his record to 8-4, his most wins since 2010, by continuing to neutralize left-handed hitters with a wicked curve that has become his "go-to pitch when I need a strikeout." He struck out eight Thursday, giving him 17 in the 13 innings of his last two starts.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants acquire Byrd from Reds for Minors arm

San Francisco also receives cash as righty Johnson heads to Cincy

Giants acquire Byrd from Reds for Minors arm

PITTSBURGH -- On the same day outfielder Hunter Pence hit the 15-day disabled list, the Giants made a move to inject offensive production in his absence, acquiring Marlon Byrd from the Reds for Double-A pitcher Stephen Johnson.

Byrd, who was hitting .237/.286/.448 with 19 home runs and 42 RBIs for Cincinnati this season, is expected to join the team and play in Friday's game against the Pirates. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Byrd will likely play in left field, moving Nori Aoki -- a more viable defensive option -- to right.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.