Strickland to join Giants for doubleheader

After allowing six homers in postseason, reliever has made strides at Triple-A

Strickland to join Giants for doubleheader

DENVER -- The Giants would have preferred to announce Hunter Strickland's one-day promotion to the Majors themselves. But Strickland had his own ideas. Strickland disseminated news of his good fortune Friday afternoon on Twitter.

The right-hander, who made 17 appearances for the Giants late in the regular season and in the postseason last year, will join the club for Saturday's day-night doubleheader against Colorado. Strickland will be eligible to pitch in either game. He'll return to Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday.

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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.

World Series champ Giants look the part

San Francisco's shutout sweep of Dodgers highlights team's surge

World Series champ Giants look the part

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are performing as if they were caught in a time warp. Every day seems like October.

Maybe that's an exaggeration, but if so, it's only slight. The club that has won three of the past five World Series, including last year's, owns a 19-8 record since April 21 -- the best in the Major Leagues during that span.

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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.

Double-threat MadBum, Giants get sweep

Double-threat MadBum, Giants get sweep

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner supported himself with a home run and distinguished himself with a 6 1/3-innings effort Thursday as the San Francisco Giants completed their three-game shutout sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 4-0 victory.

The defending World Series champions lengthened their winning streak to six games while improving to 7-2 this season against the Dodgers. The Giants last blanked Los Angeles in a three-game series June 25-27, 2012.

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Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

MadBum HRs off Kershaw; Statcast tells you why

3 reasons why fastball from LA lefty landed in the seats

MadBum HRs off Kershaw; Statcast tells you why

Clayton Kershaw has faced more than 5,700 hitters over his eight-year career, but never once had he allowed an opposing pitcher to hit a home run -- never, that is, until Thursday, when Madison Bumgarner crushed a first-pitch third inning fastball into the AT&T Park seats for the first run in what would be a 4-0 Giants win. Let's start by giving fair credit to Bumgarner, who now has seven homers to his name, third among active pitchers behind Yovani Gallardo (12) and Travis Wood (9).

But all due respect to the outstanding Bumgarner, this is the defending NL MVP and three-time Cy Young winner we're talking about in Kershaw. How in the world does the best pitcher in baseball give up a homer to his opposite number, even one who can swing the bat like Bumgarner? Let's dig into Statcast™, which calculated the distance of the homer at 415 feet with an exit velocity of 105 mph, and the other tools at our disposal to point out three reasons how that ball ended up in the stands.

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Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MadBum hits 415-foot HR off Kershaw

Giants' ace is first pitcher to homer off Dodgers' lefty

MadBum hits 415-foot HR off Kershaw

SAN FRANCISCO -- After the Giants' 4-0 victory Thursday over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Madison Bumgarner restrained himself. That contrasted with a very significant third-inning moment, when he simply let it rip.

His swing, that is.

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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

MadBum, Kershaw a compelling rivalry

MadBum, Kershaw a compelling rivalry

SAN FRANCISCO -- Clayton Kershaw didn't call the shot, but he might have unwittingly hinted at it four weeks ago. Before they hooked up the first of three times this season, on April 22 at AT&T Park, Kershaw acknowledged that Madison Bumgarner had one advantage in their classic confrontations: his dangerous right-handed bat.

Bumgarner, the Giants' ace, brought that edge to living color with one swing in Thursday's matinee at AT&T Park. His mammoth, 415-foot homer launched a 4-0 victory that completed a three-game sweep and brought San Francisco to within 1 1/2 games of Los Angeles in the National League West.

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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.

Peavy not rushing back to Majors

Right-hander happy to begin rehab stint with Class A Advanced San Jose on Friday

Peavy not rushing back to Majors

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jake Peavy wants to go back to work. But the Giants' right-hander knows that there's no hurry.

Sidelined since April 17 with back pain, Peavy's thrilled to begin his Minor League injury rehabilitation stint with Class A Advanced San Jose on Friday.

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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.

Lincecum in vintage form against Dodgers

Lincecum in vintage form against Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Bruce Bochy said that Tim Lincecum had "a lot of confidence and swagger right now," that wasn't a clip from the archives. The Giants' manager made that remark Wednesday, on a glorious night for the Giants.

They watched Lincecum awaken echoes of the past, albeit without his once-dazzling fastball, as he allowed three hits in seven innings to hasten the Giants' second straight shutout of the Dodgers, this time by a 4-0 score.

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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.

Posey, Freak push Giants' win streak to 5

Posey, Freak push Giants' win streak to 5

SAN FRANCISCO -- Conjuring the magic he displayed during his Cy Young Award-winning years, Tim Lincecum allowed three hits in seven innings to lead the Giants to their second straight shutout victory over the Dodgers, a 4-0 verdict on Wednesday night. San Francisco lengthened its winning streak to five games while improving to 6-2 this season against its archrival.

Buster Posey went 3-for-4 with a homer and scored twice to back Lincecum (4-2), who won his fourth consecutive start at AT&T Park, a streak he last built from July 4-Aug. 1, 2009. Lincecum has allowed one run in his last 27 innings at home, including a current stretch of 22 shutout innings in a row.

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Ken Gurnick and Chris Haft are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duffy relishes Giants-Dodgers rivalry

Duffy relishes Giants-Dodgers rivalry

SAN FRANCISCO -- Some players dismiss the Giants-Dodgers rivalry as a diversion meant largely for fans. Don't tell that to Matt Duffy.

The Giants' rookie infielder, who received a start Wednesday night at third base in the second game of a three-game set between the National League West foes, relishes the rivalry as much as any orange- or blue-clad zealot in the stands.

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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.

Hudson leads combined shutout vs. Dodgers

Hudson leads combined shutout vs. Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Hudson ended a mini-slump with an effectively stubborn 6 1/3-inning performance, and Buster Posey delivered a key run with a third-inning single Tuesday night as the San Francisco Giants outdueled the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-0.

Hudson (2-3) allowed nine runs and 21 hits in 12 innings spanning his previous two outings. But the 39-year-old stopped trouble before it started by permitting just one leadoff hitter to reach base as the Giants trimmed the Dodgers' National League West lead to 3 1/2 games.

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Ken Gurnick and Chris Haft are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pence makes a signature catch in home debut

Pence makes a signature catch in home debut

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence's catch of Adrian Gonzalez's sixth-inning drive to right-center field on Tuesday night might not have been the stuff of legend and bobbleheads, as his grab against Washington in last October's National League Division Series became.

But it probably was one of the most discussed events among those who witnessed the Giants' fifth victory in seven games this season over the Los Angeles Dodgers, a 2-0 verdict.

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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.

Humble Hudson gets untracked

Humble Hudson gets untracked

SAN FRANCISCO -- Perhaps the individual least impressed with Tim Hudson's performance Tuesday night was Hudson himself.

Hudson rebounded from a couple of subpar games to pace the Giants to their Major League-high sixth shutout of the season, a 2-0 decision over the Dodgers. He surrendered five hits in 6 1/3 innings, a welcome contrast from the nine runs and 21 hits he yielded in 12 innings during his previous two starts.

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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

Giants showcasing adaptability

Pitching, defense continue to thrive for San Francisco at AT&T Park

Giants showcasing adaptability

SAN FRANCISCO -- Judging by their home/road splits, you might conclude that the Giants have developed a split personality. It's actually more a case of this being a highly adaptable troupe of athletes capable of adjusting virtually overnight from one style to another without missing a beat.

Returning home after clobbering the Reds with 30 runs in the last three games of a four-game series in Ohio, the reigning World Series champions were back in customary AT&T Park form on Tuesday night: airtight and outta sight.

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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.

Ishikawa's return will require a difficult decision

Ishikawa's return will require a difficult decision

SAN FRANCISCO -- Travis Ishikawa's impending eligibility for activation from the disabled list will force the Giants to confront what likely will be a difficult decision.

Ishikawa is on an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Sacramento that ends Saturday. He said he has recovered from the strained back that has sidelined him all season. The Giants could find a way to delay making a roster move involving the first baseman/left fielder, but they'll eventually have to trim a member of the seven-man bullpen or shed a backup position player to make room for him. Neither move would be a comfortable one.

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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.

Parallels link McCovey, Pence through years

Both Giants had early season affected by broken arm and homered shortly after return

Parallels link McCovey, Pence through years

SAN FRANCISCO -- A Giants middle-of-the-order hitter misses much of the early season with a broken arm. The club's offense struggles without him. He rejoins the lineup and almost immediately asserts himself by clobbering a home run.

Such are the parallels between Willie McCovey and Hunter Pence. McCovey broke his right arm on April 18, 1972, in a collision with San Diego's John Jeter; Pence fractured his left forearm when Cubs farmhand Corey Black hit him with a pitch in a March 5 exhibition.

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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.

Homers from Belt, Pence lift Giants to series win

Homers from Belt, Pence lift Giants to series win

CINCINNATI -- Using home runs from Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence and three RBIs from Nori Aoki, the Giants outlasted the Reds for a wild 9-8 win on Sunday at Great American Ball Park to claim three of four games in the series. San Francisco scored 30 runs over the three straight wins.

"It was a hard-fought game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "They would punch back and we would punch back. The key was, we kept adding on."

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Casilla posts ninth save with immaculate inning

Closer strikes out three on nine pitches in finale against Reds

Casilla posts ninth save with immaculate inning

CINCINNATI -- Giants closer Santiago Casilla put away Sunday's 9-8 victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park with a perfect ninth inning -- in fact, an "immaculate" one.

Casilla needed just nine pitches to strike out Marlon Byrd, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce to end the game. Entire seasons have passed without a pitcher fanning three batters on nine pitches, although it happened seven times in 2014, according to Baseball Almanac.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Belt, Pence lead offensive surge in Cincy

First baseman homers three times in series; right fielder returns to post four hits

Belt, Pence lead offensive surge in Cincy

CINCINNATI -- The San Francisco Giants have found their hitting touch at a very inopportune time for the team they are chasing in the National League West.

Sunday afternoon's 9-8 victory at Cincinnati gave San Francisco wins in the last three games of the four-game series. In those three games, the Giants scored 30 runs on 45 hits, with eight doubles, a triple and seven home runs.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bochy has outfield logjam, but players 'unselfish'

Manager has five viable options in Pence, Pagan, Blanco, Aoki, Maxwell

Bochy has outfield logjam, but players 'unselfish'

CINCINNATI -- It would not be entirely accurate to say Giants manager Bruce Bochy is dealing with a "problem." Maybe a "challenge," if having too many good players can be considered a challenge.

Bochy said Sunday that he has already considered ways to keep his outfielders happy, healthy and sharp. San Francisco added a fifth outfielder to its roster Saturday when Hunter Pence was activated from the 15-day disabled list.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

In Pence's return, Crawford leads Giants to romp

In Pence's return, Crawford leads Giants to romp

CINCINNATI -- Brandon Crawford notched a career-high six RBIs, including a grand slam in the fifth inning that buried the Reds in an 11-2 victory for the Giants on Saturday at Great American Ball Park. San Francisco is a National League-best 15-8 since April 23 and can win the four-game series with another win Sunday.

Reds starter Mike Leake, who came in 5-1 with a 1.91 ERA over his last six starts vs. San Francisco, did not have it on the mound. Over his five innings, Leake gave up a career-high nine earned runs and 11 hits with one walk, two strikeouts and three home runs.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Underrated' Crawford racks up six RBIs

Giants shortstop tallies three hits, including grand slam, in win over Reds

'Underrated' Crawford racks up six RBIs

CINCINNATI -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows how blessed he is to have a shortstop who can hit like this.

Brandon Crawford drove in a career-high six runs Saturday night and belted his fourth career grand slam as the Giants overpowered Cincinnati, 11-2, at Great American Ball Park.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Extremely strong' Pence debuts with two hits

Giants right fielder singles, doubles, walks, scores three runs

'Extremely strong' Pence debuts with two hits

CINCINNATI -- Hunter Pence likes to say, "You can't see the end from beginning."

The beginning of his 2015 season was certainly ugly -- a broken arm during the first week of Spring Training. Now Pence gets to start down the path toward what could be a memorable ending.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Belt, Bumgarner power Giants past Reds

Belt, Bumgarner power Giants past Reds

CINCINNATI -- The Giants hit two home runs, including one from Brandon Belt during his four-RBI night, to boost Madison Bumgarner in a 10-2 win over the Reds on Friday night.

As Reds starter Jason Marquis struggled from the get-go, Belt quickly made it a 3-0 game in the first inning with his three-run homer to right field on a first pitch. Buster Posey made it 5-1 with his two-run homer to left field in the third inning. Marquis lasted only three innings in the loss and allowed six earned runs and seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Belt makes first bash of season count

First baseman launches 421-foot shot in first inning of win over Reds

Belt makes first bash of season count

CINCINNATI -- Brandon Belt doesn't have to bash home runs every night to be effective at his job.

But a little bashing now and then doesn't hurt.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Win over Reds remains elusive for Lincecum

Win over Reds remains elusive for Lincecum

CINCINNATI -- Marlon Byrd provided three RBIs, with his solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning giving the Reds a 4-3 victory over the Giants on Thursday -- their third straight win.

Cincinnati was up, 3-2, in the eighth inning when Joe Panik hit a triple off reliever Tony Cingrani that landed near the left-field line and just out of the reach of a sliding Byrd. With the infield playing in, Panik scored the tying run on Angel Pagan's single, which lined off the glove of first baseman Joey Votto and into right field. In the bottom half, with Sergio Romo pitching with one out, Byrd hit a 1-1 slider into the left-field seats for his eighth homer of the season -- and sixth in 11 games.

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Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.