Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"The baseball Lazarus rose up again Wednesday"

That's some fine deadline writing from Andrew Baggarly at the Mercury-News....


Ryan Vogelsong ended April as a bearded, 37-year-old spot starter and long reliever with a 9.31 ERA.


One of these years, he might run out of comebacks. Not yet.
The baseball Lazarus rose up again Wednesday, battling and subduing the Milwaukee Brewers over six innings. Joe Panik hit a two-run home run in the fifth, and the Giants won 3-1 to sweep a three-game series at Miller Park.
The Giants went 5-2 on a draining trip, managing to make hay despite seeing very little sun. Vogelsong wielded the scythe, stepping into two softball beer gardens (Coors Field and Miller Park) and yielding just one run over 12 innings.




"Well, not just me," Vogelsong said. "The rest of the guys were great. This is one of the tougher ones I've ever been involved with, to have a doubleheader in Colorado with all the rain delays and come here with two day games. For us to come out 5-2 really, really shows what this team is made of, and everybody should be proud of what we were able to make of this road trip."


A clean shave brought a clean start for Vogelsong. He finished May with a 4-0 record and 1.14 ERA in five starts. He held opponents to a .184 average. The Giants eventually hope to fold Jake Peavy and Matt Cain back into the rotation, but the way it stands now, Vogelsong (4-2) won't be the one to yield.



He was his unyielding self against the Brewers, content to win the chess match with a king and two pawns on the board. He worked deep counts and refused to give in with runners on base, striking out Ryan Braun and Adam Lind after Khris Davis hit a one-out triple in the first inning.
Davis tripled again to start the fourth when right fielder Hunter Pence fanned on a leaping attempt at the wall. Once again, the Brewers failed to score him. Braun fouled out to Pence and Lind followed with a ground ball to first base. Davis hesitated before breaking for home, Brandon Belt made an accurate throw to the plate, and Buster Posey applied the tag.


The Brewers managed to push across a run when Aramis Ramirez and Elian Herrera hit consecutive two-out singles. But Vogelsong kept mixing his pitches to get weak contact.
"While it's going on you're just trying to minimize the damage," Vogelsong said. "But when you get that last out and keep them from scoring, to be able to do it, it definitely helped to set the tone for the day and gave us momentum going forward."
Vogelsong hadn't thrown more than 99 pitches all season and his count stood at 94 when his turn in the order came up in the sixth inning. Manager Bruce Bochy allowed Vogelsong to bat, and the move paid off. Vogelsong worked an efficient sixth inning and got Ramirez to ground into a double play to end a day's labor.
"It's good to see him get stretched out and maintain his stuff the way he did," Bochy said. "There's times he had his struggles, but he finds a way to right the ship. He's got that great focus that you like, and he's got his stuff back. He's throwing 91, 92, his curve is better, his changeup is better. He's a four-pitch guy with command right now."
The Giants lacked a clutch hit in the early innings against right-hander Mike Fiers, who started on short rest because the Brewers put Wily Peralta on the disabled list. But they broke through in the fifth after former Brewer Nori Aoki singled for his ninth hit in three games here. Panik, the No. 2 hitter, did better than get the runner over. He sent a two-run shot into the Giants bullpen for his third homer of the season.


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