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The Giants have come a long way since their first road-series of the seaosn, in which they were swept by these Dodgers in LA. With Tim Lincecum on the mound, the Giants completed their second straight series victory over the Dodgers, and indeed, have shown that they are a much different team than the one that started the season.
It's no secret that the Giants struggle to score consistently. They're ranked last in the NL in runs scored, despite the fact that they're 2 games above .500. The reason  why they are where they are is simple; they can flat out pitch, as evident by another series win, despite scoring just 6 runs in 3 games. Tim Lincecum didn't have his best stuff Sunday, but his 6 innings pitched, 8 k's and 3 earned runs on 6 hits marked his fifth straight quality start and certainly good enough to win. Lincecum left the game with the Giants down a run in the seventh, and the pressure was on the Giants' bats in order for him to avoid an L and the bats answered the bell. It took a couple extra innings to do it, but the Giants defeated the Dodgers on a 13th inning, 2-run single by Randy Winn. The Giants' right-fielder was really the offensive standout as he went 4-6 with 2 RBI and 4 runs scored. However, it was the bullpen that held on strong and gave the Giants the chance to win it after Lincecum departed. Brandon Medders, Jeremy Affeldt, Merkin Valdez, Bob Howry and Brian Wilson combined for seven innings of five-hit, one-run ball. It got a little scary at times, as both Medders and Wilson pitched through some trouble, but the Giants bullpen ultimately got the job done. Something that has been happening with a lot of consistency this year.
After taking two of three in LA and splitting two in Chicago, the Giants have to feel pretty good about their road trip. The bright spot from the trip was the team's young second basemen, Emmanuel Burris. Manny had a tremendous road trip, going 12-24 with 3 steals and 3 runs scored and saw his average rise from .211 to .286. The 23 year-old speedster also leads  the team with 9 stolen bases in 12 attempts. Needless to say, Burriss has righted himself this May, and has silenced all the "bring of Frandsen" talk that was starting to surface at the end of April. Unfortunately the same didn't happen for Travis Ishikawa. The 25 year-old first-basemen had 10 official at-bats on the road trip and didn't have anything to show for them. Ishikawa has been struggling mightily since the season began and it's really weighing down the offense. Bochy had a short leash with him in Sunday's game, removing him in favor of Rich Aurilia in a spot where he felt the Giants needed a boost offensively. The Giants have also made it clear that they are looking for more out of that spot in the order and they may entertain moving Pablo Sandoval to first base full time and letting Juan Uribe man third for a while. I personally would like to see Jesus Guzman (.316 with 6 home runs and 23 RBI and only one fielding error in 30 games). He's been playing a lot of first base and has handled it well, but a potential corner infield of Sandoval and Guzman wouldn't be the strongest defensive bunch in the league. It's obvious that his bat is major league ready, or at least ready to be major league tested. The former A's and Rangers farmhand has been in pro ball for a while, but the 24 year-old is still looking for his first big league at-bat. If he keeps hitting the ball the way he has, it should come sooner than later.
Down On The Farm: Tim Alderson, the supplemental pick in the 2007 draft for the Giants, officially arrived in AA on Sunday. The organization's second-best pitching prospect threw a gem on Sunday in his AA debut, only allowing a walk and a runner to reach base via error in 7+ dominant innings. It was nice to see too because Alderson wasn't dominating this year at San Jose the way he did in '08 and seeing him throw his best game of the year in his first outing at the AA level was definitely reassuring... The Giants' top pitching prospect, Madison Bumgarner, gets his first taste of AA on Monday night.
Trevor Cole The San Francisco Giants Blog