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2B Marco Scutaro took two cracks at the Giants' leadoff spot this week and failed miserably, going 0-for-9. Chances are he won't be called upon to do that again. Not that the Giants have a whole lot of other options. It's just that Scutaro was doing fine batting second, where he earned a spot on the All-Star team with an average that's hovered in the .320 range most of the season. It's down to .302 now after the leadoff experiment, prompting manager Bruce Bochy to give the 37-year-old the night off Wednesday. Scutaro is expected to return -- in the No. 2 spot -- in Thursday's series finale against the Brewers.
OF Jeff Francoeur has hit just .210 since joining the Giants last month. That's not very good, but it's great by comparison when placed alongside OF Gregor Blanco's .067 mark since the All-Star break and OF Andres Torres' .177 average since July 1. So when manager Bruce Bochy went looking for a center fielder to potentially add a little punch to the lineup Wednesday, he opted for Francoeur's offense over the far better defense of the other two candidates. The start in center field was his first as a Giant and just the seventh of his major league career, five of which came with his first team, the Atlanta Braves. Then again, the Braves had a good reason to give Francoeur only limited opportunities in center field. They had a guy named CF Andrew Jones patrolling those pastures for years. Francoeur went 0-for-3 in Wednesday's 6-1 loss to the Brewers. The Giants don't exactly employ a guy like Jones, so it's possible Francoeur will get another shot at center field soon.
RHP Yusmeiro Petit, designated for assignment by the Giants after the July 28 game, subsequently cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Fresno. Petit threw 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball in his lone outing for San Francisco.
RHP Tim Lincecum will make his first home start Thursday since the trade deadline came and went without a deal for the two-time Cy Young Award winner. How long Lincecum remains a Giant will be determined this offseason, when his contract expires. In the meantime, the right-hander will attempt to prove -- to the Giants as well as any potential suitor -- his future is as a starter. He's certainly looked the part in recent outings. He allowed only three earned runs over 14 innings in two starts that sandwiched last week's trade deadline. His career numbers against Thursday's foe, the Brewers, are mediocre: 3-3 with a 4.59 ERA in nine starts.
RF Hunter Pence batted leadoff for the first time in his Giants career in Wednesday's 6-1 loss to the Brewers. Given how San Francisco leadoff hitters have performed lately, it went predictably poorly. Pence went 0-for-4 in the game, meaning Giants leadoff men now have gone 22 consecutive at-bats without a hit. Chances are Pence will get another shot Thursday because, well, manager Bruce Bochy's options are limited. The Giants have tried OF Gregor Blanco, OF Andres Torres and 2B Marco Scutaro in the leadoff spot since CF Angel Pagan got injured in May. None has done even an adequate job.
LHP Madison Bumgarner wasn't just a hard-luck loser Wednesday. He was denied a small piece of Giants history because of one bad inning. Bumgarner was attempting to become the first Giants pitcher in 44 years to pitch at least seven innings and give up no more than three runs in 10 consecutive starts. He appeared well on his way with seven shutout innings. However, the eighth went about as poorly as possible, as his own throwing error contributed to a four-run Brewers uprising that helped produce a 6-1 Giants defeat. The Giants weren't credited with any other errors in the inning, but LF Roger Kieschnick just missed a double by Brewers INF Yuniesky Betancourt that helped set the stage for the flurry of runs. Also Giants SS Brandon Crawford failed to get an out on a routine grounder, double-clutching a throw on what was generously ruled a hit by Brewers INF Jeff Bianchi. Bumgarner has now lost three of his last four starts despite pitching well enough to win them all.