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Breaking even, losing ground


Breaking even, losing groundFor a guy who hit into a triple play, Aaron Rowand had a fairly positive outlook after Sunday's 2-1 loss to Milwaukee, which ended in the 12th inning when Prince Fielder put the Giants out of their misery with a home run off Merkin Valdez.

Fielder's drive down the right-field line ended a 3-3 trip for the Giants . Normally, teams shoot for .500 on the road, but this even-Steven trip stings because the pitching staff allowed a total of nine runs in the six games and the Giants dropped two games in the standings to wild-card leading Colorado.

Did anyone really think the Mets and Diamondbacks were going to help the Giants in Denver?

"Considering the fact we played in Philly and came here, where we typically don't do all that well ... obviously, we could have done a lot better. But when you look at the bigger picture and the two teams we had to go up against, it's not a total loss," Rowand said.

"Everybody feels we should have won a couple more games, but this is not the time of year to say 'what if.' You can't. You have to look forward. There's no room for dwelling on stuff. You've got to concentrate on the next day. You can't worry about the games you lost. You've got to worry about the games you're going to win."

The Giants get their next chance in a hurry with today's matinee, Brad Penny's first home start for the team. Freddy Sanchez is expected to rejoin the lineup. Perhaps he can add a dynamic that will help the Giants out of their offensive depression.

The three games they lost on the trip were 1-0, 2-1 and 2-1, none more frustrating than Sunday's. The Giants had 10 hits and four walks but scored once, when Eugenio Velez led off the game with a double and scored on a single by Pablo Sandoval, who entered in a 1-for-19 funk.

So many opportunities were wasted, none more dramatically than the sixth inning, which began with singles by Randy Winn and Ryan Garko against Braden Looper. Up stepped Rowand, who hit a bouncer up the third-base line.

Casey McGehee was playing there. He took two steps to his right and gloved the ball while on the bag. He quickly fired to Felipe Lopez at second to force Garko. Lopez spun and threw to Fielder at first a half-step ahead of Rowand to complete the first triple play against the Giants in 11 years.

Rowand's thoughts as he hit the ball?

"I'm thinking, 'Run,' " he said. "I knew what was going on. He was playing right there and he got a nice candy hop right there on the bag."

The Giants also put the first two runners aboard in the 10th for Juan Uribe. Even though he is the team's hottest hitter, manager Bruce Bochy, perhaps with the triple play still in the back of his mind, had Uribe try to sacrifice. Uribe bunted in the air behind the plate and catcher Jason Kendall made a great running, lunging catch.

"We had some good hitters lined up," Bochy said in explaining the bunt call. "We wanted to get them in scoring position. It's something Juan has been asked to do before, get the bunt down. We were going to take one shot at it. He would have been swinging away after that."

Pinch-hitter Bengie Molina then flied out and Travis Ishikawa struck out, ending the Giants' last good chance to win a game in which Jonathan Sanchez and the bullpen - including Valdez - excelled for 11 innings before Fielder's homer ended it.

Valdez struck out Ryan Braun to start the 12th when he then threw Fielder a knee-high, inside slider, which was supposed to be in the dirt. Fielder dropped the barrel of the bat and homered to end the game - and a trip that could have gone much worse, but could have been much better.

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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 7, 2009

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