The Giants have major injuries. They have players at less than full speed. They have rookies unexpectedly playing key roles — kids that their own GM expressly said were not ready for prime time. But they have cohesion in their ranks. And they have a manager who has MacGyvered his way through two Octobers. It took 13 innings over more than four hours, and it ended with rookie Andrew Susac breaking the tie and rookie Hunter Strickland recording his first career save. But the Giants held their ground, and gained some too, after a 5-2 victory at Dodger Stadium Monday night. [INSTANT REPLAY: Giants pull out 5-2 win over Dodgers in 13 ] “When you play that long, that tight a ballgame, in front of 53,000 people, I think they announced, most of them pulling against you, and squander opportunities late like we did when we felt we had a chance to get momentum, and stay as strong as we did and come back and get a win, that says a lot about these guys,” said Jake Peavy, who battled for the first seven innings. Yasiel Puig very nearly was the story of the night. It took a perfect throw from center field to throw out Brandon Belt trying to score on Brandon Crawford’s single in the 11 th inning. Puig made it on a fly. Catcher Drew Butera had to move his glove more on the pitches he caught. They had so many chances. The Dodgers bullpen allowed 11 hits in six innings. The Giants bullpen allowed zero in six innings. And their depth of talent allowed Bruce Bochy to use them appropriately. First it was Sergio Romo for an eight-pitch inning through the Dodgers’ 2-3-4 hitters. Then Jean Machi for two innings. Then Bochy eschewed his usual maxim – save your closer on the road in case you get a lead – and tapped Santiago Casilla for not one inning but a pair. Casilla ended both of them with double plays deftly turned by Crawford. Bochy knew he had Strickland in reserve, a right-hander who struck out 55 and walked four in 38 2/3 innings at Double A Richmond this season.  Even if the Dodgers knew about his 100 mph fastball, Bochy figured their bats would be too heavy to handle it. “This kid’s got the stuff and he’s tough mentally,” Bochy said of Strickland, whose rise to the closer role is a matter of when, not if. “You can tell he’s not afraid of anything. That made it easier to use Casilla, knowing I had him in my back pocket.” Meanwhile, you had to peer deep into Don Mattingly’s mind to make sense of his double-switches. At one point, he took out shortstop Hanley Ramirez and double-switched with the pitcher’s spot, which was due up first in the 11 th . Then he pinch-hit Joc Pederson anyway. While the Dodgers were summoning former Giant Kevin Correia, who has struggled since coming over in a trade, the Dodgers still had Strickland and Jeremy Affeldt in reserve. Tim Lincecum, too. Bochy’s maneuverings had much to do with their World Series titles in 2010 and 2012. He used three-fourths of his playoff rotation in Game 6 of the ’10 NLCS at Philadelphia, even though it wasn’t an elimination game. He is steady during most of the summer, a pelagic swimmer who does not allow panic or inadequacy to break the surface. When the days get short, though, he reacts. “Every game from here, we worry about tomorrow tomorrow,” Bochy said. The knock on Bochy is that he doesn’t trust young players. What to make of this roster, then? Susac is getting chances behind the plate and had the confidence to lash at a first-pitch curveball to win a game. Strickland changed the manager’s entire thinking of how he’d set up his bullpen. Joe Panik had three hits, all in the eighth inning or later, and off three different left-handed hitters. Matt Duffy won a game off the bench earlier on this trip in Arizona. Chris Dominguez, a six-year minor leaguer, got his second start in a row after hitting a home run Sunday in San Diego. The Giants are full of contributors who have endless tomorrows in front of them. And the veterans will protect them, along with each other. Peavy made that much clear when he plunked Puig with an 0-1 pitch in the first inning — apparent retaliation for Puig’s hard, late and wide slide on Brandon Crawford when the Dodgers were up 8-0 in a game Sept. 13. They still need more from the middle of their order, though. Pablo Sandoval could have put them in front three times in the late innings. He’s hitting .188 in September. Hunter Pence isn’t much better, at .194. Combined, they have five extra-base hits in 141 at-bats. They have questions in their rotation, too, beginning on Wednesday when they send a flagging Tim Hudson up against Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers still can clinch the division in front of their archrivals if they win behind Zack Greinke, a pitcher that the Giants have never beaten, and Kershaw, who is having a season straight out of 1968. At  3 ½ games back, the heavy odds remain that the Giants will enter the playoffs as an NL wild card team. They’ll have to nudge back in front of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who hold the tiebreaker, if they want to play the knockout game at home. Any combination of two Giants wins or Milwaukee Brewers losses will clinch a wild card spot for them, at least. But to hear Peavy talk, you’d think it were 1987 and the wild card remained an NFL invention. “We’re not giving up hope,” Peavy said. “Tomorrow’s a must-win. We know that. We’ll have to worry about the next day as well. We understand the situation we’re in. It’s not a good one. Big step tonight, though.” Belt took one, along with better swings while singling in his last two at-bats. And in the 13 th , because Susac was clever enough to hit the ball to Carl Crawford in left field and not Puig in center, Belt was able to score from second base. – Andrew Baggarly, CSN Bay Area

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Post info: By TheBrewCrew on September 23rd, 2014
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Since Francisco Liriano was hit hard by the Atlanta Braves last month, he’s been especially stingy. Looking to continue their playoff push, Liriano and the Pittsburgh Pirates open a season-ending seven-game road trip Monday night in Atlanta. Pittsburgh (84-71) climbed 4 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the second wild-card spot after taking two of three from the Brewers over the weekend. Russell Martin provided all the offense with an RBI single in the seventh inning in Sunday’s 1-0 victory, the Pirates’ 13th in 16 games.

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Post info: By TheBrewCrew on September 22nd, 2014
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Post info: By TheBrewCrew on September 22nd, 2014
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Unless they pull off a three-game sweep in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Giants likely won’t have enough to overtake the Dodgers in the NL West. The Giants, though, still have an excellent chance to join their rivals in the postseason and could clinch that spot with a couple more victories. Jake Peavy will try to push his club a step closer by winning a career-high fifth consecutive start Monday night in a stadium where he’s had lots of success in the past. Los Angeles (89-67) is 4 1/2 games ahead in the division after an 8-5 win at the Chicago Cubs on Sunday and San Francisco’s 8-2 loss in San Diego, which finished off a three-game sweep.

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Post info: By TheBrewCrew on September 21st, 2014
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The Brewers-Pirates rivalry has picked up in intensity this season as both teams vie for postseason positions out of the NL Central. Another layer was added to the feud on Saturday as Brewers starter Matt Garza was ejected for hitting Andrew McCutchen not once, but twice in five innings.  Of course, the bad blood really reached a boiling point all the way back on Mother’s Day, when Pirates’ starter Gerrit Cole confronted Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez for what he considered to be excessive showboating on a triple. The benches would clear on that afternoon, punches would be thrown (and landed) and four players ended up getting suspended , which planted the seeds for potential future hostility. It didn’t quite reach that level when the teams matched up again on Saturday, but it didn’t take long for the bad blood to start boiling. If not for the umpires taking charge and ejecting Garza, another ugly scene may have played out. The first hit-by-pitch actually seemed innocent enough. It happened on a 1-2 count with two outs and didn’t really scream intentional. The Pirates, though, are understandably fed up with McCutchen being hit so frequently this season. In the following inning, starter Edinson Volquez sent a reply by buzzing Ryan Braun. At that point, home-plate umpire Marty Foster stepped in to warn both benches, which would prove critical one inning later. With McCutchen at the plate again, another 1-2 count and two outs in the inning, Garza plunked him again with a fastball, this time on the elbow. As an isolated hit-by-pitch, it probably wouldn’t have looked so bad. In the context of Brewers-Pirates, it looked terrible. Foster had little choice but to eject Garza and consequentially Brewers manager Ron Roenicke due to his previous warning.

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Post info: By TheBrewCrew on September 21st, 2014
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When rosters expand in September, National League managers don’t have to save their backup catchers. The St. Louis Cardinals pinch-ran for Yadier Molina in the ninth inning, allowing Tony Cruz to put his stamp on the race to the postseason. ”Just taking it as it comes,” Cruz said after getting the winning hit in the 13th inning in the Cardinals’ 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night that moved St. Louis closer to its second straight NL Central title. ”Any way you can contribute is huge.” The defending National League champions took two of three in a tight series that featured only 12 runs and another game that lasted 12 innings.

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Post info: By TheBrewCrew on September 20th, 2014
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Russell Martin once played for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He now plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yet with one mighty swing on Friday night, he managed to improve the postseason outlooks for both. With Pittsburgh trailing by two runs in the eighth, Martin muscled up and delivered an opposite field three-run homer off another former Dodger, Jonathan Broxton, which sent the raucous PNC Park crowd into a frenzy, and gave Pittsburgh its first lead of the game. Neither Broxton or the collapsing Brewers would recover. Pittsburgh tacked on an insurance run in the inning and then wrapped up a 4-2 victory .

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Post info: By TheBrewCrew on September 20th, 2014
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Russell Martin hit a three-run homer off Jonathan Broxton in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates inched closer to a playoff berth with a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night. Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his 31st save as the Pirates moved 4 1/2 games in front of the Brewers for the second National League wild card spot with nine days left in the regular season. The Pirates have won a season-high five straight. Rickie Weeks hit his seventh homer for the Brewers and Yovani Gallardo struck out 11 in seven strong innings, but it all came undone in the bottom of the eighth.

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Post info: By TheBrewCrew on September 19th, 2014
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MIAMI (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton still needs to have five teeth fixed or replaced, along with a procedure to assess how much blood remains in his sinus cavity and will be understandably leery the next time he grabs a bat.

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Post info: By TheBrewCrew on September 18th, 2014
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