Flores hits game-ending, 2-run homer, Giants sweep Phillies

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN FRANCISCO – Carlos Rodon is hardly counting as his strikeouts pile up, even as the comparisons to Tim Lincecum keep coming.

Rodon reached the 200-strikeout mark for the first time in his career, then watched as Wilmer Flores hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to send the San Francisco Giants over the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 on Sunday for a three-game sweep.

The wild card-contending Phillies lost for the sixth time in seven games, wrapping up their weeklong trip to Arizona and San Francisco. Monday will mark the club’s first Labor Day off in 24 years, since 1998.

Yes, Rodon saw the scoreboard flash with the recognition of his 200 Ks. He struck out 10 over six scoreless innings.

“I’ve never done it, it’s a cool feat,” Rodon said, “but there’s a handful of games left so just keep going.”

He also tied two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Lincecum and Jason Schmidt for most double-digit strikeout performances over a single season in franchise history with nine.

Rookie Bryce Johnson, who got his first major league hit and RBI earlier in the game, drew a leadoff walk in the Giants ninth. David Robertson (3-2) struck out the next two batters before Flores hit his 17th home run.

J.T. Realmuto hit a tying, three-run homer in the Phillies eighth. Camilo Doval (5-6) pitched the ninth.

San Francisco had a chance in the eighth. LaMonte Wade Jr. singled with two outs off Robertson and Brandon Crawford walked to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Evan Longoria struck out swinging.

Wade broke up a scoreless game with a single in the fourth. Johnson’s RBI single capped a three-run inning, but the Giants bullpen couldn’t hold a 3-0 lead once Rodon exited.

Rodon bounced back from his first defeat in more than a month last Monday against San Diego. His nine double-digit strikeout games this season are a career best and match Angels star Shohei Ohtani for most in the majors.

“It doesn’t really tell the story of how good a player is but it certainly tells the story of how durable a player is,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “And Carlos inching towards the finish line, that complete season is really, you can see it, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And this is an indication that he’s really had a durable and consistent and very impressive overall season.”

The right-hander allowed five hits and walked two as San Francisco won its third straight following a seven-game losing streak. He heard the crowd support when he got through a tough sixth.

“We lost seven straight before,” the All-Star pitcher said. “It’s nice to still have fans in the stands.”

Realmuto connected for his 15th homer after the Phillies rallied against John Brebbia. Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper hit consecutive one-out singles.

Ranger Suarez was done after four innings for the Phillies and saw his winless stretch reach five starts since beating the Nationals on Aug. 6.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: RF Nick Castellanos went on the 10-day injured list in an expected move after he was injured on a swing Friday night here. An MRI exam revealed a mild right oblique strain, according to manager Rob Thomson. The move is retroactive to Saturday and Castellanos is expected to be back when eligible Sept. 13 and likely without playing in any minor league games. Regarded prospect INF/OF Dalton Guthrie was selected from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and will make his major league debut when he plays. … RHP Seranthony Dominguez, dealing with tendinitis in the triceps of his throwing arm, is scheduled to throw live batting practice Tuesday in Philadelphia after tossing a bullpen session Saturday. He could go on a rehab assignment from there.

Giants: 1B Brandon Belt was transferred to the 60-day injured list a day after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee. The procedure was performed by Dr. Ken Akizuki. Belt, who hit a career-high 29 home runs in San Francisco’s 107-win 2021 season that ended with an NL West title, is expected to be sidelined for 8 to 10 weeks. … OF Austin Slater, who dislocated his left pinkie finger Tuesday night, . “This is ultimately going to be a pain tolerance thing,” Kapler said. “He’s not at risk.”

ROSTER MOVE

The Phillies designated INF Luis Garcia for assignment to make room for Guthrie on the 40-man roster.

San Francisco claimed INF/OF Jose Rojas off waivers from the Angels and optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Following an off day Monday, RHP Aaron Nola (9-11, 3.43 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday night at home against the Marlins having gone 1-3 over his last four outings.

RHP Logan Webb (11-8, 2.89) tries again for his career-best 12th victory and to snap a three-start skid when he pitches the series opener at Dodger Stadium on Monday night.

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – Moments after Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost two decades after his final game, he got the question.

Asked if Barry Bonds belonged in Cooperstown, a smiling McGriff responded: “Honestly, right now, I’m going to just enjoy this evening.”

A Hall of Fame committee delivered its answer Sunday, passing over Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling while handing McGriff the biggest honor of his impressive big league career.

The lanky first baseman, nicknamed the “Crime Dog,” hit .284 with 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs over 19 seasons with six major league teams. The five-time All-Star helped Atlanta win the 1995 World Series.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot in 2019. Now, he will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the writers’ vote, announced Jan. 24.

“It’s all good. It’s been well worth the wait,” said McGriff, who played his last big league game in 2004.

It was the first time that Bonds, Clemens and Schilling had faced a Hall committee since their 10th and final appearances on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and support for Schilling dropped after he made hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

While the 59-year-old McGriff received unanimous support from the 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee – comprised of Hall members, executives and writers – Schilling got seven votes, and Bonds and Clemens each received fewer than four.

The makeup of the committee likely will change over the years, but the vote was another indication that Bonds and Clemens might never make it to the Hall.

This year’s contemporary era panel included Greg Maddux, who played with McGriff on the Braves, along with Paul Beeston, who was an executive with Toronto when McGriff made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1986.

Another ex-Brave, Chipper Jones, was expected to be part of the committee, but he tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall.

The contemporary era committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A player needs 75% to be elected.

“It’s tough deciding on who to vote for and who not to vote for and so forth,” McGriff said. “So it’s a great honor to be unanimously voted in.”

In addition to all his big hits and memorable plays, one of McGriff’s enduring legacies is his connection to a baseball skills video from youth coach Tom Emanski. The slugger appeared in a commercial for the product that aired regularly during the late 1990s and early 2000s – wearing a blue Baseball World shirt and hat.

McGriff said he has never seen the video.

“Come Cooperstown, I’ve got to wear my blue hat,” a grinning McGriff said. “My Tom Emanski hat in Cooperstown. See that video is going to make a revival now, it’s going to come back.”

Hall of Famers Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also served on this year’s committee, which met in San Diego at baseball’s winter meetings.

Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy rounded out the eight-man ballot. Mattingly was next closest to election, with eight votes of 12 required. Murphy had six.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their final chances with the BBWAA. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) on the 2021 BBWAA ballot. The right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 seasons, winning the World Series with Arizona in 2001 and Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Theo Epstein, who also served on the contemporary era committee, was the GM in Boston when the Red Sox acquired Schilling in a trade with the Diamondbacks in November 2003.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.