Giants Notes: Defense Provides Boost During Playoff Chase

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants arrived late again Friday, with Bruce Bochy giving his team another day without BP. It worked yesterday, so why change it? 

The demise of BP was not the reason the Giants won Thursday, though. Johnny Cueto gets most of the credit, but there was another key last night. The Giants played solid defense -- with Brandon Crawford veering toward spectacular a couple times -- and the Cardinals kicked the ball around a bit. Crawford caught a liner that was similar to one that just got past Jhonny Peralta for a double. Peralta also dropped a long throw from right that should have nailed Buster Posey. 

It's been a theme for the Giants throughout this second half. As bad as things have been, this skid could have been much, much worse. Imagine if the Giants added poor defense to the current menu of "lack of homers and clutch hits" and "a blown save just about every other night." Over the past month, the Giants have just one error in 261 2/3 innings -- a pop-up that Brandon Belt dropped at Wrigley Field. They don't have an error over their past 11 games. 

"That's what's really been a positive through some of these games where we've had struggles," manager Bruce Bochy said. "If they're not putting the effort or drifting mentally, it's going to show on defense. It always does. It tells you the character of these guys. They are putting forth all that effort."

--- Speaking of defense, Gregor Blanco could be activated soon to provide an extra glove and some speed off the bench. Blanco is cleared physically, but there's no easy way for the Giants to get him the at-bats he needs to get back up to speed. The minor league season is over and Blanco will at some point need to face some spare Giants arms during a live batting practice session. 

--- Buster Posey won't get much rest down the stretch, but Bochy is currently planning to give him a day off Sunday. 

--- Bochy stuck with the same lineup. "I'm not going to change it after last night," he said. "It doesn't mean (Denard Span) will always hit eighth. I'll go as these guys go with where they hit. These guys have got to buy into it, and what's important was that Denard didn't let it get him down. He went out there and put together a nice game."

--- The Cubs clinched last night thanks to the result at AT&T Park. They waited until today to celebrate.

"That's a pretty early clinch, isn't it?" Bochy said. "I think any manager would take that every year."

Joe Maddon will now spend two weeks answering the "how do you stay sharp question." Bochy said he's a bit envious.

"I would look forward to that being the question over this one: 'Is this a big series or a big game?' That's been brought up a few times," he said. 

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