SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants already have one of the league's elite closers, and the way Sergio Romo has been throwing lately, they may also have one of the game's top setup men.Romo threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings in Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Cubs and now has blanked the opposition in 31 of his past 34 games. "He's done a great job in that setup role and to go out and throw an inning-plus like he did last night, he's been throwing well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before Thursday's series finale against the Cubs. "He's very consistent and solid." Romo (5-3, 2.11 ERA) entered Thursday tied with closer Brian Wilson with a team-leading 48 appearances. The 27-year-old reliever has struck out at least one batter in 37 of his 48 games, totaling 49 punchouts while issuing only 10 walks. His 4.90 strikeout-to-walk ratio is seventh-best among National League relievers. Even when Romo was struggling earlier this season, Bochy said the ability Romo's now showing was evident. "He's got great makeup, can command the ball and he has no fear," Bochy said. "He wants to be out there late in the ballgame and he's got three good pitches that he can throw anytime."
Torres rests with tightness in his legs
SAN FRANCISCO -- Andres Torres received a day off in Thursday's series finale against the Cubs because of tightness in his legs after skipper Bruce Bochy decided he didn't want to take a chance on his regular leadoff hitter experiencing further discomfort.Bochy said Torres was available off the bench. "We didn't want to risk pulling anything," Bochy said before Thursday's game. "I just think there's some risk involved with the tightness, but he's got today and he'll be fine tomorrow." After stealing third in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 5-4 win, Torres got up slowly and took longer than usual to regroup. Entering Thursday, Torres had played in 104 of the Giants' 115 games, hitting .290 with 11 homers, 46 RBIs and 23 stolen bases.
Struggling Sanchez still shines on defense
SAN FRANCISCO -- Last road trip, Freddy Sanchez declared 2010 his worst personal season in the Major Leagues because of his hitting struggles.The numbers back up that claim, as Sanchez's .255 average entering Thursday is well below his career average of .295. But while Sanchez has struggled at the plate, in the field, he's been as smooth as ever. In 71 games (624 1/3 innings), Sanchez has committed zero errors -- one of only two National League second basemen to do so -- while making both the routine plays and numerous run-saving plays seemingly every night. "What I like about what Freddy's doing is he's separating his struggles offensively with his defense and he's focused out there and made some great plays," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'd put him up there as one of the better second basemen in the league." Already a batting champion, Sanchez could conceivably be mentioned in the NL Gold Glove conversation at the end of the season, although missing the first 35-plus games of the season while rehabbing will hurt his chances. The 2009 and 2007 winner, Orlando Hudson, now is in the American League, but the 2008 winner, Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips, remains. What would make any potential recognition for Sanchez's defense even more impressive is Sanchez being able to block out his offensive struggles while in the field. "This game can beat on you a little bit when you're not getting your hits and struggling offensively, but you do have to have that ability to separate the two," Bochy said. "That's something we do preach around here is you can have a good game without getting a base hit, and Freddy's done that."
With Andres Torres out with tightness in his legs Thursday, Aaron Rowand started in center and batted leadoff. On Wednesday, Rowand hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, before Pat Burrell hit the eventual game-winner in the eighth. Afterward, Burrell raved about Rowand for his professionalism while seeing his playing time decrease. "It's always difficult for someone like him, who was an everyday player, someone you can count on, and to be in a situation right now where we're all kind of trying to fight for playing time," Burrell said. "To see him come up big there was huge. ... Hopefully he'll continue to swing the bat well." ... Giants starting pitchers have not registered a win in the past eight games. ... Matt Cain, Thursday's starter, entered the game having not allowed an earned run against the Cubs since Aug. 23, 2007. That run was driving in by Mike Fontenot, whom the Giants acquired from the Cubs on Wednesday.
Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.