Let the streaks continue. With a 6-0 victory over San Diego last night, the Giants have now won five straight games, including eight straight at home, and have shut out opponents for three consecutive games. And last night we saw Ryan Vogelsong, the All-Star pitcher that returned from the baseball ashes in 2011. The win also moved the G-men above .500, at 14-13, and into second place in the NL West, a half game ahead of the Padres.
Vogey came into last night’s game with an ERA of 9.31, coming off of a horrendous start against the Dodgers last Wednesday, when he gave up four home runs. So what did he differently to prepare for this outing, a start that potentially could have been his last for a while? “I just kind of hit the reset button,” he said. Vogelsong credited work and time spent over the past few days with pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen coach Mark Gardner, and he also shaved off his beard. “I told you guys I didn’t know how long that (the beard) was going to be around, but I figured after you give up four homers in a game it was probably time to go,” he said.
Vogelsong pitched seven innings, allowing just three hits and two walks, while striking out four, earning his first victory of the season. Vogey was never threatened, except in the sixth inning when the Padres loaded the bases with two outs. He got Derek Norris to ground out to Matt Duffy to end that threat. We’ve seen this before from Vogey, in the regular and post-season, pitching at his best with his back against the wall. Manager Bruce Bochy was still supporting Vogelsong after last week’s horrendous start and struggles this season. But you had to figure that Bochy’s patience was running thin, and that with another poor outing it was quite possible that he could have been moved to the bullpen. Bochy (and the entire Giants’ fan base) was relieved and thrilled for Vogelsong. “That’s vintage Vogey. We’ve seen him do this so many times here. Good for him. I was happy for him to come back after a rough start and throw like that.”
Offensively, the Giants knocked 10 hits, including three extra base hits, and took advantage of two San Diego errors to score six runs. This was the most runs scored by the G-men since a 6-2 win over the Dodgers on April 21st. Highlights were Joe Panik’s second home run of the season, Matt Duffy going 2 for 4 while starting for Casey McGehee at third, and Brandon Crawford continuing his hot hitting by going 3 for 3 with a double, two runs scored and a RBI. Craw raised his batting average to .262 and continues to lead the team in RBI (15) and several other offensive categories. And Brandon Belt continues to show flashes of coming around, doubling for the third consecutive game. He’s 4 for 10 over his last three games, with a RBI and three runs scored.
The Giants wrap up the three game set this afternoon, as they go for back to back series sweeps, six straight wins, and nine straight wins at home. Rookie phenom Chris Heston (2-2, 2.51 ERA) will try to extend the Giants’ pitching streak of 27 consecutive scoreless innings as he opposes Padres’ starter Ian Kennedy. Kennedy sports a 7.11 ERA as he’s been trying to round back into form after an early season stint on the disabled list. The G-men hope to take advantage of that and get into the San Diego bullpen early in this one.