In a classic pitcher’s duel, the Giants outlasted the Miami Marlins and finally prevailed, 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, when Matt Duffy singled with the bases loaded to end the torture. It was the fourth walk-off win for the G-men this season. Although the Giants sent seven batters to the plate in the ninth inning, and most all contributed to the game winning run, this victory was mostly about the pitching of Ryan Vogelsong.
With the Giants’ offense struggling against Marlins’ starter Mat Latos, it was imperative that Vogey pitch well, to keep the G-men in the game. And for the second consecutive start, he did just that, holding Miami to one run on four hits (no walks), while striking out five over seven innings. That’s two consecutive quality starts for Vogey, as he shut down the Padres in his last start, also going seven innings, allowing just three hits and no runs in that one. He has lowered his ERA from 9.31 to 5.67 over his last two starts, showing toughness and the ability to bounce back from adversity. These are traits that exemplify Vogey’s career, as he’s know as a true warrior amongst his teammates.”He’s kind of the unsung hero through all of this,” Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy said. “Seven solid innings. Really, great job by Vogey. Just carried over how he threw his last start. Had a really good breaking ball, I thought today. Used his fastball well in and out. He kept us in the game because we couldn’t figure out Latos.”
Offensively, the Giants managed to accumulate 10 hits, but once again didn’t do well with runners in scoring position, going just 2 for 7, while leaving nine runners on base. Duffy in fact, was 0 for 4 as he came to bat in the bottom of the ninth. But this was different – the game was on the line. Duffy has made the most of his at bats this season with 10 RBI in 66 at-bats. “You can really use him in critical situations because he’s such a tough-nosed ballplayer and he wants to be up there with the game on the line, Bochy said.” Gregor Blanco dedicated this Mother’s Day game to his late mother, who lost her battle with cancer in 2006. He used a pink bat to knock two doubles in going 3 for 4 on the day, and scored the winning run.”I was just going to believe in my pink bat,” Blanco said. “It’s really important for me. It’s a day that I devote to my mom. I give appreciation to her for days like this and the way she fought through cancer.” Brandon Belt continued his hot hitting, going 2 for 4 with an RBI, raising his average to .306 on the season. And Nori Aoki, “Mr. Consistency,” went 2 for 4 as well with a walk, RBI and run scored.
Sergio Romo followed Vogey to start the eighth inning, and that’s when things got interesting. In his one inning of work, Romo allowed two hits, walked a batter, struck out two, and allowed the go ahead run on a passed ball. Jeremy Affeldt faced just two hitters in the ninth, giving up a walk and a single and recording an out when Justin Maxwell threw out Christian Yelich who had tried to score on a Michael Morse single. Santiago Casilla retired both batters he faced to qualify for the win, and is now 4-0 on the year, with a 1.88 ERA.
The G-men, who finished the successful home stand with a 7-3 record, are off today, traveling to Houston for a two game set starting tomorrow night. The Giants will send Chris Heston (2-3, 3.38 ERA) to the mound to face Collin McHugh (4-0, 3.23) at Minute Maid Park. McHugh currently holds the longest active winning streak in the big leagues, having won 11 straight dating back to July of last year. This will be Heston’s first start against the Astros. The Astros have started off strong this season, leading the AL West by five games with a 20-12 record. However, they’ve cooled off a bit over their past 10 games, going 5-5, and they’re just 8-8 at home. The Giants, now at 16-16, remain five games behind the Dodgers who have won three straight and 8 of their last 10. After two games in Houston, the Giants will start a four game series in Cincinnati on Thursday, against the Reds, before heading home for a short three game home stand against the Dodgers. It will be important for the Giants to continue to play well on this road trip, hopefully gaining some ground on L.A. in the process.