Go figure. Giants’ starter Matt Cain gave up five extra base hits, eight hits in total and four runs, in throwing just five innings. The Giants’ offense left 15 runners on base, managing to go just 2 for 19 with runners in scoring position. They also trailed 5-2 after six innings. And the G-men scored the go ahead run in the 12th inning on a throwing error, then held on to beat Arizona 6-5 last night at Chase Field, in a game that lasted 5 hours and 11 minutes.
The improbable win is the G-men’s fourth straight, as they moved to within four games of the Dodgers for first place in the NL West. “It was just a hard-fought game on both sides.” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We did a lot of good things. A lot of good things happened. The guys just fought hard. It was a great win.”
Once again, Hunter Pence played a key role in the victory, hitting a two-run homer to deep right-center field in the seventh inning, tying the score 5-5. It was Pence’s fourth home run on the year, in just 98 at bats, keeping pace with his career average of 23 homers per season. To illustrate Pence’s clutch hitting this year, his 22 RBIs would project to 132 if he had a typical 600 at bats this season. Yes, it will be critical for the Giants’ playoff run for Pence to remain healthy from here on out. He ended the day going 3 for 6, with a double, home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. Pence is now hitting .296 for the season. “You just see the ball and try to get a good swing on it,” the always humble Pence said.
Three other Giants tallied three hits a piece, as the Giants amassed 16 hits in total. Joe Panik went 3 for 6 with two runs scored, Matt Duffy went 3 for 7 with a double and run scored, and Brandon Crawford went 3 for 6, including two doubles, a RBI and run scored.
Boch was forced to use all nine relief pitchers last night, as the pen held the D-Backs to just one run over the last seven innings. Ryan Vogelsong was the ninth relief pitcher to throw, and he completed the final two innings, allowing two hits and a walk, while striking out two to earn the victory. Vogelsong was bumped out of the starting rotation and moved to the pen after the return of Matt Cain, Jake Peavy, and Tim Hudson from the disabled list. Vogey improved to 7-6 on the season in perhaps his “easiest” win of the year, his first win in relief in almost 10 years. “He probably thinks this is a little easier getting a win this way, ” Boch said. He goes two innings and gets a W.” Vogelsong added “It’s just a different beast down there (the bullpen). The adrenalin rush is just way different. It takes a little getting used to.”
The G-men are back at it tonight when Jake Peavy (0-4, 4.71) takes the mound against Chase Anderson (4-3, 3.91). Peavey has pitched well in his first two starts since returning from the DL, giving up just three earned runs in 13 ⅓ innings (2.03 ERA). “I feel a lot better,” Peavy said. Anderson has given up nine home runs over his last four starts. However, the Giants on this current roster are just 1 for 20 against him.
- Nori Aoki (recovering from a broken bone in his right leg) continues to perform “baseball activities,” including taking batting practice last night. His rehab assignment is still to be determined
- More roster decisions on the horizon: Tim Lincecum will be the only remaining pitcher on the DL, once Jeremy Affeldt returns to the roster next week. Affeldt pitched one scoreless inning with Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday night. Activating him to the 25 man roster will force Boch to make another tough roster decision. Jean Machi (1-0, 5.14), who had been so effective for the Giants over the past two years (10-2, 2.50), didn’t help himself last night, allowing a run on two hits in ⅔ of an inning. Machi has struggled all year. His impressive career WHIP of 1.12 is in sharp contrast to this year’s 1.49. Hitters are hitting .271 against him this year, versus .231 over his career. He’s also out of options, making a roster decision involving him extra difficult. Josh Osich (1-0, 0.00) who still has plenty of options, is another possibility. Boch could move him back to Triple-A Sacramento, since he essentially was filling Affeldt’s role as a short relief lefty. However, Osich has pitched extremely well since being called up, throwing 5 ⅔ inninngs in seven appearances, allowing no hits, no runs, two walks and striking out five. His WHIP you ask? A very impressive 0.35. If Boch sends him back down, look for Osich to get called up at some point later this year
- Craw made two outstanding defensive plays to get outs at third base. “He put on a show,” Boch said