That’s different: Eighth-inning rally gets Giants a rare, series win over the Indians

July 19, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants


San Francisco Giants’ Conor Gillaspie, right, is congratulated by Gorkys Hernandez after scoring against the Cleveland Indians during the eighth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Tuesday night, the Giants walked off with a win, and walked into a hearty celebration. Wednesday afternoon, the Giants engineered a successful, late inning comeback, and resigned the Panda.

That’s changing the narrative.

In a season so disappointing any true momentum shift would likely involve Mays, McCovey and both Bonds in a Field of Dreams: SF television pilot scenario, the sad-sack Giants will likely have to do with far less.

They appeared to get that in their last two wins over the AL Central-leading Indians. Buster Posey’s two-run, pinch-hit double in the eight inning propelled the Giants to a 5-4 win and a rare, series victory.

“It’s big,” Brandon Crawford said. “We obviously want to have a good, second half. The first half didn’t go the way we wanted, obviously. It’d be nice to turn that around and winning two, close games where we had to come from behind against a good team that’s a good start, definitely.”

The trends the Giants bucked in winning Wednesday were numerous, enough to prompt most to drive to Vegas in a triple-digit heat looking to cash in on all the abnormalities. The Giants had been a major league worst in day games (11-24), a bust when trailing late (6-51 when trailing after seven innings), and a zero when Matt Cain starts (seven, consecutive losses).

Posey hadn’t been productive in his infrequent turns as a pinch-hit either, but that didn’t keep the All-Star catcher from sending reliever Bryan Shaw’s 3-2 offering off the left field wall scoring Conor Gillaspie and Crawford with the deciding runs. Shaw had to live with getting beat on a slider, something other than his best pitch, and Posey got to exault in helping the club on his scheduled day of rest.

“My pinch-hitting numbers are not very good, but it’s nice to come through,” Posey said.

The Giants won a series against an American League opponent for the first time in more than a year. Cain did his part by pitching six innings, allowing three runs. Denard Span contributed a homer and a double, and Crawford had two hits and a run scored while hitting cleanup.

The Indians post-All Star break week in the Bay Area ended poorly as the team won once in six tries and escaped with their division lead almost all but wiped out. The reoccurring theme of bullpen games, and narrow losses wasn’t lost on manager Terry Francona.

“When you’re playing games like this where every run is so magnified, we have to play clean baseball. I don’t think our bullpen can’t handle it. I just think we have to play the game in all areas,” Francona said.

In a surprise announcement, the Giants confirmed the signing of Pablo Sandoval to a minor league contract, giving the Panda an opportunity to resurrect his career starting at Triple-A Sacramento after he was let go by the Red Sox despite the $49.5 million left on his contract.

On Thursday, the Giants open a four-game set against the Padres with Madison Bumgarner facing San Diego’s Jhoulys Chacin.


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