Three home runs powers Giants past Padres, 7-3

By Gabe Schapiro

On Friday night, a sellout crowd of 41,103, the 244th consecutive sellout at AT&T Park, went home happy. Thanks to an unusual display of power in a park where it’s hard to come by, the San Francisco Giants (75-85), came away with a 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres (75-85). Ryan Vogelsong, making his final start of 2013, wasn’t at his best, but he battled all night and limited the damage. With the win, and a Colorado Rockies loss, the Giants are guaranteed to finish in no worse than fourth place in the NL West.

In what proved to be a good omen, prior to the game the Willie Mac Award, named after the great Willie McCovey and annually given to the Giant who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership that Big Mac played with, was deservedly awarded to Hunter Pence. Thankfully San Francisco didn’t spoil what from the get-go was a positive environment.

Following the ceremony and a slightly delayed start, it took some time for Vogelsong to settle in. Right out of the gate the Padres were making hard contact, and in the first inning they got on the board with a solid single to left field by Tommy Medica that brought home Chris Denorfia, who had singled earlier in the inning.

In the second inning San Francisco made some noise of their own. Pablo Sandoval took a rare walk, and then two batters later rookie Juan Perez got a hold of one and sent a 1-1 pitch just over the left field wall for his first career home run. The homer gave the Giants a 2-1 lead.

After the game Bochy complimented how well Perez has adjusted to life in the major leagues following his first big league long ball. “He’s really turned it up a notch here, he’s played great on both sides of the ball. He looks a lot more comfortable at the plate, he’s quieter up there…the ball jumps off his bat. I’m glad to see him get that sense of belonging up here.”

San Diego wasted little time in responding. Denorfia walked to lead off the next half inning, and as walks so often do, it came back to hurt Vogelsong. Up next was Jedd Gyorko, who sent a towering fly ball towards triples alley that smacked off of the right field wall. Gyorko was thrown out trying to turn it into a triple, but Denorfia easily scored from first to tie the game at 2-2.

In the top of the third it only took the Giants three pitches to punch right back. Abreu singled to lead off the inning, and Brandon Belt followed with his 17th home run of the season, a no-doubter into the porch in right field. Two batters later Pence got in on the slugfest, and to celebrate his Willie Mac Award in style hit his 26th homer of the season, extending the lead to 5-2.

After the third, for the most part both starters settled down, until the sixth.

In the top of the sixth Vogelsong ran into some control problems, walking two, but managed to gut his way through the inning unscathed. With that his night was over having scattered five hits, two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts in his six innings. He threw 91 pitches.

On Vogelsong Bochy kept it simple, saying that after the game ““I just told him great job, great start. Good for him how he finished….I was happy for Vogey bouncing back from a rough start like that.”

By the ninth the Giants had added two more runs to their lead, making it 7-2. In the ninth the Padres tried making it interesting when Logan Forsythe led off with a long home run to dead center, bringing them to within four, but that’s where the comeback attempt ended.

This series against the Padres, the last of the season, continues tomorrow at 1:05 PM.

Game Notes: Following the three home runs hit by the Giants tonight, they have 105 on the season, two more than they did during their World Series run in 2012….Gregor Blanco almost hit for an usual kind of cycle, getting himself thrown out at first, second, and home plate during the game. Bochy announced that Cain would not make his last scheduled start, making his 2013 season over as well.

Pagan plays hero again, 11th inning hit gives the Giants a walk-off win

By Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. – In the iconic words of Han Solo, “Never tell me the odds!” On Star Wars day at AT&T Park, the Giants were able to hold off on elimination from playoff contention today by beating the Diamondback 3-2 with a bottom of the eleventh walk-off single by hero Angel Pagan. Javier Lopez was credited with the win bringing his record to 3-2 and the Diamondbacks Joe Thatcher was given the loss to bring him to the same record of 3-2.

Going up against Diamondbacks pitcher Joe Thatcher with the score tied at 2, Hector Sanchez grounded a leadoff single to left field to start the Giants eleventh inning rally. To add some speed to the bags, Giants manager Bruce Bochy put in pinch-runner Ehrie Adrianza in his first major league appearance. Gregor Blanco followed with sacrifice-bunt attempt to help move Adrianza over to second however instead of going for the sure out at first, Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero threw to second base and wasn’t able to get Adrianza and Blanco reach first safely. Pagan then came up and knocked a 1-1 four-seam fastball to left field that Willie Bloomquist tried to relay in but if was off-line and Adrianza was able to slide in safely.

On scoring his first run in the big leagues, Adrianza said that “I was a little nervous out there but I tried to be in control and win the game.” Adrianza has been in the Giants farm league since 2006 and has 107 stolen bases to his credit, so the speed is there. Speaking on Adrianza, Bruce Bochy said “I’m going to have to try and find a spot for him. It’s good to have him out there.”

Madison Bumgarner who was looking for his first win since August 2nd threw 6.0-scoreless innings, allowing just four hits with nine strikeouts. Bumgarner struck out 5-straight Diamondbacks, tying the most consecutive strikeouts in his career. On his quick outing and performance Bumgarner said, “You want to stay out there but it’s their (the managers) job to look at the big picture and ours to look at today. I felt pretty good out there.” On him not getting the decision, Bumagarner continued, “it doesn’t matter if I get the win or not, all the starters are trying to do is eat up some innings and give us the chance to win.”

The Giants were able to get on the board first when in the bottom of the fourth Hector Sanchez hit a line single to right field that brought in Tony Abreu who walked to start off the inning. A few batters later on a wild pitch to Juan Perez, Buster Posey came in to score to make it a 2-0 Giants lead. In the eighth, Arizona tallied their two runs on a sacrifice fly from Eric Chavez and on a single from A.J. Pollock who brought in Adam Eaton to tie the game at 2.
The turning point of the game came in the top of the 10th when a call was turned over by umpire Ron Kulpa. Arizona had runners on first and second with two outs when Aaron Hill hit an easy grounder to Buster Posey at first which took a weird bounce and hit Posey in the chest. Giants pitcher George Kontos who was sprinting over to first to cover the bag was able to get there in time but Hill was initially called safe. After a brief conference by all four umpires, Kulpa changed the call and called Hall out. Understandably Arizona head coach Kirk Gibson went out to argue the call was then thrown out of the game, his fourth time this year. That momentum from the overturned call and the manager ejection gave the Giants the motivation they needed to ended the game as soon as possible and Angel Pagan was happy to deliver.

“They (the Diamondbacks) came back to tie the game in the eighth. If the game gets away from you after having the lead, it’s disheartening, but when you win it’s huge,” said Bochy on the win.

The Giants hope to continue their winning ways tomorrow when they face the Colorado Rockies at home. The Rockies send Jhoulys Chacin (13-8) to the mound while the Giants put Tim Lincecum (9-13) up to battle. Game time 7:15pm.

Giants take advantage of Brewers mistakes, win 4-2

by Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. — On a day billed as a Grateful Dead Tribute Night that saw Bob Weir throw out the first pitch and plenty of tie dyed shirts throughout AT&T Park, the magic was certainly in the air as a plethora of mistakes by the Brewers (47-65) were able to propel the Giants (50-61) to a 4-2 win and give them their first win of this important seven-game homestand.

The Giants started the scoring off in the bottom of the fourth when Gregor Blanco came to the plate and hit a hard grounder to first base that Juan Francisco was able to field but threw the ball into the dirt past an outstretched Scooter Gennett and went into left field. Brandon Belt who was already on second was running on contact and was able to score safely on the Francisco’s fifth error of the year to give the Giant’s a 1-0 lead. In the seventh inning, the Brew Crew were able to tie the game when Francisco hit a deep ball to center field that popped over the fence for a ground rule double and scored Jonathan Lucroy who had started off the inning with his 18th double of the year.

The bottom of the eight proved to be the most mind-bending inning for the Brewers as after a lead off walk and a stolen base to Hunter Pence landed him at second base, the usually reliable John Axford threw a wild pitch on an intentional walk to Pablo Sandoval that moved Pence over to third and Sandoval at first with one out. The pitching miscue landed Axford in the doghouse and the Brewers brought in reliever Michael Gonzalez to face red hot Brandon Belt who had three singles on the day. After bringing Belt to a full count, Gonzalez threw a slider in the dirt that loaded the bases.

The next batter Jeff Francouer, who was pinch-hitting for Roger Kieschnick smacked a broken bat single off of new Brewer reliever Rob Wooten to left field just over the reach of Jean Segura and allowed Hunter Pence to score from third and give the Giants a 2-1 lead. After a routine pop out by Gregor Blanco, Giants manager Bruce Bochy again decided to bring in a pinch hitter and this time he brought in right-handed batter Joaquin Arias who after three straight sliders hit a ground ball to third that slipped under the glove of Jeff Bianchi and allowed Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt to score to give the Giant’s a three run lead with a score of 4-1. Sergio Romo came in the close the game in the top of the ninth and gave up an home run to Juan Francisco but settle down and earned his 27th save of the year.

Giants pitcher Chad Gaudin (5-2) had an impressive game as he lasted for six and one-third innings and only gave up four hits and one run and notched an impressive eight strike outs and continued his streak of only allowing two runs or fewer in eight of his last ten starts. “He’s just been so consistent, both in the ‘pen and starting,” Bochy said. “He’s so valuable on this ballclub. We needed a starter and he’s stepped in and he’s thrown the ball as well as anybody.”

Hunter Pence did his best impersonation of the Grateful Dead Bears as he walked a team high three times and continued his streak of reaching base safely every game since the All-Star game. Brandon Belt also had himself a game today as he notched his second three-hit, two-runs performance of August.

The Giants and the Brewers head back at it tomorrow when Matt Cain (7-6, 4.57 ERA) squares up against Wily Peralta (7-11, 4.57 ERA), game time 7:15pm.