Angel Pagan was back on top of the Giants lineup tonight. Right from his first at bat it felt like the team had renewed energy. He didn’t waste any time making an impact on the scoreboard either. On an 0-2 pitch from Diamondbacks starter Randall Delgado (L,4-5, 3.67 ERA), Angel hit a deep fly ball that one hopped the wall. He cruised in to second base with a leadoff double.
From there the Giants showed why it was nice to have an effective leadoff hitter. Marco Scutaro bunted Pagan over to third. Brandon Belt followed with a fly ball to center field. It wasn’t hit particularly hard and A.J. Pollock got to charge in as he made his throw. Pagan beat the ball to home plate and the Giants had a quick 1-0 lead.
Marco Scutaro had the early contender for defensive play of the night, to lead off the bottom half of the 1st. Gerardo Parra hit a rocket to shallow right field and Scutaro made a diving stop the get the grounder. With no time to get to his feet Scutaro threw a one hop strike to Belt from his backside. It’s the type of play we may see out of Brandon Crawford, but Scutaro got to look like a 25 year old again.
Tim Lincecum (W, 8-13, 4.38 ERA) threw 6 innings of shutout baseball. He only struck out 2 DBacks hitters all night, and his first didn’t even come until 1 out in the bottom of the 5th inning. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t effective. All night Lincecum pitched to contact and got outs. He kept the ball in the strikezone and pitched well with runners on base. Every inning that Lincecum pitched he allowed a base runner.
Strange as it sounds Lincecum was most effective from the stretch on this night. His mechanics seem to be a little better when he doesn’t go from the full windup. Remember, when he came in from the bullpen in last year’s playoffs he pitched exclusively from the stretch, even without runners on base.
In the bottom of the 6th inning this was on display for awhile. With one out Paul Goldschmidt hit a bloop single to left field. I call it a win, that single made Goldschmidt 10 for 20 lifetime off Lincecum with 5 home runs. With Goldschmidt running Martin Prado hit a solid single to left and the DBacks had runners at the corners and only one out.
Lincecum walked Aaron Hill and the bases were loaded. He may have had only 2 strikeouts all game, but Timmy saved one for a big situation. After a visit from Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti, Lincecum threw 3 straight change ups to strike out Miguel Montero swinging. Then Pablo Sandoval delivered the best defensive play on a night of many. He made a diving stop on a ball down the line off the bat of Pollock. He fired a strike across the diamond to get the speedy Pollock by a step. Lincecum walked off the field as if this kind of stuff happens every day.
From there the Giants bullpen came in and shut the door down to give Lincecum the win. Javier Lopez pitched a perfect 7th inning. The only inning in which the Diamondbacks did not have a base runner. With one out in the 8th Santiago Casilla walked Goldschmidt on 4 straight pitches. Then after falling behind Prado 3-1 he was the beneficiary of some great timing. Goldschidt was running with the pitch and Prado hit a hard ground ball right between Casilla’s legs. The ball went right to Scutaro, who was covering second on the steal, and he stepped on the bag and thre to first for the double play.
Sergio Romo came in and got his 33rd save on the season. That’s now 9 saves he has converted in a row and he has gone 18 for his last 19. The Giants are now 20-20 in one run games this season.
Where the heck has this team been? #SFGiants
— Matt Cowlishaw (@MattCowlis) August 31, 2013
Looks like the answer has been Angel Pagan all along.