For the second time this season, a San Francisco Giants pitcher went the distance in a losing effort, when Tim Hudson allowed a ninth inning, two-out triple to Starling Marte, who then scrambled home on the throwing error by Ehire Adrianza, allowing the Pittsburgh Pirates to plunder this one from the Giants, 2-1. Marte, who was originally called out at the plate, was signaled safe after the play was reversed in New York, becoming the first such use of Instant Replay, to settle the outcome of a game.
The Giants tried that formula that served so well in Atlanta, by scoring a single run early, and then allowing the Pirates to tie it up, but the wheels fell off the cart at that point when the Giants were unable to carry out their end of the deal by scoring at least one more run, falling instead to the Pirates, even though they had everything going in their favor.
San Francisco had that valiant come-from-behind victory last night, their six-game winning streak (10 of 11), the fact that they scored first, and the fact that their staff ace Tim Hudson was on the mound, all to no avail. It was a classic pitching duel between Charlie Morton and Tim Hudson for eight full innings, before Tony Watson came in to pitch the ninth. If the Giants had an Achilles Heel tonight, it was the come-backer. They hit five back to Morton while he was pitching, while Tony Watson coaxed another one from Michael Morse leading off the ninth.
Morton’s totals were eight innings pitched, one run allowed (unearned), three hits, two walks with three strikeouts. Tony Watson pitched one shaky inning, allowing no runs on two hits, but got the win because he managed to keep the Giants from scoring in the ninth.
Tim Hudson, the iron man of the Giants this season, started and went the distance, giving up two runs on six hits, with a walk and five strikeouts. By pitching eight and two-thirds innings tonight, Hudson became the first Giants pitcher to go at least seven innings in his first seven starts, since Vida Blue did it nine times starting off the 1981 season.
Pablo Sandoval went 0-4 today, with two strikeouts and a come-backer. Going into the game he was 1-53 with two strikes on the count; after today, he is 1-56. I continue to question why Pablo does not take conventional steps to break out of his slump. He does not shorten up on the bat, he does not compact his swing, and he does not appear to try to stay inside the strike zone any more than he ever does. He does not seem to want to take ownership of his futility, which I find disconcerting.
We all knew the the streak of consecutive victories would end. We all knew the Giants were not going to go 10-0 on this road trip, so when the Pittsburgh Pirates came out on top, all I can say is, 9-1 is still OK with me.
Tomorrow, we need Tim Lincecum to pitch another quality start, because we need to take this series. Despite the demoralizing way the game ended, I still am a full supporter of Instant Replay. I’d rather they got it right, than win a game on a bad call.