Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run in his last six games and added an RBI on a sacrifice fly to account for all his team’s scoring, as the San Francisco Giants went on to trim the Minnesota Twins, 2-1, Saturday night, at AT&T Park. Ryan Vogelsong (3-2) pitched brilliantly for six and two-thirds innings, giving up no runs, on three hits, while striking out seven.
Twins starter Samuel Deduno, making a spot-start, pitched very well, facing only three over the minimum through five, but it was not enough when his team scored only a lead-off home run in the ninth.
Though Minnesota had a runner in scoring position in each of the first three innings, they were unable to get the big hit, as has been the case in the first two games. The Twins have yet to get a base hit with a runner in scoring position this series.
In his last outing Ryan Vogelsong went seven shutout innings against the Marlins. He came within one out of duplicating that feat tonight, as he fielded a come-backer with two out in the seventh, and tossed high to Michael Morse at first, drawing the throwing error. Bruce Bochy was out of the dugout like a shot and calling for Juan Gutierrez, who got Chris Hermann to ground into a force-out, Brandon Crawford to Brandon Hicks, to end the inning.
For the Twins, Deduno gave up two runs on four hits, while striking out four and walking three. Brian Duensing, Jared Burton and Casey Fien pitched very well, allowing only one single from among the three of them, in closing out the game.
Vogelsong was 2-1, with a 1.62 ERA going into tonight’s game. He retired the lead-off batter in every inning but the first, when a Pablo Sandoval error allowed Brian Dozier to reach first base.
For Minnesota Joe Mauer and Eduardo Escobar each doubled in addition to Pinto’s homer, but the Twins could not capitalize. It’s hard to score runs when you cannot get a base-hit with runners in scoring position.
Sandoval’s error in the top of the first may very well have been in Pablo’s mind when he came to the plate to lead off the second. His solo blast tonight made it four home runs in his last 16 at-bats. Adding a sac-fly in the sixth was the difference in the game.
And that’s the thing you have to remember about not only The Panda, but all of the good ones. When they get cold, as Buster Posey is right now, they are eventually going to reverse the trend. Pablo is carrying the team right now, and has been doing so since the day after Brandon Belt went down, after batting well below his weight for the first six weeks of the season.
The Giants coming into tonight’s game had won 11 of 12 from the American League Central, including a 4-0 mark so far this season. This, after going 6-14 against the American League overall last season.
The Giants are now 23-4 when scoring first.
Hunter Pence came into tonight’s game working on a ten-game hitting streak. This is his second ten-game streak of the season, but he will have to start a new one, as he was limited to only two walks in four trips to the plate.
Going into tonight’s game, the Giants were batting .284 with runners in scoring position and two outs (second best in majors); their 94, two-out hits is the best in the majors.
Madison Bumgarner takes the mound tomorrow as the Giants go for the sweep and a 6-0 record against the Junior Circuit this season.