Pablo Sandoval had three hits, the third one a double in the ninth to break a 3-3 tie and ultimately win the game, and the San Francisco Giants took the series from the New York Mets, three games to one. Tim Hudson started for the Giants, going five innings, giving up three runs, two of them earned, and the bullpen pitched the final four innings to preserve the 4-3 win for San Francisco.
The Mets struck quickly with two runs in the first inning when Daniel Murphy hit a two-run shot with Curtis Granderson on the bases courtesy of a leadoff walk. The Giants came back with two of their own in the third, when Buster Posey was walked to get to Pablo Sandoval, and the Panda delivered with a two-run double, evening the score at two.
This set the pattern for the game as Posey ended up walking four times and Sandoval made the Mets pay. Pablo’s key double plated the first two runs, and then he did it again in the ninth. In between, he also singled with Gregor Blanco in scoring position, but Juan Legares’ throw nailed Blanco at the plate. That’s three hits with runners in scoring position today for Sandoval. After the show Hunter Pence (two home runs, double) and Buster Posey (HR, double, two singles) put on in last night’s game, it was fun to see Pablo get into the act.
After his first inning jitters, Tim Hudson continued to walk a tightrope in the second and fourth innings, getting help from his defense in both, to escape two-runners-on situations. In the second inning Juan Legares challenged the arm of Gregor Blanco in short right-center field, after Ruben Tejada had singled, and Blanco gunned him down on a throw that was so perfect, all Pablo Sandoval had to do was catch the ball and drop his glove into the sliding Legares.
In the fourth, with runners on first and third and one out, Legares hit a soft grounder to Sandoval at third, and Pablo came home to Buster Posey, to try and get Travis d’Arnaud, who had run on contact. d’Arnaud stopped most of the way down the line so Buster ran him back towards third, flipped the ball to Brandon Crawford covering, and Crawford chased d’Arnaud down, keeping Chris Young pinned at second. The net result was the Giants went from runners at first and third and one out, to runners at first and second with two outs. Ruben Tejada popped out to the hustling Brandon Belt in foul territory, to end the inning.
Dillon Gee started for the Mets and pitched into the sixth, giving up two runs on five hits, with six strike outs and three walks, two of them to Posey. Vic Black finished the sixth and Jeurys Familia came in to pitch the seventh and was responsible for the one run the Giants scored when Pence tripled to open the inning and Familia wild-pitched him home. Josh Edgin got Brandon Belt to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Buddy Carlyle relieved Edgin with two outs in the eighth to get Joe Panik, already on base three times with base hits, to ground out to the first baseman. Jenrry Mejia came in to pitch the ninth and the Giants got to him when Blanco singled, stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw, and scored on Sandoval’s double after Buster was walked yet again. It was the second time this season that the Giants have gotten to Mejia in the ninth, winning the second game of the series in San Francisco, when Michael Morse had the winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.
For the Giants, Juan Gutierrez, Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo, who got the win, and Santiago Casilla, who got the save in a 1-2-3 ninth, combined to shut out the Mets over the final four innings, in a display of pitching that we grew accustomed to seeing in the first third of the season.
Just as the Giants seemed to get hot in bunches earlier in the year, that’s what’s happening now. Posey, Pence (who had two doubles, two triples and two homers in this series, with seven RBI’s) and Pablo are on fire, the entire starting pitching corps is lit up, and the bullpen is on top of its game. As a result, the Giants just opened up this ten-game road trip with a series win in New York.
The outcome of today’s game cannot be overemphasized: The difference between 3-1 and 2-2 in a four-game series is huge. It took superb pitching and clutch hitting to win and that needs to continue. There is a big difference between the last-place Mets and the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, which is tomorrow’s opponent for San Francisco.
Tim Lincecum starts for the Giants in this series and he’s just the guy I want out there. Timmy always responds well to pressure situations and the Giants are playing their best ball on the road.
This would be a good time to show the National League Central that San Francisco is back.