Giants Open Series In New York With Gutsy Extra Inning Win Over Mets
By Bryan Rose
It looked good for the Giants early thanks to a three run third against Mets starter Jonathon Niese, but poor defense and bullpen struggles killed it late before a clutch hit from Hector Sanchez plated the go-ahead run in the top half of the 10th.
The Giants put together their initial three run rally thanks to a homerun from former Met Angel Pagan, which was soon to be followed by a Pablo Sandoval RBI double and an eventual wild pitch which plated the Panda. The Giants stranded Posey on third with no outs, something the Giants are becoming all too accustom to doing lately as the hyper bats are now 6 for 51 in their last five games with RISP. The inability to get the runs in haunted the Giants yet again as the Mets tied it in the bottom of the 9th after Hector Sanchez struggled to block balls in the dirt and Javier Lopez couldn’t keep the Mets off the basepaths, but Sanchez redeemed himself in the following top half, knocking in the eventual winning run in the Giants’ 4-3, extra inning victory.
Zito’s Jekyll and Hyde – Neither starting pitcher looked all that effective tonight, both hitting the 100 pitch mark within five innings – Zito being removed after the fifth inning in favor of an 0dd-ball pinch hit attempt from Matt Cain. Zito had his stuff early, not giving up a hit until the 4th inning when Jason Bay and the long ball struck. A leadoff homerun in the top of the 5th cut the Giants lead to one, but Zito wiggled out of trouble after loading the bases, leaving with a lead and a chance for a win. He clearly looked much more effective out of the windup than out of the stretch, sans the two dingers – but Zito did his job. He kept the Giants in the game and gave them an opportunity for a win. You can’t ask for much more out of your fifth starter.
Giants’ Pen Good Early, Struggles Late – With the fantastic starts from Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain recently, the Giants’ bullpen has had some extra rest – not that they needed it, but, the added relaxation must’ve worked for Guillermo Mota and Jeremy Affeldt who tossed 3 innings of hit-less ball for the Giants, striking out five in the process. Mota’s change was dying out as it reached the plate, Affeldt’s breaker falling off the table – both looking extremely effective, if only for one night, as both have had their early season issues. The game however got dicey late with Santiago Casilla being pulled after a Jason Bay single in the bottom half of the 9th. A poor block by Hector Sanchez allowed Bay to move up to second, which was followed by a Javier Lopez walk and then an RBI single which resulted in Sergio Romo being summoned from the pen. Romo got out of the jam, mostly thanks to an impressive play by Brandon Belt, nailing the winning run at home, before striking out Tejada to end the 9th inning rally. Romo returned for the top half of the 10th, but struggled, leaving with two men on base before Clay Hensley came in and shut the door with some gritty, gusty pitching – stranding the game tying and winning runs in scoring position.
Hit Em Where They Ain’t – The Giants did their best to try, but, the Mets seemingly had a nose for the ball all night. Brandon Crawford hit a SCORCHING ball with the bases loaded in the third, but a shoe string catch in center prevented any movement from the runners. Meanwhile, Hector Sanchez hit a deep flyball to left-center, but he too was robbed of a hit from Kirk Nieuwenhuis who laid out, robbing an easy double. But despite the inability to find holes from the bottom half of the order, the top did their job with Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera doing their part, going a combined 6 of 11 through the games first nine innings before Posey was removed in a substitution.
Notes: With Ryan Theriot having to call in a sick day and Bruce Bochy subbing for defense early (swapping Nate for Pill), the bench was a bit stretched tonight – at least at the said time when Bochy called for a Matt Cain pinch hit. Cain (who was oddly picked over Ryan Vogelsong or Madison Bumgarner, who are better hitters) struck out. Former Giants reliever Ramon Ramirez tossed a scoreless seventh inning for the Mets – a welcome change for Metropolitan fans I’m sure as the right hander sported a nasty 7.11 ERA coming into the game. Angel Pagan, who hit his first homer of the year (and first for the Giants obviously) was welcomed by a chorus of cheers in his first plate appearance, but a loud round of boo’s after his third inning homer. Worth noting, his shot wouldn’t have cleared the Citi Field fences last year.
Don’t forget – the Giants have a breakfast game on the West Coast tomorrow, with pre-game festivities starting at 9:30 AM.
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