There was no amazing catch needed by Willie Mays this time as the Giants beat the Indians 5-3 on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park. It was great way to top one of the best giveaways by the Giants this season. There was all sorts of fun at the ballpark as fans celebrated the 1954 New York team.
Being behind 3-0 early was not a problem for the Giants offense today. The bottom of the 5th inning was a “keep the line moving” Bruce Bochy favorite. Michael Morse led off with a single. With one out Brandon Crawford battled Cleveland starter Zach McAllister and broke through with a single on the 8th pitch of the at bat. Brandon Hicks followed with a walk after taking some really close pitches.
Gregor Blanco was batting .100 entering play today. The Giants don’t have many big bat options off the bench, and Bruce Bochy was not going to burn Hector Sanchez this early in the game. So with 1 out in the bottom of the 5th, it was Blanco to pinch hit for the pitcher. He delivered a single to right field to score Morse. It only scored one run, but seemed to energize the Giants approach. Blanco, and the Giants, really needed that base hit.
Angel Pagan hit a fly ball to CF and Crawford scored the Giants second run. Hunter Pence‘s streak of multi-hit games was snapped at 4, but the one he got today mattered a whole lot. With 2 outs and 2 strikes in the bottom of the 5th, he singled to right field, just past the fielder’s glove, to score Hicks and Blanco. The Giants went ahead 4-3 and never lost the lead again.
All told, the Giants scored 4 runs on 4 hits in the 5th inning. They were all singles. The team that scored 12 runs on all home runs over an 11 inning game just a few days ago, was able to score 4 runs with nothing but singles in one single inning. If I’m an opposing team, that’s kind of scary.
Buster Posey added a run with a solo home run in the 6th inning. It’s his 5th on the season. Maybe a sign of things to come?
Tim Lincecum did not look as sharp this afternoon as he had the previous two starts. A lot of pitches stayed up in the strike zone and Indians hitters made him pay. It helped that some of the hard hit balls found gloves or it could have been a whole lot worse. In 3 of the 5 innings he started the leadoff man reached base. Those were the 3 innings the Indians scored.
Lincecum only lasted 4.2 innings. He gave up 9 hits, 3 runs (2 ER), 2 walks and 3 K’s. The strange part is, his ERA went down and is now 5.96.
The Giants bullpen was once again outstanding. Juan Gutierrez struck out Yan Gomes with the bases loaded in relief of Lincecum to end the top of the 5th. Jean Machi and Jeremy Affeldt combined for 3 innings of scoreless relief and Sergio Romo shut the door in the 9th for his 6th save this season.
The Giants are currently a full game in first place, but that will change after the Dodgers play later tonight. These two teams finish the series tomorrow afternoon starting at 1:05 PT at AT&T Park. The Indians will send RHP Danny Salazar (0-3, 7.85 ERA)to the mound. The Giants counter with RHP Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 7.71 ERA) as they try for the series sweep.