Giants run past Padres in 11 innings
The San Francisco Giants tied a SF-era franchise record with six stolen bases and backup catcher Chris Stewart reminded fans why he’s the best option behind the dish right now as the Giants beat the San Diego Padres 4-3 in extra innings Sunday at Petco Park.
Stewart, batting just .190 this season, entered the game in the ninth inning as a pinch hitter and ended up staying in after Eli Whiteside (who’s batting .239) was lifted for a pinch runner one batter earlier.
Even though he was in the game for just a short time, Stewart’s impact was felt immediately by the Giants. It was Stewart’s beautifully-executed suicide squeeze in the 11th inning that brought home the winning run for San Francisco and it was his athleticism that saved the win in the bottom of the 11th.
After closer Brian Wilson worked himself into a jam by walking the first two batters in the 11th, Padres catcher Kyle Phillips laid down a sacrifice bunt that should have moved the runners up. Instead, Stewart pounced on Phillips’ bunt and fired the ball down to Pablo Sandoval at third base to get the lead runner. Sandoval then whipped the ball across the diamond to nail Phillips for a spectacular 1-5-3 double play. Wilson got Alberto Gonzalez to hit a grounder to Emmanuel Burriss, who beat out Logan Forsythe at second base to end the game and give the Giants the series win (3-games-to-1).
The Giants had a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning when Whiteside, the starting catcher, made a huge mental error that led to two runs for the Padres.
With starter Matt Cain on the hill, Whiteside dropped Everth Cabrera‘s swinging strike three. Rather than make the easy throw to get Cabrera, who had taken off for first, Whiteside argued with home plate umpire Marvin Hudson about dropping the ball. By the time he made the throw to first, Cabrera had beaten it out.
That should have been the second out of the inning for Cain, who had another solid outing (6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 9 K).
Instead, it turned into a two-run inning as the visibly-perturbed Cain allowed a hit to Cameron Maybin, then plunked Ryan Ludwick on the hand before Orlando Hudson gave the Friars their first lead of the game with a two-run single. Hudson finished the four-game series against the Giants by going 4-for-16 with a homer and six runs batted in.
For the second straight day, the Padres took advantage of a rocky first inning by the Giants’ starters.
Cai, who had not yet found his groove, walked leadoff hitter Will Venable on four pitches, quickly reminding the sizable Giants contingency at Petco of Barry Zito‘s horrible outing on Saturday. The next batter, Cabrera, then lined a double play grounder to Mike Fontenot but the Giants’ second baseman allowed the ball to go under his glove into right field and Venable raced to third. Ludwick followed with a sac fly to stake the Pads to an early 1-0 lead. Cain quickly regained his composure and got out of the inning with just the one unearned run.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy must have had one of his gut feelings about Schierholtz, inserting the right fielder back into the clean-up spot after dropping him to the five-hole on Sunday. Schierholtz didn’t let his skipper down, giving the Giants a 2-1 lead with a run-scoring single off Padres starter Mat Latos in the sixth inning. He and Burriss both stole two bases Sunday. Torres and Whiteside had the other two. The last time the Giants stole six bags in a game was Sept. 8, 1987 when Kevin Mitchell stole three bases, Dave Henderson swiped two, and Chris Speier had one steal against the Houston Astros.
Latos went seven innings on Sunday, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk.
Javier Lopez (5-1) pitched two perfect innings for the victory, while Chad Qualls (4-4), who was on the mound when the Giants scored on the dramatic squeeze play in the 11th, was pinned with the loss. After Qualls retired Miguel Tejada on a grounder to first to start the inning, Burriss lined one up the middle for a base hit. he then stole second and Phillips’ airmailed his throw into center, allowing Burriss to scamper to third. That’s when Stewart surprised everyone in the stadium with the RBI bunt, easily plating the speedy Burriss from third.
San Francisco heads back home for the start of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.
Sunday was San Francisco’s 26th come-from-behind win this season.
- Over his last nine starts, Cain is 5-1 with a 2.01 ERA.
- The Giants now lead the season series with the Friars, 6-games-to-4. They meet eight more times in August and September.
- Fans 14-and-under received free Padres t-shirts on Sunday. Being the eco-friendly kind of guy I am, I was able to use my son’s shirt to wipe the bird shit off our seats before the game.
- One of the better highlights of the day? Between the fourth and fifth innings, the Padres’ entertainment staff used a large slingshot to fire various souvenirs into the stands. A lady near us caught a Padres beanbag ball and — much to the delight of Giants fans everywhere who were screaming “throw it back” — tossed the beanbag back where it came from.
- A large percentage of the sun-baked crowd of 36,351 at Petco Park consisted of Giants fans. I counted at least four times in the first seven innings the number of times the “Let’s Go Giants” chat erupted. In the decisive 11th inning, when many of the Padres fans had already left, it was non-stop chanting by the Giants faithful, who invaded San Diego for the fourth straight game.
- Speaking of invasions, a massive swarm of honey bees zipped through the ballpark in the third inning, causing many fans — including me and my family — to duck for cover.
|Final score:||SF 4, SD 3 (11) [view box score] [video highlights]|
|Winning pitcher:||Lopez (5-1)|
|Losing pitcher:||Qualls (4-4)|
|Game ball:||Schierholtz (2-for-5, R, RBI, 2 SB)|
|Top play:||Stewart’s laser to third to start a 1-5-3 double play in the 11th [watch video]|
|Giants’ record:||55-41, 1st place, 3.5 games ahead [full standings]|
|Next up:||LA at SF, Monday, 7:15 p.m. PDT [press pass]|
|TV/Radio/Web:||NBC Bay Area, KNBR 680 AM, sfgiants.com|
|Starters:||Ryan Vogelsong (6-1, 2.17) vs. Chad Billingsley (8-7, 3.87)|