Tim Hudson continued to impress, the two-outs hits are back, and the San Francisco Giants took the series and the game from the Colorado Rockies with a 5-4 walk-off win in ten innings.
Hudson pitched a stellar game, making only a handful of mistakes. The first was to Wilin Rosario, which the Rockies catcher launched into the left-field bleachers. Just like that, it was déjà-vu for the Giants, who found themselves down 1-0 early while struggling offensively.
Luckily for Hudson, the Giants saw the two-out hits return later in the game, and they’d finally get the right-hander some run support. Birthday boy Hunter Pence was hit by a pitch to lead off the top of the fourth, a Michael Morse single moved him to third, and a Brandon Crawford sacrifice fly tied the game at one.
Brandon Hicks, back in the line-up after a day off on Saturday, collected his second single of the game, and both he and Morse moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. And with two outs, Angel Pagan singled to bring them both home and give the Giants their first lead since Friday night. All ten of Pagan’s RBIs this season have come with two outs.
Hudson pitched a clean, one-two-three shutdown inning in the top of the sixth, and Pablo Sandoval led off the bottom of the inning with a solo shot that clanged off the foul pole in right field. It was suddenly 4-1 Giants, and it looked as though San Francisco would cruise to a win in front of 41,490 fans.
But that would not be the case, as Colorado came clawing back. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Justin Morneau hit his first home run of the year, a solo shot to left-center, to make it 4-2.
Back-to-back doubles by Nolan Arenado and D.J. LaMahieu to lead off the eighth brought the Rockies to within one. After Brandon Barnes bunted LaMahieu to third, Hudson’s day was done. For his third straight start, he went at least seven innings. He was once again efficient with his pitches, needing just 85 to get through seven-and-one-third innings. He allowed five hits, four runs, struck out five, and once again issued no walks.
With Javier Lopez in to pitch for Hudson, pinch-hitter Drew Stubbs snuck a ground ball through the infield, scoring LaMahieu and tying the game at four. Even though Hudson didn’t get the win, manager Bruce Bochy is impressed with what the right-hander has brought to the team so far.
“Here he is, pitching in the eighth inning. And you have to have two or three starters that are consistent in getting you deep in the game, and every start he’s done such a nice job of that. It’s a shame we couldn’t get him a win. He pitched so well…There he is in the eighth, it does allow you to use your guys: Lopez, Casilla, and Romo, and that’s how we won the game.”
Colorado threatened to take the lead in the top of the ninth when Santiago Casilla walked Troy Tulowitzki to open the inning, but Morneau flied out and Sandoval turned a nice double play on a Rosario ground ball to preserve the tie.
Gregor Blanco, who came in as a defensive replacement for Morse, almost sent everyone home in the bottom of the ninth with an epic walk-off. With two outs, he crushed the ball off the bricks in right-center where Michael Cuddyer misplayed it. With Blanco flying around the bases, third base coach Tim Flannery waved him in for an inside-the-park home run…only to have him thrown out by several feet. The game headed into extras.
Sergio Romo pitched a one-two-three top of the tenth, setting the table for heroics in the bottom of the inning. And it didn’t take long. Crawford crushed the second pitch from Rex Brothers into the water for his first career Splash Hit and first career walk-off home run.
“I was looking for a pitch I could possibly end it with, but I wasn’t necessarily going in there thinking ‘home run,’ I was just trying to put a good swing on a good pitch.”
Crawford was greeted by a mob of his teammates at home plate, all celebrating the first walk-off win of the 2014 season. Nobody was more excited than Hudson.
“It was great to see. It was a great win for us today. I would’ve been sick if we’d have lost this game just because I felt like I had a pretty good game, but there in the eighth inning we were tied up. It definitely felt like it was one-sided the whole game, but there in the end it wasn’t….it could’ve been anybody’s ballgame after that. [Crawford] came up with a bit hit, a big homer, and I’m happy for him.”
The Giants are now 3-3 on this nine-game home stand and will welcome the rival Los Angeles Dodgers into AT&T Park on Tuesday night.