The game started on Jackie Robinson Day and ended after midnight as strong pitching from both sides and runners in scoring position woes led to a twelfth-inning walk-off win for the San Francisco Giants.
While both starting pitchers were able to limit damage from the opposing offense, each lasted just five innings at AT&T Park. Both offenses had trouble at the plate in clutch situations, combining to go 4-for-26 with runners in scoring position.
The Dodgers ran up Lincecum’s count early, and his early departure was due more to his 93 pitches than lack of control. Lincecum seemed to have command through his outing, with the exception of one changeup that was left up and taken advantage of by one Juan Uribe.
“I think it went better as it went on and I settled down,” said Lincecum. “I just stayed aggressive and in the zone. Especially against Uribe.”
Uribe went 3-for-5 and missed just a triple for the cycle. His blast marked his second of the season, and he is now batting .379 this year. His seventh-inning double began the rally that gave LA a second run, after Javier Lopez gave up a sharp RBI single to Justin Turner.
Lincecum struck out five and walked none on Tuesday night. He stayed calm in the fourth inning, where the Dodgers had loaded the bases with one out. Lincecum’s response was striking out Uribe and Tim Fedorwicz to end the inning. Lincecum said he aimed to keep the ball down, and while none of his pitches were exceptionally great, he picked his spots.
“I’ve tried to attack the zone a little more,” he said, and “this is a big win, especially when you win it in the morning.”
San Francisco had its own issues with runners in scoring position. The Giants couldn’t get a run home with the bases loaded in either the fourth or fifth innings, and finally put a run up on the board in the sixth. Hunter Pence scored on Brandon Crawford’s sacrifice fly and had his best offensive game of the season so far, going 3-for-6 on the night.
Overall the Giants were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and 0-for-5 with the bases loaded, even after being in the situation three separate times over their 12 innings of play.
“Tonight the pitching did it because we had our chances,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “We had a couple really nice chances and when you don’t come through, that can be frustrating, and you have to keep fighting.”
Fighting is what the Giants did. Angel Pagan started things off in the bottom of the ninth inning with a single, then scored from first thanks to a double from Brandon Belt. “El Mechon” welcomed fans into extra innings as Sergio Romo shut down the Dodgers through a 21-pitch tenth.
The replay made an appearance in the bottom of the inning, when Blanco was called out after diving into first. One sassy finger wag, one “Replay” chant and one Bochy challenge later, the call was overturned and Blanco returned to first. The 1:25 review proved to be futile, however, as San Francisco could not capitalize on having the bases loaded for the third time of the night.
Two innings later, the Giants were able to turn a runner in scoring position into a walkoff. Brandon Crawford got on base and was knocked in by Hector Sanchez to give San Francisco the win.
When asked about Sanchez, Bochy said, “He’s such a confident kid. He’s a little cocky, yet humble. He wants to be there with the men on base.”
Because Sanchez came in for extra innings, Bochy mentioned that Buster Posey would be ready for tomorrow’s game.
Tomorrow (or tonight, I suppose), the Giants return to AT&T Park for Game 2 against their rival. Ryan Vogelsong will take the hill for San Francisco and look to correct his struggles from this season’s prior starts. Vogelsong has given up eight runs, 14 hits and three walks through nine innings this season, and has mentioned mechanical issues he’s had to manage. Those issues will need to be solved as he faces a strong Dodgers offense that has been solid against him. Uribe is batting .417 over 12 at-bats against the righty, and Matt Kemp’s .300 average against Vogelsong includes one home run and five RBI.
Hunter Pence will try to carry over tonight’s offense to tomorrow, as his .296 average against tomorrow’s starter Paul Maholm. Pablo Sandoval, who went 0-for-4 with a walk tonight, has a .300 average with two home runs against Maholm.
First pitch at 7:15pm.