Is it too soon to call the Giants “The Comeback Kids”?
For the second time in four games, San Francisco overcame a late deficit and defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-5 on Thursday afternoon. The Giants took three-of-four from their division rivals as they head to Los Angeles to face the first-place Dodgers.
Brandon Belt remained hot, hitting a lazer-shot home run – his third of the series – down the right-field line to put the Giants up 1-0 in the top of the first, but the lead wouldn’t last long.
With one out in the bottom of the inning, Aaron Hill blooped a single into center before Paul Goldschmidt continued his dominance over Tim Lincecum and launched a two-run shot to give Arizona a 2-1 lead. In his career, Goldschmidt has now hit six big flies off of Lincecum – the most the right-hander has ever allowed to a single player.
The Giants got the run back in the fourth inning when Pablo Sandoval led off with a double, and Hunter Pence followed it up with his first hit of 2014, a rocket-single into right. Hector Sanchez, who got the start today to give Buster Posey a rest, then tied the game at two with a sacrifice fly.
San Francisco did something that it couldn’t do last season – force Bronson Arroyo out of a game early. According to Andrew Baggarly, Arroyo threw only two complete games in all of 2013, both of them coming against the Giants. On Thursday he lasted just 4.1 innings, needing 82 pitches to give up five hits, two runs, two walks, and three strikeouts.
Despite the rough beginning, Lincecum settled in nicely, tossing six innings and giving up eight hits, no walks, and striking out seven on 98 pitches (71 strikes). He came within one out of a quality start before allowing a two-out, two-run home run to Mark Trumbo in the bottom of the sixth. And just like that, the Diamondbacks had a late lead.
But like Monday night, the Giants offense would rally, beginning with a Brandon solo home run – this time coming off the bat of pinch-hitter Brandon Hicks. With one out in the seventh, Hicks crushed a solo shot into the second deck, cutting the Diamondbacks lead to one.
Unfortunately for San Francisco, some miscues in the bottom of the inning gave that run right back to Arizona. With one out, David Huff walked Chad Pennington. Huff got the next batter, Gerardo Parra, to hit a double-play groundball, but Huff forgot to cover first base, and the inning continued.
Jean Machi then came in to pitch and gave up a double to Aaron Hill, allowing Parra to score and Arizona to take a 5-3 lead into the eighth. However, the game was far from over.
It turns out the “Never-Say-Die” attitude of the 2012 playoffs is still a part of this Giants team. With one out in the top of the eighth, Pence worked a walk from reliever Will Harris before coming home to score on a double from Sanchez. Harris got Brandon Crawford to fly out to center and intentionally walked pinch-hitter Posey.
For the second-straight game, newest Giant Michael Morse added a huge RBI single, this time tying the game at five before Angel Pagan came to the plate and sent the first pitch he saw from Harris over the fence in right-center field. Pagan’s homer made it 8-5 and completed the Giants five-run eighth inning.
It’s all the runs San Francisco would need as Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez combined to pitch perfect eighth and ninth innings.
The Giants are now 3-1 on the young season, while the Diamondbacks have fallen to 1-5. Ryan Vogelsong gets the start on Friday afternoon against Hyun-Jin Ryu and the 4-1 Dodgers.