Late Inning Homers From Morse And Belt Topple Padres

It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t particularly pretty but the Giants snapped their 3-game losing streak with multiple home runs, defeating the Padres 5-3.

Given the free-fall that happened in June, it’s surprising that the Giants were only sitting one back from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West standings before today’s game. The back-and-forth in the West is expected to continue if today was an indication that momentum has truly shifted for the orange and black.

There was certainly trepidation when facing rookie Odrisamer Despaigne (2-0, 0.66 ERA) whose major league debut against the Giants resulted in a win for the newbie and zero runs through seven strong innings. Although San Francisco eventually took the lead, the Giants were only able to score one run off Despaigne – a Gregor Blanco solo shot in the top of the second to put the Giants on the board first.

The young right-hander was up against the Giants’ veteran Tim Hudson (7-5, 2.59 ERA), who contributed to the Giants win with a solid performance of 6.0 IP, three hits, one run, and four strikeouts. Despite a strong outing, Hudson yielded a run in the sixth when a Seth Smith sacrifice fly scored Brooks Conrad (Giants 2010 Postseaosn hero), tying the game 1-1.

The seventh inning was jam-packed as Padres’ relief pitcher Alex Torres took the mound and walked his first two batters, Blanco and Brandon Crawford. Torres was replaced with Kevin Quackenbush who faced Joe Panik and was charged with a balk, advancing Crawford to second and Blanco to third. Panik was able to cash in on a productive out with a sac-fly to center field, scoring Blanco and putting the Giants up on the Padres, 2-1. Unfortunately the Giants could not do more damage when Tyler Colvin flied out on the first pitch and Hunter Pence grounded out to end the inning.

The Padres struck back with Jean Machi on the mound when Machi gave up a one-out double to Chase Headley and a triple to Jake Goebbert to tie up the game. Cameron Maybin was able to pop a sac-fly to Blanco, cashing in on an RBI and putting the Padres up 3-2.

The Padres were able to maintain their lead until the ninth inning when Michael Morse homered on a line drive to left field off Huston Street, who has been excellent this season with a 0.87 ERA and 23 saves (5th in the National League).  Morses’ home run put the Giants on even ground with the Padres, 3-3.

In the top of the 10th, Pence (2-for-4) stretched his single into a double to lead-off the inning.  Returning first baseman Brandon Belt then flexed his power and pulled a home run to right field to drive in two runs and give the Giants the win. And if you’re wondering, yes, it was beautiful:

Two quick notes on closers/relievers: Former closer Sergio Romo threw a fairly clean 9th inning, despite having to pitch his way out of a jam with a runner on base and also benefiting from the stellar defense of Brandon Crawford to save a run. Closer-by-committee Santiago Casilla (1.11 ERA), who is having a great season despite an injury to his hamstring earlier this year, tallied his first save in 32.1 IP and struck out two, totaling 23 Ks for the season.

And here’s the injury update: Pablo Sandoval was hit by a pitch in the first inning and is reported to have a contusion in his left arm. No word yet on whether he will be day-to-day or if the injury is more serious.

The rubber-match will have Lincecum (7-5, 4.06 ERA) facing the Padres for the first time since he threw his second no-hitter against San Diego. The Padres will send out rookie Jesse Hagn (4-1, 1.95 ERA) in hopes of winning another series against the Giants.

First pitch at 1:10pm PST.