After the shortest outing of his career, Ryan Vogelsong bounced back and helped the Giants complete their first sweep of the year and beat the Cleveland Indians with a 4-1 win on Sunday afternoon.
It seemed like the game might be a slug-fest. Prior to first pitch, both starters had struggled on the season and had ERAs over 7.00 (Vogelsong – 7.71, Danny Salazar – 7.85).
However, it turned out to be a pitcher’s duel. Vogelsong had, by far, his best start of the season. After an abysmal start in Colorado on Monday in which he threw 1.1 innings and allowed five runs, it was important for him to rebound on Sunday.
“The other night was so bad, you kind of have to look and see if there’s anything sticking out to you. Other than that, it’s a wash. You look at the mechanics and say, ‘why wasn’t I commanding the ball and why couldn’t I throw the ball where I wanted to?” But I was out of there so quick, there’s really not a whole lot to digest. I watched a couple of pitches, and it was pretty apparent what I was doing wrong. I just really tried to fix it this whole week and was able to really stay with it during the game today.”
And rebound he did. He tossed seven shutout innings with two hits, two walks, and six strikeouts on 104 pitches (59 strikes). His efficiency on Sunday lowered his 2014 ERA to 5.40. It was the first time as a Giant that he pitched seven shutout innings with at least six strike outs, and he looked to be in line for his first win of the year.
Salazar was equally dominant and turned in his best start of the year. He also threw seven innings, but the Giants offense was able to make a dent against him. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford hit back-to-back doubles to give San Francisco a 1-0 lead.
Apart from those two mistakes, Salazar pitched a great game, throwing 101 pitches and giving up just one run, walking only one, and striking out eight. He seemed to be the tough-luck loser, but Santiago Casilla allowed a lead-off home run to Yan Gomes in the eighth to tie the game at one. Casilla settled down to finish out the inning, and Sergio Romo came in to pitch the top of the ninth, throwing a one-two-three inning and preserving the tie.
This only set the table for walk-off heroics. Buster Posey continued to come out of his funk with his second hit of the day to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Gregor Blanco bunted over pinch-runner Ehire Adrianza and, with two outs, Cody Allen intentionally walked Brandon Crawford, setting the Giants up for their third walk-off of the young season. Brandon Hicks crushed a three-run home run into the left-field bleachers, giving San Francisco a 4-1 win and sending the sellout crowd home happy.
The Giants have now won four in a row and are a game and a half ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies in first place in the National League West. They’ll face the fourth-place San Diego Padres starting on Monday night when Tyson Ross (2-3, 3.16) faces off against Madison Bumgarner (2-2, 3.14).
Notes: San Francisco notched it’s 258th consecutive regular season sellout, which is now the National League record.