Short outings from both starting pitchers, rain, a couple of home runs, and a LOT of back-and-forth led to a victory in the series finale against the Reds with a final score of 9-8.
Belt continued to tear it up at the plate (21-for-52 in last 8 games) with a double to lead off the second inning. Hunter Pence, on his second game back after missing 36 games this season with a fractured forearm, stayed hot with a single to move runners to the corners. Yesterday’s hero, Brandon Crawford, hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Zack Cozart who tossed it to Brandon Phillips for the force play. Pence went in hard with the slide and Phillips was pulled off the bag – something the Reds challenged and lost, giving Crawford another RBI (25) to add on to his club leading total.
During the review, the rain started pouring in, forcing the game into a brief rain delay.
Despite the 20-minute delay, Gregor Blanco had no problem getting back into the game with a double and scoring Pence to put the Giants up 2-0. Blanco’s been wielding a hot bat and is 10-for-19 with five doubles, a homer, and three walks over his last six games. With Angel Pagan out with back spasms that occurred late in yesterday’s game, Nori Aoki was able to step in and add on two RBIs with a base hit to score Crawford and Blanco making it 4-0 Giants. As things were seeming to unravel a bit for the Reds as they allowed Aoki to steal second and Anthony DeSclafani issued his first walk of the game to Joe Panik, Buster Posey struck out to leave two runners on and end the inning.
Heston ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the second when he gave up a lead off single to Phillips, followed by another base hit to Jay Bruce. Billy Hamilton than grounded into a force out to Crawford, but allowed a run to score for the Reds, 4-1. Heston was able to get out of the inning with a strike out to DeSclafani and a Cozart line out to Pence.
In the top of the third, Hunter Pence showed that he was truly an offensive weapon with a line drive home run over the left field wall after a Belt walk to start the inning, Giants 6-1.
The Reds responded in the bottom of the inning when Heston didn’t look quite as sharp, giving up a single to Brayan Pena, a walk to Joey Votto, and a single to Todd Frazier to load the bases. With no outs, Marlon Byrd blooped a soft line drive to center field, driving in the second run for Cincinnati. Clearly rattled, Heston’s command continued to flounder when he hit Phillips and walked in Votto to score another run. Heston ended his short outing by giving up a Bruce single, lessening the Giants lead 6-4. Heston was replaced by Yusmeiro Petit, leaving the game with only two innings pitched, seven hits, five runs, two walks, and two strikeouts.
Petit was able to limit the damage, giving up a sacrifice fly to Billy Hamilton, but inducing outs from both Devin Mesoraco and Cozart to end the inning with the Giants still ahead 6-5.
The action continued in the fifth with DeSclafani out of the game and replaced with right-hander Rasiel Iglesias. Crawford led off the inning with a double to right field, who advanced to third on a Blanco fly out. Matt Duffy, in for Casey McGehee, singled on a ground ball to Hamilton in center, scoring Crawford, 7-5.
Cincinnati retaliated with a home run in the bottom of the inning to Phillips, once again bringing the Reds within one run of the Giants.
The back and forth continued in the late innings with the Giants making it 8-6 with a Crawford walk, a Duffy single, and an Aoki RBI bunt and stealth slide by Crawford to score a run. Jay Bruce let off some steam with a home run off Jeremy Affeldt to help even out the score to 8-7. Belt also participated in the home run derby by showing off his power with an opposite field home run (and his third consecutive game with a home run) to widen the lead to 9-7.
The two-run lead didn’t last long. With Afieldt still on the mound, Pena worked a walk and Votto doubled on a pop up to Crawford, scoring Pena, 9-8.
Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla were able to take it the rest of the way and close it out, allowing the Giants to have a happy flight back to the bay.
Giants have a day off tomorrow before the Dodgers come into town on Tuesday. Tim Hudson (1-3, 4.57 ERA) will toe the slab but Los Angeles has yet to announce their starting pitcher.