Hicks walk-off homer seals Giants sweep

AT&T PARK — Another day, another unlikely walk-off hero.

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and men on first and second, Brandon Hicks nailed his second career walk-off home run to give the Giants the 4-1 victory at home Sunday afternoon to sweep the Cleveland Indians.

The Giants’ bats were characteristically quiet through most of the game, but the bottom of the lineup managed to edge out starting pitcher Danny Salazar and reliever Cody Allen (L, 2-1) for some timely offense.

Brandon Crawford’s fourth inning double that snuck past Nick Swisher at first base brought home Pablo Sandoval — who had smashed a line-drive double down the third base line the at bat before — for the first run of the game.

Sandoval, who was batting .165 before Sunday, went 2-for-4. Manager Bruce Bochy said he remains confident in the third baseman’s abilities and future in the lineup:

“I think he’s gaining courage, hes getting better swings. He struck out the last time but…he just has to go up there and try to get a good swing. That’s all he needs to try to do. He’s got the talent.”

Starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong pitched through seven innings, the most so far this season. He allowed at least one run in his four previous starts, but today was able to keep the Tribe from coming home.

Vogelsong racked up six strikeouts, allowed two hits — both from leadoff man Michael Bourn — and no earned runs.

Cleveland’s Yan Gomes hit a leadoff home run off reliever Santiago Casilla in the eighth, tying the game at 1-1. Sergio Romo (W, 2-0) struck out one batter in a scoreless ninth inning.

Bochy expressed disappointment that Vogelsong couldn’t get the win:

“It’s a shame we couldn’t get him a win the way he pitched, and that’s a tough lineup. He had all left hand hitters except for one and all day he didn’t give in and made pitches when he had to.”

Buster Posey started the ninth with a single to center field. Pinch hitter Gregor Blanco hit a sacrifice fly to get pinch runner Ehire Adrianza to second before Sandoval struck out and Crawford was intentionally walked.

The game looked ripe to go into extra innings with an 0-for-3 Hicks up to bat, but the second baseman leaped on a high fastball to end the game.

Hot hitters Brandon Belt and Angel Pagan struggled at the plate Sunday. Pagan went 0-for-3 before eventually notching a double to right field in the eighth inning to stretch his hit streak to 11 games.

Belt struck out on all four of his at bats. Bochy said Belt was a defensive key to managing Cleveland’s mostly left-handed lineup, but also said that he could benefit from a break:

“We may have to take that bat away … he’s gotta be frustrated, as a hitter when you think you’re right on it and you’re swinging right through them.”

The Giants face the San Diego Padres (12-14, 5th place NL West) at AT&T Park Monday at 7:15 p.m.

Notes

Yan Gomes’ home run in the eighth inning ended Cleveland’s streak of 52 innings without a home run. … Sergio Romo was the winning pitcher, Cody Allen the losing one. …Vogelsong’s ERA dipped from 7.71 to 5.40 after Sunday’s game. … Sunday’s 258th consecutive sellout (attendance 41,530) set a new National League record. The Giants have sold out every home game since a Thursday afternoon game against Arizona that drew 37,261 on Sept. 30, 2010.

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