Sizzling Morse leads Giants to 2nd straight
AT&T PARK — While half the Bay Area flocked south to see the 49ers’ new digs in Santa Clara, others stayed up in breezy San Francisco to watch the Giants win their second straight at home for the first time since early June.
The Giants pulled past the Phillies Saturday afternoon 5-2 to take what has been an air-tight series against a last-place team.
The offensive mojo from the late innings on Saturday carried through to Sunday on the heels of a hot Michael Morse, who went 3-for-3.
Morse has reached base safely in his last nine plate appearances. The last Giant to accomplish this feat was Bengie Molina in 2010.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Morse attributes his improvement at the plate to a calmer demeanor:
“I’m getting hits. It’s the same thing as yesterday, just try not to do too much. Just try to put it in play… I’m being more patient, getting my pitch to hit.”
Brandon Crawford and youngsters Joe Panik and Andrew Susac didn’t leave Morse stranded on base either.
The bottom half of the lineup knocked in three of the five runs in the second and fourth innings off Phillies starter David Buchanan (L, 6-7, 4.25 ERA). The other two came on sacrifice flies in the eighth.
Injuries to key players like Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro have left deep holes in the lineup that have proven difficult to fill. But throughout this series, newcomers mixed right into the offensive dance flawlessly. Panik and Susac combined for six of the Giants’ 11 hits and an RBI.
Fans are starting to recognize their efforts. A few Panik-themed signs trickled into AT&T, and fans are warming up to the sound of Susac’s name in their supportive cheers.
Susac showed his worth on the other side of the plate handling Lincecum and made a perfect pick-off in the first to derail a Phillies scoring opportunity.
Susac said of his game at the plate:
“I got good pitches, got good counts. (Buchanan) left me a good first pitch breaking ball my second at bat for the RBI thatt was middle-middle. Saw it pop out of his hand and put a good swing on it. Main focus today was to keep the ball on the ground because the ball really wasn’t going anywhere today in the air. Pretty good wind from center field.”
Said Bochy of Susac’s performance:
“He’s played well in his spot starts. I thought he did a great job with Timmy. Timmy was a little erratic and he did a great job blocking balls and he made a great throw in the first inning, which was huge. Big out there because Timmy was struggling. He was getting some big hits. … He’s done a nice job as a back up.
Despite the score, starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (W, 10-8, 4.48 ERA) was inconsistent on the mound. He struggled to find the strike zone from the get-go, throwing pitches in the dirt and walking four batters and hitting one in his five inning outing.
Lincecum wasn’t pleased with his outing:
“Things weren’t doing what I wanted them to do earlier and they started to a little later. … I know I didn’t have my best stuff but I was going to work with what I had.”
Though Lincecum wasn’t able to take command of his pitches, he managed to keep most of the runners behind him, allowing just two of his 11 baserunners to come home. He kept at it for 97 pitches and said he had more in the tank, but Bochy wasn’t going to risk it.
Lincecum’s most notable pitch: a 3-1 changeup that induced Grady Sizemore to hit into a double play. Lincecum had hit Marlon Byrd with a pitch the previous at-bat.
The bullpen completely iced the Phillies lineup to end the game, notching nine strikeouts as a whole. Javier Lopez and Jean Machi teamed up in the seventh to strike out the side. Sergio Romo notched three strikeouts in the eighth before Santiago Casilla pitched a 1-2-3 inning to end the game.
Lincecum was pleased to have them as his back up:
“They were doing an outstanding job to pick us up when we needed it. I mean Romo, Casilla, Machi, Lopez, all of them, I mean all of them did their part and did it well.”
On his double to right field, Joe Panik slid into second and dislocated his pinky in the process. Trainer Dave Groeschner put it back in place, but Panik’s availability for the series in Chicago is still up in the air.