Giants salvage series closer against Phillies

AT&T PARK — The Giants have played well at home this season. But against the Phillies, they were glad to salvage the series finale and avoid the three-game sweep.

The stopper was none other than Barry Zito, who has gone from overpaid goat to crafty left-hander in the last two seasons.

Though Zito would not get the win because of a blown save opportunity by Sergio Romo in the 9th, the Giants rallied in the 10th on a game-winning RBI single by Andres Torres to beat the Phillies 4-3.

Zito pitched seven innings, allowed only four hits and a run, no walks and struck out three.  He got high praise from Phillies manager Charlie Manuel:

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel

Audio: Ryan Leong/SFBay

“I saw the same guy that I thought I was going to see…a guy that had good command and knows how to pitch, got a tremendous feel for pitching. He uses all of his pitches and keeps the ball down. You’ve got to try to make him bring the ball up. He does a good job, he knows how to pitch.”

Marco Scutaro was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Hunter Pence hit his team-leading seventh home run in the second inning.

In the 10th, Buster Posey pinch-hit and singled to center. Joaquin Arias, also inserted as a pinch-hitter, sacrificed to move Posey to second.

On a wild pitch, Posey advanced to third. Brandon Crawford walked but Guillermo Quiroz struck out. Torres came through with a single to right, easily scoring Posey.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy praised Torres for being ready when his number was called:

Giants manager Bruce Bochy

Video: CSN Bay Area

“You hate to be in a situation where you need a clutch hit, but these guys are fighting it and that’s what it’s all about. … Torres comes up and picks us up, and Buster did a great job going to third on that.”

The Giants celebrated in their usual fashion following a walkoff win, mobbing Torres as he rounded first base.

The game, however, had to be decided in extra innings because the Giants failed to hold a two-run lead in the 9th. But after a win in their final at-bat, Posey was happy with the outcome:

Giants catcher Buster Posey

Video: CSN Bay Area

“Ideally we’d like to win some games by more than one or two runs eventually but we’ve got a group of guys that’s going to continue to scrap and go out there and put pressure on the other team.”

Alameda native Jimmy Rollins doubled to right to lead off the 9th. Former Giant Kevin Frandsen — who had homered in the 4th inning — flied out to right.

On the play, Rollins advanced to third. Michael Young walked. Chase Utley singled to center scoring Rollins. Center fielder Gregor Blanco was so intent on trying to throw out Michael Young at third he forgot about Utley, who wisely took second on the throw.

Runners were now on second and third because of Blanco’s failure to throw to the cut off man, changing the scenario of the inning. Delmon Young flied out to right field allowing Michael Young to tie the game.

In the bottom of the 9th, Blanco reached on an infield single. He tried to steal second and actually beat the throw. But on his slide, his rear leg was the one that reached the bag. Rollins took the relay throw, wisely putting his glove next to the base and tagged Blanco’s leg as it touched second.

Scutaro doubled to right-center but was stranded as Pablo Sandoval and Pence flied out to end the frame.

Earlier, in the fourth inning, the Giants squandered a golden opportunity to take a lead.

Sandoval walked. With one out, Brandon Belt also walked. With runners on first and second, Francisco Peguero hit a grounder to second. Belt eluded the tag but, perhaps thinking he had ran out of the baseline, he failed to run towards second base and was tagged out at second.

The next play was a fly out to center by Brandon Crawford. Had Belt been safe at second, the bases would have been loaded and Sandoval could have scored on a sac-fly.

But the Giants did get out in front in the 5th inning. Blanco rocketed a ball off the base off the right-center wall just to the left of the 365-foot sign. Blanco stole second and scored on a RBI single to center by Marco Scutaro.

Sandoval followed with a bloop single to right advancing Scutaro to third base. Pence grounded to first ending the inning.

The game turned in the 6th inning. Belt led off with a walk. With two outs, and Belt on second base, Manuel elected to intentionally walk catcher Guillermo Quiroz to face Zito who — on paper — is the easier out.

But the strategy backfired when Zito singled to right, scoring Belt.

Notes

The Giants have won all five of Zito’s home starts in 2013.  His outing is only the third quality start by Giants starters in the last 11 games.  … Casilla left the game in the 8th inning with a right knee injury. … Phillies manager Charlie Manuel skippered his 1,331st game with Philadelphia, tying Gene Mauch for most-ever in franchise history.