AT&T PARK — Southpaw Madison Bumgarner warmed up to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” on Wednesday afternoon.
But there was certainly nothing simple — civil, or drama-free — about the battle that he and the Giants were about to put up in the series finale against the San Diego Padres.
Bumgarner earned his seventh victory of the season and even got into a scuffle that cleared out both teams dugouts.
But it was pinch-hitters Hector Sanchez and Gregor Blanco that got the Giants offense hot in the seventh inning for a come-from behind 4-2 victory over the Padres. The Giants end up taking two out of three in the series and are a game-and-a-half behind the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks.
Manager Bruce Bochy said it was the crew off the bench late in the game that won the game for the team:
Giants manager Bruce Bochy
Video: CSN Bay Area
“When you go through a season, it’s going to take everybody. Twenty-five guys. It’s going to take those guys off of the bench, you need to have depth. … This is what makes it work, when you have those guys getting the job done for you and today they did.”
Following a strikeout to open up the top of the second inning, Bumgarner’s first pitch thrown behind Jesus Guzman was a move thought to be in response to some showboating on Guzman’s part after a homer he’d hit in Tuesday night’s game.
Home plate umpire Tony Randazzo tried to stand in front of Guzman to keep him from charging the mound, but Bumgarner stalked towards the San Diego first baseman.
Both dugouts emptied as players spilled onto the diamond. Once everyone returned to their respective benches, Bumgarner retired Guzman with two pitches and kept the Padres from scoring during the heated inning.
The skipper responded to the tussle with a fatherly tone in his voice:
“You know, these things happen. It is part of baseball. But you know, the guys settled down and it turned out to be a pretty good ball game.”
Will Venable put the visitors on the board in the third inning with a lead-off homer to the arcade in right to put the Padres ahead 1-0.
San Francisco responded in the fourth inning, starting with a lead-off single up the gap from Hunter Pence. Joaquin Arias followed that up with a single that bounced into right-center and subsequently moved Pence to third.
After a long battle at the plate, Brandon Belt hit a pop up to left field that San Diego’s Kyle Blanks dropped. The RBI single sent the speedy Pence rocketing to home plate to tie the game 1-1.
Guzman struck again to open up the seventh with a solo shot over the far left field fence to San Diego the 2-1 advantage.
But San Francisco wasn’t going to drag on through the rest of the game trailing its Southern California foes. Tony Abreu hit a one-out single in the bottom of the 7th which took San Diego starter Eric Stults out of the game.
Reliever Luke Gregerson came in to face a crop of Giants hitters fresh off of the bench. Hector Sanchez, batting in the pitcher’s spot, lasered a single into right to move Abreu to third.
Then Gregor Blanco came up to the plate, smacking an RBI triple that cleared the bases, putting the home team on top for the first time all afternoon 3-2.
Hopefully nobody in the crowd blinked, because the next two batters also found holes in the Padres’ defense. Marco Scutaro’s single up the center field green brought Blanco home bringing the score to 4-2. Posey then smacked the ball into a similar spot to get on first base, signaling the end of Gregerson’s short tenure.
Bochy elaborated on the efforts of the guys on the bench:
“You can’t have those regulars out there all time, and you have to deal with the injuries and the times that they need the day off. And in the National League you’re hitting for the pitcher. So those guys that are coming off the bench are usually coming in at a critical part of the game, so it’s nice to see those two guys come through for us.”
San Diego’s Tyson Ross struck out the next five batters in order, but it would be too little too late to shut down the Giants. Sergio Romo was lights out in the ninth, notching his 18th save throwing 10 of his 12 pitches for strikes.
The homestand continues Thursday as the Giants send Chad Gaudin to the mound for the first of a four game series against the Miami Marlins. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
The Giants are 2-1 on their current homestand. … They have won six consecutive series against the Padres at AT&T Park. … Bumgarner’s seven wins leads the starting rotation. It also marks the first time this season that he has given up two home runs in the same game. The last time was September 29, 2012 at San Diego. … Hunter Pence had two hits, snapping an 0-for-10 slump. … Joaquin Arias extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games. … After Wednesday’s two-run triple, Gregor Blanco is now 2-for-6 with 5 RBIs as a pinch-hitter this season. … It was the 200th consecutive regular season sellout at AT&T Park.