Giants win with big third inning

Hunter Pence lost Yunel Escobar‘s sharp line drive in the Vallejo fire haze, allowing Bryce Harper to score easily in the first inning.

Ian Desmond sent a solo shot that fell a just few feet shy of the Coke Bottle slide, 477 feet out, in the second inning.

For a minute, it seemed that the Giants had no answer this time around.

But they responded with some of the same resilience they’ve become well-respected for.

The Giants, clearly, were just waiting for the third, where they unleashed a triple, three doubles, a single and two walks for a total six runs on Washington starter Gio Gonzalez, securing San Francisco’s 12-6 win over the Nats on Saturday night.

This story has been updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the Giants clubhouse.

They’ve now pocketed a combined 14 runs in just 11-2/3 innings against Washington’s star-studded rotation, but Gonzalez really took the brunt of the beating. Bruce Bochy said he wasn’t expecting that kind of offense this round:

“Going into the series with the starters we were facing, I thought these would be really close games. It’s baseball. We faced some really good pitching. Strasburg was tough, we found a way to get enough runs off him and then, you know, next two days, you don’t expect to score those kinds of runs off those guys, but they’re human.”

Peavy echoed his team’s confidence:

“It’s hard to explain. This game’s a funny game. Only thing I can say is I promise you, no matter who we have on any particular night, we feel like we’re going to win. … We figured out a way to beat Scherzer, we figured out a way to beat Strasburg.”

Gio lasted just 2-2/3 innings–he hadn’t gone fewer than three since 2010–after facing SF’s entire lineup in that third.

Kelby Tomlinson woke the crowd up with a sharp line drive into the alley to lead off, taking a risky trip between second and third to secure the triple.

After Hector Sanchez drew a walk, Jake Peavy worked a seven-pitch walk that got Nats’ pitching coach Steve McNatty out of his dugout perch and was quickly ejected.

Something you don’t see much — it was his first ejection as a coach —  but the Giants kept rolling, said Peavy:

“I’m trying as hard as our position players are trying, I can tell you that. … I know what that’s like on the other end. So I knew we were in a good situation. … Staying out of the double play and giving our best shot.”

And so they did. Gregor Blanco singled up the middle to score Tomlinson and Matt Duffy, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawofrd pushed a couple RBI doubles to put the Giants up 6-2 and send Gio packing. Said Bochy:

“Gonzalez, felt like he was in a groove there for the first couple innings and we just put some pressure on him in that third inning.”

Belt’s three-spot invasion turned the top of this lineup into a pitcher’s nightmare. The Blanco, Duffy, Belt triple punch made up for six runs and seven RBI Saturday night.

The Giants were all squared for a clean get away, but that third straight win fell heavy on Jake Peavy’s shoulders. Like Matt Cain last night, Peavy let the Nats come a little too close.

And the trouble all came to a head in one, pesky inning.

In the sixth, the Nationals mustered a one-out rally that started with an Ian Desmond single and Jason Werth walk. Jose Lobaton cracked a base-clearing double, score 9-4.

Peavy worked a Ryan Zimmerman out but fell victim to a Michael Taylor triple that almost turned into an inside the park-er after Belt botched a throw to third.

He’s not a left fielder, so a little slack is fair.

Suddenly the Giants’ lead was cut to four, and Jake Peavy had to go. He lasted just 5-2/3 innings and gave up nine hits on 84 pitches.

That’s been the talk around China Basin, the overcrowded rotation, and Bruce Bochy has kept his mouth zipped on most matters surrounding his less than sturdy starting pitching lot.

He assured everyone that he was satisfied with Peavy’s outing:

“Peavy settled down, first two innings he was missing his spots a couple times but he got us in the sixth inning.”

He’ll have to speak up soon with Mike Leake due back on Tuesday. Tim Hudson, too, is butting his way back to the City after 2-2/3 shutout innings in San Jose that he said went better than expected.

Josh Osich has options, but his flaming fastballs and .84 ERA make’s for a tough sendoff.

The shrinking lead was no matter for the big Giants’ offense, who tacked on three more runs in the sixth and eighth innings.

Kelby breaks out. Again.

Tomlinson got the nod at second today and didn’t disappoint. He went 2-for-3 including the rally sparking triple in the third. Not bad.

Then in the fifth inning, Tanner Roark intentionally walked Crawford with Belt on first to get to the rookie.

Big mistake, and Tomlinson make ’em pay with a line drive that hopped off the third base line and cleared the bases. A star is born.

Said Tomlinson:

“I’m gonna treat it just like any at bat. … I can’t let what they do to the hitter in front of me change what I’m gonna do.”

He’s got a little Duffy in him, it seems. Similar short, compact swings and aggression on the base paths. His teammates, like Peavy, agreed:

“I got to play with him down in the minor leagues and saw the type of player he is. He fits the mold. He’s a Matt Duffy-ish type of player, with that tool set. … He expects to contribute and doesn’t shy away from the moment.”

Bochy likes the look of this rookie’s swing:

“He’s got that type of swing where he’s gonna be consistent. … He’s gonna be a consistent hitter with that swing and balance.”

 


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