Giants, Posey walk their way to extra-inning win

The Giants were three outs away from stealing a win over the Toronto Blue Jays in the top of the ninth.

With the count at 3-2, Michael Saunders launched a home run off Santiago Casilla deep to center field to tie the game at 4-4. Casilla blew the save and sent the limping Giants offense into an extra-inning tailspin.

It took four more innings and a few mistakes, but the Giants walked off, with a walk, in the 13th with a 5-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

The shrimpy walk-off was a culmination of scrappy production and patience on the Giants’ side; it took until the 13th to reach a struggling Ryan Tepera, who immediately hit Brandon Belt with a pitch to lead off the inning.

Denard Span laid down what was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt, but Troy Tulowitzki fumbled it, leaving everyone safe on base with no outs.

Tepera (L, 0-1, 11.57 ERA) grew erratic, throwing a wild pitch to advance runners into scoring position and intentionally walked Joe Panik to start anew. Bases loaded, one out, four and a half hours deep–it was only a matter of time, Buster Posey watched four balls whizz by and Belt trotted in, said Posey of the win:

“You get to the point where you’re almost four and a half hours in, doesn’t really matter.”

The nature of the win was only fitting, too; this wasn’t a day for grandiose walk-off wins. It ended the way it was supposed to end. The Giants’ four other runs were barely scratched in, as the offense essentially just tried to make any contact they could off the undefeated Marcus Stroman.

But, like Bruce Bochy‘s said through the rough skid: execution, getting the small things done, will spark the offense. Today a surprisingly sloppy Tulo and a little luck propelled the Giants’ little offensive bursts. 

He fumbled a Conor Gillaspie ground ball that had double play potential that left Brandon Crawford and Gillaspie–who was called out, but deemed safe upon review– on base with no outs. Gregor Blanco hit an actual RBI single to get the Giants on the board.

Span and Joe Panik pushed two hits up the middle that h0pped perfectly past Tulo and Darwin Barney to lead off the fifth and Matt Duffy drew a walk to load the bases with no outs.

Posey hit into a double play and Span trotted home for a crucial run, but Posey spun in a rare sign of frustration as the umpire punched him out at first. Hunter Pence followed with a big first-pitch swing of the bat, doubling to score the Giants’ fourth run.

Posey’s double play, though productive, was one of three from the Giants. That’s Stroman’s game: He ranks second in ground ball percentage in the league and, today, incurred an 80 percent ground ball rate.

Despite giving up four runs, Stroman was stingy and especially potent against a team struggling mightily with runners in scoring position. San Francisco went 2-for-7 today. Bochy said:

“We had so many chances and we couldn’t get it and that can be frustrating.”

Madison Bumgarner kept this one interesting, as he was able to suppress the relentless Jays lineup. Except for Josh Donaldson, who got two hits off Bumgarner (four overall), the Jays were silent.

Bumgarner tossed 6-2/3 innings and gave up just one run on three hits. He still wasn’t satisfied with his performance, as usual — he struggled a little bit with his command, walking four. Though he looked to be playing it cautious against the heart of the lineup.

Bumgarner dug himself an early hole after a 31-pitch first inning. Said Bochy:

“Pitch count got up there, but I thought he really threw well against a tough lineup. You re-group there and he did a real nice job.”

With Bumgarner out, the Jays inched a little closer in the eighth against Cory Gearrin; a sac fly and RBI single cut the Giants’ lead to 4-3.

But the quickly-thinning bullpen pulled out all the stops in extras: Derek Law, Javier Lopez, Josh Osich, Hunter Strickland and Albert Suarez (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) — who picked up his first Major League win — shut up the loud Jays just long enough.

Posey said:

I thought the guys that came in the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th did a great job. They’re facing a lineup that’s got a lot of power up and down and they were able to keep them off the board and we were able to scratch one out.”

Bochy said, had it gone on, Jake Peavy was the next guy in line to take over.

So, the Giants take their second long game of the week. They embark on a road trip to Arizona and San Diego tomorrow. Was this week taxing, Buster?

“I’ll let you know tomorrow.”


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.