Tempers tempered as Giants take series against Marlins

No sparks were flying in a Wednesday afternoon tilt between new rivals, the Giants and Miami Marlins. But a five-run sixth inning was just enough to help San Francisco squeak by Miami 6-5 at AT&T Park.

The contest got off to an ominous start for the Giants in the bottom of the first, when shortstop Alen Hanson, who has seen the ball quite well since being reinstated from the disabled list on June 2, exited the game after fouling the ball off his knee. Hanson’s injury ended up being a left knee contusion, and the timetable for his return is unknown.

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

Left-hander Derek Holland (W, 5-7, 4.48 ERA) got the start for San Francisco, and in the top of the second allowed Marlins third baseman Miguel Rojas to get the scoring going with a two out single scoring left fielder Cameron Maybin to give the Fish an early 1-0 lead.

Marlins starting pitcher José Ureña (L, 2-9, 4.40 ERA) was dialed in to start the game. After a rough top of the first, when he allowed two hits and a runner to reach third base, the Giants did not pick up another hit until the bottom of the fourth.

Brandon Belt led off the fourth with a single. But was immediately followed by a Pablo Sandoval double play, effectively ending the Giants’ hopes for scoring in the inning.

Holland, who has struggled at home entering Wednesday’s game with a 5.55 ERA at AT&T Park, ended up settling in as well for the G-Men.

Despite errors by Nick Hundley and Belt in the top of the third, Holland escaped the frame without allowing a run. He ended up throwing an even 100 pitches in six plus innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out seven Miami batters. Holland spoke on his performance:

“The main thing was, I felt Hundo [Hundley] and I did a great job of establishing what we needed to, getting ahead in the count against hitters. … We didn’t really give up that much hard contact, I think that was the bigger positive going into it. I know that the line says gave up three runs, but … these guys did a good job of keeping the momentum on our side.”

The Giant offense finally figured out Ureña the third time through the lineup. The first four batters reached base in the bottom of the sixth. The third batter, Belt, tied the game at one after lining a ground-rule double to deep right-center. After Sandoval was intentionally walked to load the bases, a ground ball by right fielder Mac Williamson gave the Giants the 2-1 advantage with two outs. The struggling Hunter Pence, batting next, came through with an RBI single to stretch the lead to 3-1 San Francisco.

Pence proceeded to steal second, which allowed Gorkys Hernández to hit a two RBI single with another two out knock, making it a five run inning and a 5-1 lead for the Giants. Manager Bruce Bochy did not mince words regarding Hernández’s at-bat:

“Gorkys’ at-bat, well, that was the key to the game. He really grinded out that at-bat …13, 14 pitches, and … came through with the huge hit there to give us a cushion.”

This huge inning was enough to chase Ureña from the ballgame. He ended up throwing 99 pitches in five and two-thirds innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. Belt spoke on this big inning:

“[We] just had good approaches up there, and we made him come to us a little bit more. Earlier in the game, he was getting us out with balls that we were chasing out of the zone a little bit. A guy like that is tough, because his ball moves so much, he kept people off-balance.”

The Marlins started a comeback effort in the top of the seventh. Once Holland was replaced by lefty Tony Watson, pinch hitter Yadiel Rivera scored Lewis Brinson from third with a sacrifice fly, cutting the Giants’ lead to 5-2 with one out. Two batters later, the advantage was just 5-3 following an RBI single from second baseman Starlin Castro. However, Watson escaped the inning without allowing further damage.

In the bottom of the eighth, San Francisco picked up some insurance. Two batters after a leadoff double and an error allowed Hundley to reach third, Pence singled him in to give the Giants a three run cushion at 6-3.

This was just enough support after newly appointed Giants closer Sam Dyson exited the game following two runs from Miami that made the final score 6-5. Righty Reyes Moronta (S, 1, 1.91 ERA) replaced him and ultimately recorded the one out save, the first of his career. Bochy talked about the finish:

“It was a tough series … we had leads, couldn’t hold on … it was just a hard-fought series, not to do a play on words there, with what happened yesterday … but today, their guy was really tough, and we found a way to get some runs there.”

ON DECK

The Giants continue their homestand against the San Diego Padres Thursday night at 7:15 p.m. Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 4.67 ERA) is scheduled to make his fourth start of the season against righty Tyson Ross (5-4, 3.51 ERA).

NOTES

Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to make his second rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento Thursday night. Samardzija has missed the last 19 games with right shoulder tightness. … Andrew McCutchen has the second-most hits in the National League this month with 25. The Giants continue their success at home. … San Francisco has now gone 7-0-1 (win-loss-split) in the team’s last eight home series.