Giants mix luck with toughness to sweep Astros

August 31, 2012, 4:59 am
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HOUSTON No escaping it: The Giants got a bit lucky in thisseries at Minute Maid Park. They needed to engineer two come-from-behind escapesto accomplish a three-game sweep. Both times, their go-ahead hits werebroken-bat bloops.

And they needed to erase a four-run deficit behind RyanVogelsong to complete their biggest comeback of the season in Thursday nights8-4 victory over the Houston Astros.

But hey, its better to be lucky than on pace to lose 112games.

A great comeback a couple great comebacks here, Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy said. They played us tough and were glad to get out ofhere winning all three. Were battling hard. They kept pushing and Vogey helpedhimself.

Eight different players scored the Giants eight runs, whichneatly sums up the collaborative thrust of this comeback.

But the rally truly started in the fifth when Vogelsongslug-bunted the Giants into position for a big score. Bochy had to let theright-hander hit because he used six relievers the previous night, but he didntwant to give away an out with a 4-0 deficit.

So Vogelsong squared, then pulled the bat back.

He can handle the bat, said Bochy, of Vogelsongs grounderthrough the newly vacated hole on the left side. And it makes it easier whenthe pitcher gets behind.

Vogelsong wasnt surprised to see the sign once the countreached 1-0. In fact, he was glad to get another shot to swing the bat, sincehis lineout with the bases loaded in the second inning was probably thehardest I hit a ball all year.

The gambit led to a three-run inning that cut the Astros' lead to 4-3, and as Vogelsong said, "When we cut it to one, I had a good feeling we were going to put some more runs up."

As for the way he settled down on the mound? Vogelsongcouldnt take much credit for that.

I was just trying to find myself, really, said Vogelsong,who certainly has hit a snag over his last six starts in what had been aseamless season. I was grinding tonight, I really was. I was trying everythingto get myself right. It would work for a couple pitches, and then it went away.

It came down, really, to throwing it over the plate andseeing what happened.

So a little luck was required there, too.

But throw in a bit of belief and toughness as well.

He left the ball up and they took advantage, but you knowwhat? He kept grinding, Bochy said. Its a gritty, gutty effort. He knew weneeded innings and he kept going and going and he got a win out of it. It showsyou how tough he is.

The Giants will have to be resilient again very, very soon.They had barely 13 hours to bus to the airport, fly nearly 1,000 miles, bus totheir hotel, pretend to fall asleep for a few hours and then get on the bus forday baseball at Wrigley Field.

By the time the Giants finish this weekend series inChicago, they will have played 12 of 16 on the road. Oh yeah, and theyll havea fourth consecutive day game on Monday a Labor Day matinee at AT&T Park.

Bochy said Buster Posey likely would get the day off Fridaybecause his ankle got a little cranky Thursday night after three games on thehard surface in Houston.

He said he felt like he was catching on concrete, Bochysaid.

But Bochy plans to find a place for Joaquin Arias, whoentered as a pinch hitter and raised his average to .429 in August with a homerun off a right-hander, no less.

Weve got to go with the hot hand, Bochy said.

Hopefully all hands will be alert enough for a "strap it on" game.

Its a tough schedule, Bochy said. Its a tough group.Theyll be ready to go.

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