Just like the 2012 World Series, the 2012 Rising Stars Game ended with a Giants closer getting a punchout. San Francisco prospect Heath Hembree struck out Red Sox prospect Michael Almanzar with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to secure a 9-4 win for the East Division.
The East, managed by former Giant third baseman Matt Williams, recorded 12 hits and rode a six-run fifth inning to victory in front of 5,713 fans at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Giants top prospect Gary Brown hit second for the East and went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a strikeout. Brown singled in the bottom of the fourth inning to plate Diamondbacks prospect Chris Owings, break up a tie game and force a pitching change.
Left-handed first baseman Ricky Oropesa pinch hit for Jonathan Singleton in the fifth inning, lashing a 1-0 pitch past the drawn-in infield to right that scored Nationials' speedster Brian Goodwin for the East's sixth run of the frame.
It wasn't all bad for the West, though.
A's prospect James Simmons pitched the sixth inning and worked a perfect frame with a fly out, a ground out and a strikeout.
Former Giants prospect Tommy Joseph, who was traded to the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade, went 1-for-2 with one runner left on base for the losing squad.
CHICAGO — This time, the comeback would not be completed.
The Giants nearly gave away a six-run lead in their first game against the Cubs since the NLDS collapse, but they held on for a 6-4 win. Ty Blach was strong into the eighth, Joe Panik had a monster night, and Mark Melancon closed it out. The Giants are 3-1 on the road trip and have won eight of 10 overall.
Here are five things to know from the first night back at Wrigley …
--- Manager Bruce Bochy had to have a sick and familiar feeling in his stomach as he walked out to the mound for the third pitching change of the eighth. Hunter Strickland fell behind with two on, but he got Willson Contreras to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
--- Blach’s career numbers against the Cubs, including the postseason: 10 1/3 innings, 3 earned runs. The two relief appearances last October helped convince the staff he could make the transition. Turns out he’s pretty good against them as a starter, too.
--- A perfect example of why Blach is so successful despite not having blow-you-away stuff came in the sixth. Albert Almora blooped a single to right and Blach alertly followed him to first, which had been vacated by Brandon Belt. Almora never imagined anyone was covering first, and when Justin Ruggiano threw behind the runner, Blach was there to catch the ball and fire it down to second to nab Almora, who had gone halfway.
--- The Giants entered the night with a .351 slugging percentage, last in the Majors. John Lackey came in allowing opponents to slug .487, ninth-worst in the National League. Sometimes it’s all just too neat. The Giants had two homers and three doubles in five innings off Lackey.
--- All three Giants homers were solo shots. That’s 18 solos in a row, three shy of the MLB record, held by the 2011 Giants.
CHICAGO -- Denard Span's first week off the DL showed what a game-changer he can be when healthy. Unfortunately for the Giants, he's no longer healthy.
Span is out of the lineup Monday with a left thumb sprain and he's unlikely to be available Tuesday. Span has felt the discomfort for about a week and it got worse Sunday against the Cardinals.
"Yesterday was not fun. I got jammed the second at-bat and fouled a ball off and the rest of the game was bad," Span said, adding that hitting coach Hensley Meulens showed him video of his thumb instinctively coming off the bat during his later swings.
Span said his palm is swollen right near the thumb, and he was wearing a wrap on the area Monday. He is 13-for-43 with two homers and six RBI since coming off the DL, helping with the turnaround. Prior to the last homestand, Span missed 17 games with a shoulder injury.