PHILADELPHIA – Buster Posey made everyone work deep into the night. Brandon Crawford made sure it was worth the effort.
And closer Tim Lincecum – yes, you read that right – led the handshake line after recording his first career save.
For the second consecutive night, the Giants bullpen was a succession of heroes in a 9-6, 14-inning victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday.
Posey hit a tying home run with one out in the ninth against Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had faced 148 batters without yielding a single homer all year. Crawford unloaded the bases with a two-out double in the 14th off right-hander Jeff Manship.
The Giants only got that far because a dogged bullpen gave the Giants more lives than a fat tabby. Manager Bruce Bochy has made 13 pitching changes in two victories in South Philly. In their 15th inning pitched this series, the relievers finally allowed their first run.
George Kontos, who pitched two innings on Monday after rejoining the club, was the last reliever standing Tuesday and followed with 2 1/3 more before running out of gas in the 14th. So Lincecum made his second career regular-season relief appearance.
He entered with a four-run lead and allowed one of two inherited runners to score before recording his first career save.
The game took five hours, 46 minutes and ended seven minutes before 1 a.m. EST Wednesday.
Starting pitching report
All the happenings in the ninth inning and beyond aside, a quality start probably would’ve been enough to beat the Phillies in neater fashion.
But Yusmeiro Petit, who is subbing an indeterminate length of time for Matt Cain, couldn’t provide it while allowing five runs in five innings. Moments after Hunter Pence almost hit a center field cheesesteak stand with a tiebreaking home run in the fifth, Petit threw a meatball that Jimmy Rollins hit for a two-run shot.
Petit was making his sixth start and his first since May 31 at St. Louis, and while some of those came on short notice, the Giants knew for awhile that Cain would be touch-and-go for his first start out of the All-Star break.
Petit found himself in a jam right away, and the 1-0 lead handed to him disappeared before he could record an out. The first three batters went single, steal, walk, single. An RBI ground out made it 2-1.
He let another lead slip away in the fifth when Ben Revere singled ahead of Rollins’ shot into the right-center seats. Marlon Byrd added an RBI double that center fielder Gregor Blanco couldn’t catch near the track.
The Giants bullpen was unscored upon in 14.1 innings against the Phillies in this series. Juan Gutierrez, Javier Lopez, Jean Machi and Sergio Romo pieced it together. Romo ditched his familiar high socks while striking out one in a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
It got scary in the bottom of the ninth against Jeremy Affeldt. Rollins reached when shortstop Brandon Crawford committed his 15th error, matching his total from last season. Crawford could’ve recovered from the bobble or the double clutch, but not both. Chase Utley followed with a single off second baseman Ehire Adrianza’s glove that put runners at the corners. Affeldt recovered to strike out Ryan Howard in an at-bat when Hector Sanchez stopped a pitch in the dirt from ending the game. Then Byrd grounded out to send the game to extra innings.
Affeldt ended up starting his third inning but lost Domonic Brown on a 10-pitch walk, and with 39 pitches, Bruce Bochy wasn’t going to stretch the left-hander any more than that. Santiago Casilla entered, and after a sacrifice bunt moved the potential winning run to second base, Rollins fouled off four pitches before failing to check his swing on an offering in the dirt. The Giants intentionally walked Utley to face Howard, who grounded out to boos from the leavings of the crowd.
The Phillies threatened in the 12th against Kontos, who threw two innings the previous night and had trouble locating while issuing two walks. But left fielder Tyler Colvin tracked down Brown’s deep drive near the wall to end the inning.
Kontos threw 40 pitches one day after throwing 21. He was the winning pitcher, and well deserved, in both victories.
Kontos only retired one of his three batters in the 14th so Lincecum, who is scheduled to start on Friday against the Dodgers at AT&T Park, jogged to the mound. He allowed an RBI ground out and issued a walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but Brown mercifully grounded out to end it.
At the plate
The Giants had a runner in scoring position in each of the first seven innings but couldn’t blow the game open.
Pablo Sandoval put them on the board with a double in the first inning and the Giants manufactured a run in the second when Blanco walked, stole second base, took third on catcher Cameron Rupp’s errant throw and scored on Crawford’s ground out.
Pence put them ahead in the fifth when he crushed his 13th home run to dead center, calculated at 454 feet by ESPN Stats and Info. It was his second 450-plus foot homer this season. The only other three big leaguers with two of those are Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Upton and Pence’s own #LaserSwag buddy, Michael Morse.
The Giants cut it to a one-run deficit in the seventh when Ehire Adrianza doubled and Posey hit an infield single that hit the lip of the grass and got past Utley for an error.
They were down to their last breath facing a closer who had converted 23 of 25 saves when Posey connected on a first-pitch fastball from Papelbon. It was the first homer allowed all season by Papelbon, who had faced 148 batters prior to Posey’s shot.
It was Posey’s third career home run in the ninth inning or later that either tied the game or put the Giants ahead. He finished a triple short of the cycle, matched his career high with three extra-base hits, improved to 10 for 23 on the trip (.435) and took the team lead with 53 RBIs.
Once in extra innings, the Giants didn’t get a runner into scoring position until the 14th when Posey floated a one-out double that split the outfielders in right-center. Following an intentional walk, a savvy sacrifice from Kontos in his fourth big league plate appearance and another walk to Blanco, Crawford laced a pitch to the wall in left field to unload the bases.
Crawford entered the game hitting just .207 against right-handed pitchers.
Random note: Hector Sanchez drew the first intentional walk of his career.
Sandoval had a rough first inning. He stumbled out of the batter’s box on his double, and then he hit his chin hard against the turf while trying to catch a foul pop.
Blanco couldn’t catch Byrd’s ball on the track in the fifth, but Byrd did not return the favor in the sixth. He made a leaping catch near the right field wall to take away an extra-base hit in the sixth.
Brown, who entered left field as part of a double switch, bumped the wall while catching Sandoval’s deep drive to strand a runner in the 11th.
The Phillies announced 30,109 paid. It was just cool enough for a steak, just warm enough for a water ice. (Hoagies are an all-weather food choice.)
The Giants might have lost a player along the way, as Joe Panik sprained his right ankle while stepping on first base at the same time as pitcher Roberto Hernandez (nee Fausto Carmona). He sustained the injury in the first inning and was replaced at second base in the bottom of the second.
If his parents stayed till the end, they are officially the most dedicated baseball parents of all time.
The Giants and Phillies continue their four-game series at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday. Madison Bumgarner (11-7, 3.38) takes the mound against Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett (6-9, 4.08). First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. PDT.