PHOENIX -– When you are managing a two-time World Series winning team, and when that team is caught in one of those inevitable funks, there are many tweaks you can try to break through.
But ultimately, there’s just one option. You have to trust your players.
Bruce Bochy trusted Sergio Romo in a huge spot in the ninth inning Saturday night, and the Giants broke a six-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
After a hand-on-shoulder visit from Bochy, Romo challenged Paul Goldschmidt with the tying runs in scoring position and first base open. Hunter Pence raced back to catch a drive near the warning track and Romo, who hadn’t pitched since blowing back-to-back saves last Friday and Saturday of the previous week against the Rockies, emphatically pointed to the sky.
Tyler Colvin slapped a huge two-out, two-run single in the first inning, Pence hit a moon shot into the restaurant above the second deck in left field and Pablo Sandoval hit a pair of RBI singles as the Giants battered Brandon McCarthy.
Ryan Vogelsong limped through five innings to qualify for the victory.
Starting pitching report
You already know that pitcher wins are highly flawed statistics. It was almost comical how Vogelsong (5-3) backed into one after allowing four runs in five innings.
Pitching coach Dave Righetti went to the mound with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, likely to inform Vogelsong that Aaron Hill would be his last hitter. Vogelsong allowed a two-run single that cut the Giants’ lead to 5-4, but Hill was thrown out trying to advance to second base on the throw home.
Vogelsong was out of the inning with the minimum five innings required to qualify for the decision, even though he didn’t get his hitter.
Hill was a pest all night. He hit the first of three doubles over a four-batter span in Arizona’s two-run second inning. Pinch hitter Jordan Pacheco started the fifth with another double, then two walks loaded the bases for Hill.
Hill’s two-run hit was the only single among five hits allowed by Vogelsong, who has given up a staggering 14 extra-base hits spanning 16 innings over his last three starts. At least none of them have been home runs.
It took awhile for Romo to get a shot at redemption after blowing two save situations last weekend against the Colorado Rockies, but at least he was facing the right team. Romo entered with a 1.08 ERA in 49 career appearances against the Diamondbacks.
First the bullpen had to record nine outs to put the ball in his hands. Jeremy Affeldt recorded four of them, but allowed two soft singles in the seventh. Jean Machi got away with a huge mistake when Goldschmidt fouled back a floater down the middle, and ended up walking him to load the bases. But Hill hit a foul pop on the first pitch that Pablo Sandoval caught with room to spare to end the inning.
Santiago Casilla struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth but Romo got in trouble when pinch hitter Roger Kieschnick hit a one-out double in the ninth. Kieschnick had one extra-base hit in his career as a Giant, and now he’s got one against them.
Gregorius followed with a grounder to the left side and Crawford, who was shaded toward second base, ranged far to glove it. But Gregorius beat the throw by a step. A ground out advanced runners to second and third, and with Goldschmidt up, Bochy made a mound visit and put a hand on Romo’s shoulder amid the conference.
Rather than put the winning run on base, Bochy trusted Romo to get the out against one of the league’s most dangerous hitters. Romo threw a first-pitch slider and Goldschmidt hit a line drive to right field, but Pence raced back to catch it near the track to end the game.
Romo recorded his 21st save in 25 opportunities.
At the plate
McCarthy has been very hittable this season and the Giants came out swinging against him.
They batted around in the first inning, first scoring when Pablo Sandoval singled home Pence. It looked like it might be just a one-run rally, but Brandon Crawford drew a two-out walk and Colvin took a good approach while slapping a fastball below the knees through the left side. It was a two-run single, and it was the kind of add-on hit the Giants have been missing during their 1-9 slide.
They kept adding to their 3-0 lead. Buster Posey used a nifty slide into second base for a double and Sandoval singled him home un the second inning. Crawford tripled –- his sixth of the season, trailing only Dee Gordon and Alex Rios among all big leaguers -– and scored on Colvin’s ground out in the fifth.
And Pence surprised the burger-and-beer crowd by sending a rainmaker of a home run into the restaurant at the top of the second deck in left field off Randall Delgado in the sixth. The Diamondbacks said Pence became the first major leaguer to reach the patio since Giancarlo Stanton in 2012.
Joe Panik made his major league debut as a pinch hitter in the eighth and drew a five-pitch walk. He did well not to get doubled off when Posey scorched a line drive right at shortstop Didi Gregorius. The Giants had runners at second and third with one out but were unable to score thanks to some bad luck on Posey’s ball.
The Giants played error-free, and while this might be hard to believe, they have committed just one error over their last 10 games.
The Diamondbacks announced 37,916 paid. After an eight-block death march from my hotel to the ballpark in 107-degree heat, a security guard asked how I was.
“Medium well,” I told him.
The Giants and Diamondbacks wrap up their three-game series at Chase Field on Sunday with a rubber match. Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 2.85 ERA) takes the mound against Arizona right-hander Mike Bolsinger (1-2, 5.70). First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. PDT.