MIAMI – What was that Giants manager Bruce Bochy said about resting Buster Posey? Something about the club playing so many long games this season?
Well, Posey could snicker to himself on the bench. He picked a winner to sit out.
You don’t play ‘em snappy when the final score is 14-10. At least the Giants came out on the winning end after slugging and slogging through nine long innings with the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park Friday night.
Hunter Pence drove in five runs, Brandon Belt scored four while finishing a home run short of the cycle and Pablo Sandoval drove in three for the first time since May 14 as the Giants set season highs for hits (19) and runs.
How unforeseen was this game? There was a better chance of seeing Jeffrey Loria doing the backstroke in his fancy aquarium behind home plate than witnessing a slugfest between these two clubs.
The Marlins and Giants entered as the two lowest scoring teams in the majors since the All-Star break, averaging 2.69 and 2.73 runs, respectively.
Go figure. No, really. It’ll take time to add everything up.
Starting pitching report
Bruce Bochy couldn’t have done more to try to get Chad Gaudin a win unless he grabbed the ball and threw the pitches for him.
Gaudin, who pitched in relief for the Marlins last season, made his first career start in Marlins Park and it did not go well. The Marlins batted around in the third inning while scoring four runs on six hits.
Then Justin Ruggiano, who broke a horrific 0-for-42 on Wednesday, led off the fourth with a home run as Gaudin slogged through another long inning.
The Giants kept piling on, and so the win was there for the plucking if only Gaudin could complete five innings. But he didn’t retire any of the three hitters he faced in the fifth. Bochy delivered a message on the mound after a walk and a strikeout. When Gaudin followed with another walk, the manager stomped out of the dugout and took the baseball.
Jose Mijares, who rescued Gaudin from one no-out, bases-loaded jam just a few weeks ago, couldn’t repeat the parlor trick. All three runners scored as Ruggiano hit a two-run double, then the Marlins collected back-to-back RBI singles in a four-run rally that cut the Giants’ lead to 12-9.
Gaudin was charged with eight earned runs on 11 hits and four walks in four-plus innings. His ERA shot up from 2.42 to 3.06.
Both starting pitchers combined to allow 19 runs on 23 hits in seven total innings. The two clubs had combined for 29 hits before it was even an official game.
One day after getting smoked in the chest by a line drive, Sandy Rosario did the most to stabilize the game. With the Marlins threatening to wipe out an eight-run deficit, Rosario didn’t allow a run in the sixth or seventh – and received credit for the victory as a result.
Santiago Casilla pitched a scoreless eighth but the inning included a scary moment, when a 94 mph fastball hit Placido Polanco on the helmet. Polanco was down in the dirt for several moments and dazed, but he smiled as a trainer escorted him off the field and appeared to be OK.
Barry Zito was tasked with the ninth and Ruggiano greeted him with his second home run of the game. As a result, Bochy had to start getting closer Sergio Romo warm in a game in which his team scored 14 runs.
But Zito took care of business from there to end a game that took three hours, 43 minutes.
At the plate
The Giants didn’t knock around a punching bag. Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi entered with a 1.04 ERA over his previous four starts, and held opponents to a .170 average over that span. His fastball hit 99 mph in the first inning.
Incredibly (tragically?), the Marlins had scored zero runs of support for Eovaldi in his previous five starts. That wasn’t the issue Friday night, obviously.
But for once, the Giants did more than throw jab singles. Sandoval had the first haymaker – a two-run double in the first inning. Pence hit a two-run double in the second inning. And stop us if this sounds familiar, but Hector Sanchez crushed a three-run home run in the fourth.
It was the second three-run homer in two days for Sanchez, who won a game at Nationals Park with two outs and two strikes against him in the ninth.
The Giants weren’t done. Belt and Pence hit consecutive triples in the seventh inning – the first time the Giants have done that since June 29, 2000 (Ramon Martinez and Armando Rios) – at Colorado, of course.
Roger Kieschnick also tripled in the game, marking just the 16th time in the Giants’ San Francisco era – and first time since 2009 – that they had three triples in a game.
Belt had one chance to homer for the cycle but singled to tie his career high of four hits. He has an 11-game hitting streak and is hitting .431 in August.
For all the Giants’ offense, it might have been a completely different game if Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria hadn’t booted Pence’s ground ball with the bases loaded in the first inning.
Instead of a double play that would’ve scored just one run, it went for a two-run error. And it forced Eovaldi to throw many more pitches; he needed 42 to escape the first inning, and it clearly affected him the rest of the way.
The Marlins announced 26,166 paid. The game was so long, I hope no go-go dancers at The Clevelander had to be hospitalized for exhaustion. (Also … it seems rather appropriate that they served meatballs in the press dining room.)
The Giants might be sore from swinging the bats, but they’ll suit up again and continue their series at Marlins Stadium on Saturday. Matt Cain (7-8, 4.44 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound against right-hander Henderson Alvarez (2-1, 3.18). First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. PDT.