SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants and Dodgers failed to file forms by the midnight deadline. But there’s no disputing that both sides were taxed heavily on Tuesday.
The Giants went hitless five times with the bases loaded, they stranded 15 runners and as a consequence, they played far deeper into the night than should have been necessary. By the end, they used every relief pitcher and emptied their bench.
But in the 12th inning, 14 minutes after midnight and one tick short of a five-hour game, Hector Sanchez lined a single off the glove of second baseman Justin Turner to score Brandon Crawford and the Giants claimed a 3-2 victory in front of the hardy folk at AT&T Park.
The Giants were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position before Sanchez got enough of Brandon League’s pitch to win the game and pull into a first-place tie with the Dodgers in the NL West.
Starting pitching report
You might have done a cartwheel in the spring if you knew that Tim Lincecum, through three starts, would have 17 strikeouts and just one walk.
You’d have no way of knowing that Lincecum also would have a 7.10 ERA and no victories on his ledger.
Paul Goldschmidt accounted for most of the damage against Lincecum in his first two outings. But for all the Dodgers’ resources, they can’t exactly annex him from the Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers have plenty of threats, though, and Lincecum was able to sidestep them while working hard in five innings. Former teammate Juan Uribe pounded a solo home run off him in the second inning but Lincecum came back to strike out the side in the third (on just 12 pitches), then missed bats when it mattered to escape a jam in the fourth.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the fourth with three consecutive one-out singles, none of which were especially hard hit. Then Lincecum got ahead of Uribe, striking him out with a 2-2 pitch in the dirt that appeared to cross up Buster Posey. The catcher reacted impressively to block the pitch and keep a run from scoring. Lincecum threw his fastball past Tim Federowicz to strand three runners.
He pitched around an error in the fifth and ended up with five strikeouts without walking a batter. No, the stuff isn’t the same. But this year, Lincecum is determined not to beat himself. And so far, he hasn’t.
Last season, no NL reliever was better at standing inherited runners than Javier Lopez. He only allowed 10.5 percent to score on his watch.
But for the second time in three days, Javier Lopez inherited a runner and couldn’t strand him. Both times, the RBI hits he allowed came on well-placed ground balls.
Jean Machi gave up a leadoff double to Uribe in the seventh and departed with one out and runners at the corners following a walk to pinch hitter Matt Kemp. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly went for the right-handed matchup with Justin Turner, even though it meant sitting down his .400-hitting leadoff man Dee Gordon.
Lopez wanted a grounder for a double play. He got a grounder that found a seam up the middle, scoring Uribe with the tiebreaking run.
Juan Gutierrez too over from there and ended up recording seven outs while mixing 95 mph gas with a put-away slider. He had the stuff to strand Yasiel Puig after a one-out triple in the eighth.
Sergio Romo went through the heart of the Dodgers order in the 10th to give the Giants a chance to win. Then Santiago Casilla started a double play and speared a comebacker to do the same in the 11th. Yusmeiro Petit, the last man standing, pitched around Hanley Ramirez’s one-out double to preserve the tie in the 12th and get the win.
At the plate
The Giants entered the day leading the majors in runs scored with two outs. That title didn’t do much for them in the first eight innings against Josh Beckett and Co.
Putting aside Madison Bumgarner’s grand slam against the Rockies, the Giants have found those two-out hits much harder to unearth in recent days. They loaded the bases with one out in the fourth but Michael Morse struck out looking and Brandon Crawford grounded out.
They loaded them again on three walks in the fifth, but Buster Posey flied out.
The Giants scratched out a run in the sixth, but that was more due to the Dodgers’ mistakes afield. Hunter Pence singled and was safe at second base on shortstop Ramirez’s errant throw in the dirt. Pence broke late but barely advanced safely to third base on a wild pitch that didn’t squirt too far away from the catcher. Brandon Crawford followed with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Giants had chances against the Dodgers’ stingy bullpen but it appeared they would lack that two-out magic all night. Pence led off the eighth with a single – his third hit of the game – and stole second base before Gregor Blanco drew a pinch walk. But Crawford struck out on a nasty pitch from Chris Perez, then Brandon Hicks hit a hard grounder right at Uribe for a 5-4-3 double play.
Then came the ninth, and a tiny break when Angel Pagan’s infield single clipped Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. Belt followed with his third hit of the night. He was late on a 97 mph fastball but got just enough to guide a double down the third base line, and Pagan beat the relay throw home with a headfirst slide to score the tying run.
Following an intentional walk to Posey, Pence popped up to right field to send the game to extra innings.
In the 10th, the Giants started a rally without hitting a ball past the pitcher’s mound. Blanco dribbled one off right-hander Jamey Wright, and although first base umpire Andy Fletcher called him out at first base, the Giants challenged and the call was overturned. (Replays were conclusive that Blanco got a hand to first base before the ball arrived.
Crawford followed with a bunt attempt that turned into more than a sacrifice when he deadened it perfectly for a single. Hicks followed with another bunt that advanced runners to second and third.
The Dodgers didn’t want to walk Sanchez to load the bases for Pagan, a better hitter – even if that move would have set up a force at the plate. So Wright pitched carefully before losing Sanchez on a 3-2 pitch out of the zone.
Sanchez stayed disciplined and didn’t chase. But Pagan popped out to short and Belt flied to left as the Giants wasted a huge chance.
They got another in the 12th, though. Crawford hit a one-out single to center, advanced on Hicks’ ground out and took third on a wild pitch. Then Sanchez came through with two out.
Hicks made a diving catch to take a hit away from Gonzalez in the 10th. The second baseman atoned for an earlier error, when he couldn’t make a clean transfer to throw Gordon out in the fifth.
The Giants announced 42,469 paid. It took Brian Wilson unbuttoning a jacket in the bullpen to start the first “Beat LA” chant in the eighth inning. Wilson ended up being the only reliever on both teams who was not used.
The Giants and Dodgers continue their three-game series at AT&T Park on Wednesday. Ryan Vogelsong (0-0, 8.00) takes the mound against Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm (0-1, 8.10). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PDT.