Instant Replay: Sanchez slams Giants to victory

Instant Replay: Sanchez slams Giants to victory
April 23, 2014, 3:30 pm
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Hector Sanchez and Mike Morse both hit two home runs on Wednesday -- the first time the Giants received multiple homers from two players since 2005. (AP)


One of these days, the Giants will re-master the art of the RBI single. Until then, they’ll take rockets red glare.

Hector Sanchez hit the final notes of the club’s six-homer salute, hitting a tiebreaking solo shot in the eighth inning and then, after the Rockies drew even again, crushing a grand slam in the 11th.

It was the eighth lead change of the day and it gave the Giants a 12-10 victory in a classically wild game at Coors Field.

All 12 of the Giants’ runs trotted home. Sanchez hit his first career grand slam on the same day he notched his first career multi-homer game in the big leagues. Michael Morse homered twice, Brandon Hicks went deep and Brandon Belt accounted for one other lead change when he connected for a two-run homer in the seventh.

It was the 11th time in the Giants’ San Francisco era that they hit as many as six homers in a game; the franchise record is eight, from the day in 1961 when Willie Mays hit four against Milwaukee.

It also was the first time the Giants received multiple homers from two players since 2005, when Moises Alou and Pedro Feliz each went deep twice.

The Giants prevented being swept in the three-game series at Coors Field and finished a disappointing but not disastrous 2-4 road trip that could’ve been worse, considering they managed just one RBI hit that wasn’t a home run.

Starting pitching report

Matt Cain had one of his best fastballs all season yet still gave up seven runs on 10 hits in six-plus innings.

Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run home run in the first inning, then came up with the key hit to cap a three-run rally in the second. Cain allowed four singles in the inning, which also included the second missed catch error from first baseman Brandon Belt in as many days. All the runs were earned, though, because of Tulowitzki’s two-out RBI single.

Cain settled down after that over the next four innings, giving up just a solo shot to the irrepressible Charlie Blackmon, snapping a 4-4 tie in the fourth.

Belt’s homer in the seventh gave Cain his first lead in three starts, but he gave it back after two batters. Blackmon walked, stole second base and scored the tying run on Nolan Arenado’s double. While Jeremy Affeldt got warm, Cain pitched around Tulowitzki and issued a walk to end his afternoon.

Cain didn’t retire any of the three batters he faced in the seventh. He’s still winless this season.

Bullpen report

Affeldt was filthy while striking out two batters, and after a walk loaded the bases, he escaped the seventh by getting a comebacker from Brandon Barnes.

Affeldt would’ve been the winning pitcher if the Rockies hadn’t scored again, but Casilla’s neck flinch and a clank at second base combined to tie it again in the eighth.

Casilla gave up a single to D.J. LeMahieu to start the inning and the runner advanced on a sacrifice. With one out, Casilla came set to Blackmon and jerked his neck back toward second base as if to bluff a throw. Davidson immediately called a balk even though Casilla didn’t make a motion toward the plate. Bench coach Ron Wotus came out to argue with “Balkin’ Bob,” for all the good it did.

The Giants brought the infield in and Casilla got the sharp ground ball he wanted, but second baseman Brandon Hicks couldn’t field it cleanly to make a throw to the plate. LeMahieu scored the tying run as Hicks threw for the out at first base.

Casilla nearly gave it up in the ninth after the Rockies loaded the bases on two infield hits and a walk, but LeMahieu flied out to send the game to extra innings.

Jean Machi and Javier Lopez got the ball to the 11th. Sergio Romo gave up half the lead when Justin Morneau hit a two-run home run. But Romo pitched around a bad-hop single and got a double-play grounder to end it.

At the plate

Last year, Giants left fielders hit four home runs all season. Morse has exceeded that total in just 22 games.

Morse showed a better approach on Tuesday and he carried it into Wednesday’s game, hitting a 455-foot shot for a solo homer in the second inning. Then his fifth homer of the season was a three-run shot in the third that tied the game and capped a four-run inning.

The Giants needed more rally power and Belt provided it in the seventh, taking Rex Brothers deep for a two-run shot that put them ahead 7-6. It was Belt’s team-best seventh of the year and it came on another down-and-in pitch.

Belt has played in five different ballparks this season and homered in each of them.

Sanchez’s solo, second-deck shot in the eighth snapped yet another tie. But thanks in part to Balkin’ Bob, the Giants couldn’t hold that lead, either.

Hunter Pence singled off Chad Bettis to start the 11th, then a walk and an intentional pass loaded the bases. Sanchez had a tremendous, 10-pitch at-bat that ended with a towering shot into the forest beyond the center field fence.

The Giants nearly ended up regretting bad luck earlier in the game. Morse would’ve had a two-run single to go along with his pair of homers, but LeMahieu took advantage of his 6-foot-4 size at second base to spear a line drive with the bases loaded in the fifth.

The Giants didn’t score in the fifth even though they loaded the bases with no outs. Belt struck out before Morse’s liner and Pablo Sandoval popped up after it.

Brandon Crawford knew how Morse felt after that lineout. He scorched a line drive in the sixth but first baseman Morneau snagged it and touched the bag to double off Sanchez.

In field

For reasons that weren’t clear immediately following the game, Sandoval left for pinch hitter Joaquin Arias in the seventh.

Bruce Bochy didn’t give the order, or at least at least not officially. He received a quick ejection in the fourth inning by plate umpire Chris Conroy, apparently for arguing balls and strikes.

Up next

The Giants take a day off before beginning their next homestand with an interleague series opener against the Cleveland Indians on Friday. Tim Hudson (2-1, 2.40 ERA) takes the mound against right-hander Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 7.31). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PDT. It’ll be Tim Lincecum (1-1, 6.43) vs. right-hander Zach McAllister (2-0, 2.04) on Saturday and Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 7.71) vs. right-hander Danny Salazar (0-2, 7.71) on Sunday.