Sanchez redeems self with game-winning hit

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Sanchez redeems self with game-winning hit

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SAN FRANCISCO -- As he strode to the plate with runners at first and second and none out in the 12th inning, Hector Sanchez stared at Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery, fulling expecting to get the sign to bunt.Instead, Sanchez was given the green light to hit away."I was like, 'Wow,'" Sanchez said in Spanish. "That gave me confidence, you know?"If you didn't know, now you do. As do the Houston Astros. Sanchez's single off second baseman Jose Altuve allowed Pablo Sandoval to score from second base and give the Giants not only a 3-2 victory, but reclaim first place in the National League West by 12 a game over the Los Angeles Dodgers.Of course, Sanchez and his career-high fourth hit of the night -- he said he last had four hits in a game in 2010 for Class A Augusta -- had a back story. One of redemption.It was his throwing error on a potential game-ending strikeout with two out in the ninth inning that allowed the Astros to tie the score at 2-2 when the ball scooted away from Sanchez toward the third-base dugout and deny Tim Lincecum just his second win since April 28."That's a tough play to make anyways," said Lincecum, who had a season-high 11 strikeouts in a season best-tying eight innings. He also lowered his career ERA against the Astros to 0.99 and has received two runs or fewer of support in 12 of his 19 starts this season."It was good to see him come up big there."In fact, Sanchez, who was four-for-six with a run-scoring double in the sixth inning, said he was trying to make that last play to clinch the victory for Lincecum, who he caught for the fifth consecutive start."I was too quick on that play," Sanchez said. "The catcher was running. I went too fast."The play also gave closer Santiago Casilla a blown save -- his fourth blown save in his last six opportunities -- as it was his third strike to Chris Snyder that got away from Sanchez, who slid to retrieve the ball and fired to first, wide and late. An alert Justin Maxwell, meanwhile, kept on running from second to score the tying run."That's a tough way to get a blown save," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy."(But) it is rewarding to see a guy who felt so awful a few innings earlier come through."It was the rookie Sanchez's second walk-off hit of the season, along with the game-ending base hit he had on May 6 in the 11th inning against Milwaukee."It's what we want to do," Sanchez said, "keep winning, keep playing."And, it turns out, keep getting the green light.

Giants lineup: Posey, Arroyo out against Braves

Giants lineup: Posey, Arroyo out against Braves

Mired in a big slump, rookie Christian Arroyo is getting a night off, while Nick Hundley is catching in place of Buster Posey Saturday.

Atlanta Braves:
1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Tyler Flowers (R) C
7. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
8. Danny Santana (S) 3B
9. Mike Foltynewicz (R) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
3. Joe Panik (L) 2B
4. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Aaron Hill (R) 3B
7. Nick Hundley (R) C
8. Mac Williamson (R) RF
9. Ty Blach (R) P

 

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.

At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs. 

“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said. 

The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still. 

The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper. 

“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”

That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league. 

Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored. 

“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”