Schierholtz the hero; Giants beat Cards in 11

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Schierholtz the hero; Giants beat Cards in 11

June 1, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD

ST. LOUIS (AP) One more pitch, and Brian Wilson put out the lights for good.Nate Schierholtz delivered a tying single with two outs in the ninth inning and the go-ahead hit in the 11th, then the San Francisco closer finished off the St. Louis Cardinals after a 16-minute light failure for a 7-5 victory on Wednesday night."It was a pretty good game of gamesmanship," Giants manager Bruce Bochy joked. "I was just hoping it wouldn't be too long before he got back out there."It wasn't bad, one pitch and we're done."The game was delayed with two outs in the bottom of the 11th when large sections of two light standards failed. Play resumed with a 2-1 count on Allen Craig, and Wilson needed one pitch to get a game-ending grounder for his 15th save in 17 chances.
URBAN: Giants vs. Cardinals game slideshow
"That was really awkward, pretty anticlimactic to have the lights go off like that," Craig said. "But I guess it's just part of the game."Joe Walsh, the Cardinals' director of security, said a faulty breaker was likely to blame. After flipping the circuit breaker, Walsh said umpires were aware from previous light woes in other stadiums that about 15-20 minutes was required for the lights to cool down and then return to full power.Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had no idea what happened, saying, "Ask the electrician, I don't know."Cody Ross had four hits and an RBI and Freddy Sanchez had a three-hit game for the Giants, who shook off a poor outing by Tim Lincecum. Sergio Romo (3-0) worked the 10th for the win.San Francisco, which came from behind twice, had a season-high 16 hits and won for only the third time in nine games."Early on balls were kind of finding holes and finding places to land," Lincecum said. "Pitchers pride themselves on shutout innings after you get a lead and I just didn't do that."You have to tip your hat to Craig, he put a pretty good swing on the pitch."Craig's two-run, pinch-hit homer chased Lincecum in the seventh, putting the Cardinals up 5-4. The two-time NL Cy Young winner struck out nine but gave up a career high-tying 10 hits and threw two wild pitches, one of them scoring a run."I faced him in college quite a bit and I watched video on him quite a bit the last few years," Craig said. "I have an idea what he's doing, it's not like I've never faced him before."Lincecum was 3-1 with a 1.22 ERA in May, allowing only six earned runs in 36 2-3 innings. Before fading in the seventh he had retired eight of nine batters, five on strikeouts with the lone runner on a hit batsman and the pinch homer was the first he's allowed in his career.Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford had RBI singles in the 11th off Ryan Franklin (1-4), pitching on the second straight night and in his second inning. Ryan Theriot had two hits and an RBI to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games for St. Louis, which gave Jake Westbrook a 3-0 lead in the fourth.Bochy said he's gaining confidence in Schierholtz."His playing time has increased and it will now with the game he had and the way he's been playing," Bochy said. "That's what we're looking for, a shot in the arm."Aubrey Huff's homer off Miguel Batista ended a 6-for-38 slump and put the Giants ahead 4-3 in the top of the seventh.Craig is 18 for 40 (.450) since May 19 and is 5 for 11 with a home run, three doubles and four RBIs in the first three games of a four-game series. He and Jon Jay should both garner more playing time with Matt Holliday set to go on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday with a nagging quadriceps injury.Lincecum walked on five pitches to load the bases in the fourth after the Cardinals elected to intentionally walk eighth-place hitter Eli Whiteside. Westbrook escaped by striking out Andres Torres, giving the Giants seven stranded runners the first four innings.Westbrook's only clean inning was the fifth, but the Giants opened the sixth with three straight hits and a sacrifice fly and chased him on Torres' two-out RBI double. Torres had been an easy out his first three at-bats with two strikeouts and a groundout to first."I think I got him on the previous three at-bats with all changeups," Westbrook said. "I guess bad location. That can't happen, you can't let them back in the ballgame."Theriot had an RBI single in the third and the Cardinals made it 3-0 in the fourth on a wild pitch and Skip Schumaker's single that barely eluded both middle infielders.NOTES: The Giants' Class A affiliate in San Jose set a team record with its 12th straight victory Tuesday. ... Pat Burrell, in a 4-for-25 slump, fouled out as a pinch-hitter on a 3-0 pitch in the eighth. He's started only eight of the Giants' last 22 games. ... Lincecum has given up 10 hits three times, the previous time on May 15, 2009 against the New York Mets. ... Huff leads the Giants with 24 RBIs but has only four in the last 17 games and had been batting only .175 against right-handers, among the worst in the league, before the homer. ... Lincecum threw one wild pitch his first 11 starts. ... The Giants are 6-3 in extra innings and 2-0 against St. Louis.

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

CHICAGO — Had a half-dozen other things gone differently Wednesday night, the Giants might have spent the hour after the game shrugging off a blowout loss or celebrating one of the best at-bats of the year. 

Three innings after the game was nearly lost for good, Mac Williamson saw 12 pitches from Wade Davis, who entered with a perfect ERA in 19 appearances, fouling eight of them off before slamming a two-run homer to right. The play came with some comedic value, as Williamson nearly passed Eduardo Nuñez on the bases. It also came with some historic value, as it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive solo shots that was two shy of the MLB record. 

The homer was not, however, the talking point after the game. A few minutes after Williamson went deep, Joe Panik was tossing his bat into the grass in frustration over a called third strike that ended the game and clinched a 5-4 win for the Cubs. Ten minutes after that, Bruce Bochy watched the highlight and tossed his phone onto his desk. 

“It’s a shame to end on that call, it really is,” Bochy said. “We had him on fumes and that’s not a strike. But they got the call and that’s it.”

The Giants were left with their third loss in four games, a run that has halted their momentum. They again are 11 games back in the National League West, with so many nights like this one: A comeback seemed real, but the mistakes were too much to overcome. 

Williamson, in talking about his homer, pivoted and pointed to a blunder of his own. In a tied game in the fifth, Miguel Montero hit a single to right with Addison Russell on first. The speedy shortstop watched Williamson as the ball rolled into the outfield, and when Williamson didn’t charge as hard as he otherwise might, Russell took off for third. The throw was perfect, but late. Russell scored on a fly ball. 

“The home run is really cool but it would have been a lot cooler if I hadn’t have made the mistake earlier in the game and given them the extra run,” Williamson said, explaining that he has tried to focus on being smooth to the ball and not rushing on fast outfields. In the past, rushing has led to bobbles and extra bases. 

Another costly sequence came in the eighth. After the Giants left the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Steven Okert gave up a triple to Jason Heyward, who scored on a sacrifice fly. Okert, so good when he was first called up, has been less effective of late. 

“We’ve got to get our lefties going,” Bochy said. “We gave them a run there and that put it at three and that’s just enough to cover it for them.”

Truth be told, the Giants were probably lucky to even have worries at that point. The wind blew a three-run Heyward homer inches foul in the sixth, and while the Giants grumbled about the final call of the game, an earlier call on Heyward for running inside the base path took a Cubs run off the board and killed a rally. It was correct by the letter of the law, but one you rarely see. The Giants escaped, but they wouldn’t come all the way back, despite Williamson’s late push. 

The young outfielder has been looking to make an impact since coming back up on the last homestand. He knew how tough Davis has been. 

“He’s been the best in the game this year and the numbers speak for themselves,” Williamson said. “He has phenomenal stuff. You get in the box and figure you’ve got nothing to lose, battle as tough as you can.”

Williamson fouled off good strikes and tantalizing balls. When he lofted a 2-2 pitch toward right, he took off out of the box. The ball carried just over the wall, and Williamson didn’t look up until he rounded third. That’s when Phil Nevin started yelling at him to slow down. Nuñez, who had a tight hamstring, turned and told Williamson to slow down.

“I kinda blacked out for a second there,” Williamson said. 

“I was like, ‘Bro, it’s a homer — just jog,’” Nunez said.

The moment temporarily sent a rush through the dugout. Minutes later, the Giants were left livid over a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close, but nonetheless was right there for them to steal. 

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

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CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time.