Giants get much needed victory despite misfires

Bochy: 'It was a big win for us'

Giants get much needed victory despite misfires
April 20, 2013, 12:00 am
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Madison Bumgarner did his part to snap the Giants’ three-game losing streak, throwing six innings of two-run ball and striking out 10 batters. (USA TODAY IMAGES)


SAN FRANCISCO – Not all went according to plan for the Giants on Friday night.

They had a pitcher swing away in a bunt situation and nearly hit into a triple play. Then they tried to bunt in the ninth inning and managed to get the lead runner thrown out.

But despite those misfires, and despite going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position, they pulled out a 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres when Angel Pagan delivered a walk-off double that scored Andres Torres in the bottom of the ninth.

[Instant Replay: Giants 3, Padres 2]

No, it wasn’t a victory worth popping open champagne bottles. But until the Giants start clicking on all cylinders offensively, they need to find a way to bag their victories however possible.

The Padres, at 5-11, are a team the Giants seemingly should handle with ease. But it doesn’t always play out that way, as left-hander Madison Bumgarner pointed out.

“This team plays us tough every time,” he said. “We had a rough road trip, and it was nice to come home and battle and get a win.”

The Giants could take a little bit of encouragement from Buster Posey’s night. He doubled and had a sacrifice fly, and he said before the game he feels like his stroke might be coming around a bit. The Giants also got a run-scoring double from Hunter Pence, who has hit safely in 14 of 17 games this season.

But most encouraging on Friday was that they found they can rely on some of their secondary characters to deliver in the big moments.

There was Gregor Blanco, making like Ichiro and blooping a leadoff single to left in the ninth. He took a running start in the batter’s box and just slapped at the pitch from Padres reliever Luke Gregerson.

“I don’t even practice it to tell you the truth,” Blanco said. “I just try to use my speed.”

He was erased at second base when pinch hitter Torres bunted into a force-out. But Torres made up for it by stealing second base and getting in scoring position to put pressure on Gregerson.

“We got a bad bunt from Torres, but that’s a clutch steal for us,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Then there was Pagan, the leadoff man who sparked a first-inning scoring rally and later spanked the walk-off hit to the right field corner. He’s hitting .318 and has delivered six go-ahead RBIs this season.

Bumgarner did his part to snap the Giants’ three-game losing streak, throwing six innings of two-run ball and striking out 10, a much-needed effort considering the recent struggles of the rotation.

But the lefty was in the middle of one of Friday’s biggest plays with a bat in his hands. With runners on first and second and no outs in the sixth, he squared to bunt, saw that the Padres had a special bunt coverage play on, and pulled the bat back and swung away.

He hit the ball right at shortstop Everth Cabrera, who started what almost became a triple play. It wound up being a rally-killing double play.

Bumgarner had the option to read the defense and make his own call, and Bochy said he chose right.

“That’s what we practice, and that’s where you wanna hit it,” Bumgarner said. “Every time I’ve seen it hit there, it’s been a hit.”

But it backfired. And on a night where things didn’t follow script for the Giants, they still found the way to the win column.

“That’s a hard-fought game,” Bochy said. “It’s a type of game we play a lot, and we found a way to get it done.”

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