Kruk and Kuip: 'That's a feel-good victory'
Marco Scutaro was involved in the game-winning rally in the eighth after convincing Bruce Bochy to pencil him into the starting lineup. (AP)
The Giants secured their first winning homestand with a 4-3 win over the Rockies Wednesday afternoon. (AP)
SAN FRANCISCO -- It was a scheduled day off for Marco Scutaro.
But the 12-year veteran was not about to watch his current team face his former team -- division rivals -- in the rubber match of a three-game series from the bench. So he fought his way into the lineup and delivered the game-tying hit in the eighth inning of a 4-3, come-from-behind win for the Giants Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park.
The victory secured the Giants' first winning homestand since May 20-26 -- when the team was tied for first place in the NL West. Now, in September, the Giants sit a clean 20 games behind the first-place Dodgers with just 17 to play in the 2013 season.
Yusmeiro Petit is making it look easy; he retired the first 11 batters he faced Wednesday afternoon, doing so for his second start in a row. But Petit didn't factor into the decision as he finished one out shy of a quality start. One out shy...
Another defeat dressed in missed opportunities was the last thing Bruce Bochy wanted to see before embarking on a difficult 10-game road trip, especially considering he called Tuesday's game "one of (the team's) worst losses of the year." So it was critical that the Giants, who were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position entering the eighth, delivered two clutch hits late to claim the lead.
The Giants, who left after the game for Los Angeles, will start a four-game set against the first-place rivals with their cache of momentum stocked.
Starting pitcher report
Yusmeiro Petit took the mound Wednesday seemingly still hacked off at having his perfect game spoiled on the final out last Friday. He struck out the first two batters of the game on seven pitches -- all strikes.
If ever there was a game for Petit to be perfect, Wednesday's was it. The Giants faced a Rockies lineup bereft of its top hitters; Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Wilin Rosario and Todd Helton all rode the pine in the series finale for manager Walt Weiss.
But Petit got into trouble with two outs in the fourth inning, losing his perfect game, no hitter and shutout on three consecutive batters. After walking Corey Dickerson on a close 3-2 cutter, Michael Cuddyer and Nolan Arenado followed with weak singles to even the game at one and eliminate any chance of a historic day for Petit.
Petit was tagged again in the sixth inning, when four singles plated two runs and coaxed Bochy from the dugout to end the right-hander's day.
Prior to the game, Bochy said Petit had already made "enough noise" to secure a job with the 2014 Giants, but that his role was still undecided. Petit finished one out shy of a quality start, and with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings, it's getting louder.
One of Petit's selling points is that he fills up the strike zone. He was at it again Wednesday, pumping 73 of his 102 (71.5 percent) pitches over the plate.
The remaining schedule dictates three more potential -- and meaningful -- starts for Petit this year.
George Kontos entered for Petit and was bailed out by Roger Kieschnick's strong throw to the plate to cut down Nolan Arenado after Jonathan Herrera's single.
Guillermo Moscoso pitched a quiet seventh and eighth for the win, and Santiago Casilla pitched the ninth to pick up his second save of the season.
At the plate
With two runs through seven innings, it looked like the Giants would fail to reach the three-run plateau for the 59th game this season. They have a 9-49 record in those 58 games, but an eighth-inning rally against Rockies lefty Matt Belisle gave the offense a much-needed boost.
After a leadoff single from Brandon Crawford, pinch-hitters Angel Pagan, Ehire Adrianza and Buster Posey loaded the bases for Scutaro, who came through with his patented line drive single to right field to knot the game at three. Brandon Belt followed with an opposite-field knock of his own, and just like that, the Giants bullpen was preparing for a save.
The Giants threatened a big inning previously in the seventh, when former Athletic Josh Outman walked the Giants' top three hitters to load the bases for Hunter Pence.
Pence, the team leader in home runs and RBI, appeared to deliver in the biggest way, sending one high and deep to left. The crowd rose as the ball fell, landing in the glove of left fielder Charlie Culberson, who stood deep in the warning track. The sacrifice fly was all the Giants managed in an inning that started so promising, as Pablo Sandoval and Hector Sanchez grounded out to end the frame with the Giants still trailing, 3-2.
The Giants drew energy from Junior Giants broadcaster Mateo in the third, who gave Renel Brooks-Moon a run for her money with his exuberant player introductions, complete with nicknames. Gregor "White Shark" Blanco responded with a leadoff single. And the Giants brought the two-out thunder with base hits from Pence and Sandoval to break a scoreless tie.
Indicative of the Giants' 2013 season, a walk and two drives toward Triples Alley weren't enough to score a run in the second.
Sandoval drew a walk in the second inning to give the Giants their first baserunner, and Hector Sanchez and Brandon Crawford followed with two smoked balls toward right-center. But Sanchez's was tracked down by right fielder Charlie Blackmon, and Crawford's bounded off the warning track and into the bleachers to keep Sandoval rooted at third, where he was stranded.
In the field
Gregor Blanco made a spectacular diving catch on a shallow line drive to center field by Jonathan Herrera in the third. It was the type of play Giants fans have expect from him in a well-pitched game. At the time, it preserved Petit's perfect game and induced a thankful fist pump from the mound.
Petit can also thank Roger Kieschnick for limiting his run total. Kieschnick charged to field Jonathan Herrera's single in the top of the sixth inning and made a strong one-hop throw to Hector Sanchez to hose Nolan Arenado at the plate and end the inning after limited damage.
The Giants announced a paid attendance of 41,128. We'll have to look up the last time a team that was 20 games out of first place led the majors with a consecutive sellout streak, but AT&T Park -- remarkably -- was able to record its 240th consecutive sellout Wednesday, dating back to Oct. 1, 2010.
The Giants head south to start their final road trip of the season, a 10-game doozy with four games in Chavez Ravine against the first-place Dodgers before visiting the Big Apple for six games against the Mets and Yankees.
Matt Cain (8-9, 4.37) will oppose Zack Greinke (14-3, 2.79) in Game 1 in L.A. on Thursday night.
The Giants have just two home series remaining -- against the Dodgers and Padres -- when they return to San Francisco before the season's close.