Perez: 'He made an unbelievable catch; you gotta tip your hat'
Will Venable's catch to end the 12th inning was arguably the best of the season in MLB.
SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants blew a 3-1 lead for Barry Zito, watched Will Venable grab the potential game-winning hit out of thin air in the 12th inning, and allowed the Padres to emerge victorious in the longest game of San Francisco’s season so far.
The 13-inning, four hour and 35 minute marathon ended with a 5-3 final score and drops the Giants’ record in extra innings to 5-5.
With the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies both losing Monday, the 35-34 Giants remain a game and a half out of first place and are now a half game behind the third-place Padres in the National League West.
Starting pitching report
Barry Zito has been a disaster on the road and dependable at home all season. Monday’s outing continued that trend as the veteran left-hander struck out a season-high eight and departed to a standing ovation with two outs and runners on the corners in the sixth inning. But Zito would not factor into the decision.
Zito struck out leadoff man Chris Denorfia and worked around a one-out ground-rule double in a 13-pitch first inning. He opened the second with another strikeout, walked the next batter on four pitches, and then finished the frame by getting Pedro Ciriaco to swing through a changeup.
San Diego got to Zito for the game’s first run in the third as Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez hit a double down the left-field line and Denorfia drove him in with a double over centerfielder Juan Perez’s head and off the base of the wall. But Zito limited the damage, setting down San Diego’s 2-3-4 hitters in order to strand Denorfia at second.
Zito worked around back-to-back two-out infield singles in the fourth by striking out Volquez and kept the fans in control of the ‘K’ counter along the right-field arcade busy with three more punch-outs in the fifth.
The Padres forced Bruce Bochy to go to his bullpen in the sixth after Zito walked leadoff man Jesus Guzman and gave up a two-out single to Ciriaco to put the tying run on base.
The final line for Zito: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. He threw 102 pitches, 63 of which were strikes.
Bochy called on right-hander Jean Machi to get out of Zito’s jam. A wild pitch that got past catcher Hector Sanchez allowed Yasmani Grandal to score from third, a run charged to Zito, but Machi got pinch-hitter Nick Hundley to hit into a routine 6-3 groundout to maintain the Giants’ one-run lead.
Machi stuck around to get Bochy through the seventh inning, but not before allowing the Padres to tie the game on three straight singles to open the frame. The Padres blew an opportunity to take a late lead, though, as Machi induced two straight grounders, one for a fielder’s choice and another for an inning-ending double play.
Jeremy Affeldt struck out two in a scoreless eighth and Sergio Romo allowed two hits in the ninth, but benefited from a Juan Perez assist (see below) and sent the crowd into a frenzy with a strikeout of Kyle Blanks to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
Right-hander Sandy Rosario gave Bochy two scoreless innings of relief before running into trouble in the 12th inning. Kyle Blanks hit a leadoff double and advanced to third on former Giant Jesus Guzman’s groundout. After an intentional walk to set up a potential inning-ending double play, Bochy brought in Javier Lopez to create a lefty-lefty matchup against Will Venable. Lopez won the battle by getting Venable to chase a slider in the dirt and stranded Blanks at third by striking out Pedro Ciriaco on another breaking ball below the zone.
Jose Mijares got the call in the 13th inning and allowed San Diego to score the go-ahead run. Alexi Amarista led off with a single and advanced to third when Chris Denorfia’s sharp ground ball ate up Tony Abreu at second base and trickled into shallow right-centerfield. Pinch-hitter Andrew Cashner, a reliever-turned starter for San Diego scheduled to face Matt Cain Tuesday, placed a safety squeeze bunt perfectly between third baseman Joaquin Arias and Mijares for a 4-3 Padres lead. After Chase Headley flew out to center, Blanks hit a towering fly ball down the right-field line that a sliding Hunter Pence could not corral.
With the bases loaded, Bochy turned to rookie Jake Dunning just a day after he made his major league debut. Dunning got Guzman to line out to Abreu at second, but walked Grandal to force in a run. He stranded the bases loaded by getting Venable to pop out behind second base.
At the plate
The Giants struggled against Edinson Volquez out of the gate, going down in order for the first two innings. Juan Perez hit a one-out infield single in the third and moved up to second on Barry Zito’s sacrifice bunt, but was stranded there when Gregor Blanco struck out on three straight off-speed pitches.
In the fourth inning, the Giants broke through against Volquez in a big way, though. Tony Abreu led off with a walk and No. 3 hitter Brandon Crawford saw two straight changeups from Volquez, the second of which he sent to right for a single. After Hunter Pence’s second strikeout of the game, Brandon Belt jumped on the first pitch for a ground-ball single to right that scored Abreu and moved Crawford up to third. Joaquin Arias followed with a sharp line drive to left for a sacrifice fly and a 2-1 Giants lead. Belt stole his third base of the season just ahead of Hector Sanchez’s RBI single, the third hit of the inning that snuck through the right side of the San Diego infield.
Blanco singled to lead off the fifth, but was erased on an unassisted double play by first baseman Jesus Guzman on Tony Abreu’s line drive. The Giants' bats went to sleep at that point, as the Padres did not allow another baserunner until Arias singled with two outs in the ninth.
The Giants put together a scoring threat in the 12th inning that ended with arguably the defensive play of the year. Belt singled to lead off the inning against Nick Vincent, advanced to second on Arias’ sacrifice bunt and must’ve prepared to be mobbed by teammates at home plate when Perez sent a drive to deep centerfield. But former San Rafael High School star Will Venable, playing shallow in case of a single, turned around to sprint straight back and laid out to make an incredible game-saving play on the warning track.
The Giants got the game-tying run to the plate against Padres closer Huston Street after Blanco hit a one-out single up the middle, but Abreu lined out to Venable in center and Crawford hit a routine grounder to second to end the game.
In the field
It hasn’t taken long for Juan Perez to show off the tools that got him a major league opportunity. His throw to Joaquin Arias at third arrived just in time to nail Logan Forsythe trying to advance from first in a crucial situation in the ninth.
The Giants announced an attendance of 41,981 for their 198th consecutive regular season sellout crowd. The media relations department did not announce the number of social media updates sent from the brand new @Cafe that replaced the old Build-A-Bear workshop.
The Giants and Padres continue their three-game series in San Francisco Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. with San Diego sending RHP Andrew Cashner (5-3, 3.52 ERA) to the mound to oppose Matt Cain (5-3, 4.70 ERA).