San Francisco, CA – No better way than to start the game with a three-run homer in the first frame. Pablo Sandoval had two home runs in his first forty-two games, he now has three home runs in his last five games. Sandoval set the tone early for the Giants in their 6-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.
“His at-bats have been a lot better,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We kept saying he always had the ability to get the good part of the bat on the ball and he’s doing that consistently. We need him, especially since [Brandon] Belt went down.”
Angel Pagan doubled to leadoff the first inning and moved to third base on a wild pitch from pitcher Kyle Gibson. Hunter Pence followed with a infield single to third base and was called out at first by the first base umpire, Paul Emmel. Bochy challenged the call immediately.
It took approximately 34 seconds for that call to be overturned. The Giants now have two runners on base with no outs. Buster Posey reached first on a fielder’s choice, but Pagan got picked off at third and was out at home plate. Sandoval went yard and gave San Francisco a 3-0 lead.
“It’s huge to score three runs that early,” said Tim Lincecum. “That always helps.”
“I was ready for anything,” Sandoval said. “I’m just focused and not trying to do too much. I just try to get a good pitch. I feel better because we’re winning as a team.”
Minnesota responded in the second with two runs when Joe Mauer hit a standup triple to right field scoring in Brain Dozier. Chris Parmelee grounded out and Mauer scored. That was it for the Twins offense, the next opportunity came at the hands of Sandoval whose defensive play prevented Minnesota’s next run.
After Lincecum issued his fourth and fifth free pass to both Eduardo Escobar and Aaron Hicks. Gibson grounded into a fielder’s choice out, Sandoval threw to catcher Hector Sanchez at home plate for the out. Lincecum struck out Dozier to end the inning leaving runners stranded.
“We left plenty of people out there,” said manager Ron Gardenhire. “We kept playing and we had our chances. Unfortunately for us, we played a little sloppy early and made a couple of bad pitches as the game went along.”
The Giants offense certainly backed their righty, Lincecum walked six through the first five frames which is a new season-high. His career-high is seven. It proved costly when he loaded the bases with his sixth walk but luckily for him, Escobar grounded out to first baseman Posey to end the inning.
“We knew he was battling,” shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “He had (a lot) of guys on base, but he pitched his way out of it. That says a lot about him and his competitiveness.”
Lincecum lasted six innings, an inning longer than his counterpart Gibson who tossed five frames, surrendering five runs including two home runs while striking out four. Lincecum allowed five hits, two runs, six walks, and two wild pitches. Not a bad outing considering San Francisco got the win.
“I can’t remember the last time I had more balls than strikes going into the sixth inning, and I had a win going,” said Lincecum. “I can’t really recall that. It’s king of an ugly win for me, but I’ll take it.”
The Giants are the third team in baseball to reach 30 wins joining the Oakland A’s and the Milwaukee Brewers. They improved to 4-0 in Interleague play. This team is also becoming known as a home run hitting team which is something that hasn’t really stuck in the past.
Notes – Injury update on the Giants pitchers, Matt Cain will play catch today and the team will determine over the next few days or maybe even tomorrow what they’ll do with their right-handed pitcher. It’s been a rough year for Cain, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 5th for a injured thumb and left Wednesday’s game in Colorado with a right hamstring injury.
“He’ll play catch and it’ll be a day or two when we’ll make the call on what we do with Matty,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Santiago Casilla left the same game last Wednesday with the same injury as Cain, a left hamstring injury. One of the stronger arms in the bullpen will be greatly missed but no worries for Bochy who was asked how they will replace Casilla who was injured on an infield hit.
“We’ll mix it up with four guys (Jean Machi, Juan Gutierrez, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez),” said Bochy. “We’ll try to get the big six outs to set up [Sergio] Romo.”