MLB Game Story Example:
Giants 9, Blue Jays 6
June 20, 2010
By The Sports Xchange
TORONTO -- The Giants don't have a lineup that's going to make anyone forget the brutes in the American League. Adding a designated hitter to this group is like pouring a glass of water in the ocean -- you're not going to be able to tell the difference.
So it was no surprise that they went into Sunday's game winless on the road in interleague play this year and had scored just three runs in their first five games at AL parks. Their DHs in those five games were a collective 1-for-18.
Finally, though, in their last AL road game, the Giants got it going in a 9-6 victory Sunday at Toronto. They even got a two-run homer from their DH, Pat Burrell -- yes, the same Pat Burrell who got run out of Tampa Bay because he hadn't adapted to the DH role.
San Francisco's interleague troubles haven't cost the team much in the NL West: With one series left, against Boston next weekend, the Giants have won five of six games against AL clubs at AT&T Park this year, and no one in the division has more than the Giants' six wins over AL teams.
Sunday's game looked like another exercise in futility when the Blue Jays took early 2-0 and 3-1 leads and knocked out Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez after only 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing in almost two years. Sanchez gave up only three hits, but he walked five and hit a batter.
Manager Bruce Bochy's decision to bring in middle reliever Denny Bautista at that point might have seemed like a reach considering Bautista's troubles finding the strike zone since joining the Giants last month, but Bautista promptly got out of the jam and went on to allow just one hit in 2 1/3 innings.
That was a wakeup call for the Giants offense, which had knocked out Jays starter Shaun Marcum by forcing him to throw 102 pitches in just five innings. Trailing 3-2 at this point, the Giants were so delighted to see reliever Brian Tallet, they broke through for the game-deciding five-run rally in the sixth.
The inning was filled with unlikely heroes.
Edgar Renteria, who has become a $9.25 million reserve shortstop because of his injuries and Juan Uribe's team-leading RBI total, walked, and Aaron Rowand, who has become a $12 million reserve center fielder because of his .220 average, doubled.
Andres Torres, who has supplanted Rowand in center and in the leadoff spot, singled in the tying run, and then came the most surprising hit of all -- Freddy Sanchez, who had not homered in 198 at-bats dating to last August, hit one off the left-field foul pole for a three-run homer.
Did he think it would stay fair?
"Off the bat, I didn't," Sanchez said. "The man upstairs kept that thing fair. I know I stayed inside it, but it looked like it kept hooking and hooking, and then it faded back."
The Giants didn't stop there. Aubrey Huff, who continues to give the Giants production no matter where he plays -- usually left or right field these days -- and earlier had hit his team-leading 12th homer, singled this time, and Uribe got his team-leading 43rd RBI with a double off new pitcher Casey Janssen.
Burrell's homer in the eighth made it a semi-laugher, but then the Giants bullpen did what it has done all too often lately -- give up late runs.
This time the culprit was left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who hasn't approached his shut-down numbers of 2009. Affeldt continues to be unable to locate his fastball, which means he's falling behind in the count and can't use his nasty curveball as much as he'd like. And when he does get his fastball over the plate, hitters are locating it just fine -- and hitting it hard.
Affeldt gave up three runs, turning that semi-laugher into a semi-squeaker, and Bochy was forced to bring in closer Brian Wilson for the final out. Wilson promptly fanned Lyle Overbay on a high fastball for his 19th save in 21 chances.
The game was an odd finish to a series in which Giants starters Barry Zito and Matt Cain lost heartbreakers in the first two games.
"This game is hard to figure sometimes," Bochy said. "We get two great starts, one guy scuffles and that's the game you win."