Ryan Vogelsong was sent up to the mound on Tuesday night for the Giants, hoping that he would bounce back from his rocky start against the Dodgers last week. The Padres countered with their ace Andrew Cashner, who had a bunch of hard-luck losses under his belt so far this season.
Vogelsong looked nothing like he did last week. His pitches were hitting their locations, and nothing was really hanging. Not only that, but his fastball looked much better, and even though the Padres might have been making contact, most of that contact was finding gloves. The Giants on the other hand had plenty of contact that was not finding gloves.
Brandon Belt hit a lead-off double in the second, and Brandon Crawford walked. Gregor Blanco, playing for Angel Pagan who sat the night out with a left middle finger laceration, struck out. Up came Justin Maxwell, who smoked a line drive to center, scoring the Giants first run. Cashner cut off the throw home from Will Venable, but Crawford was called safe advancing to third on the play. This was important, as Matt Duffy grounded into a force play at second, beating out the throw to first and allowing Crawford to score the second run of the game.
The Giants built up a nice 2-out rally in the third to add on to their second inning rally. Buster Posey hit a single, and Belt walked to move Posey into scoring position. Crawford hit a single to left field, scoring Posey. Justin Upton airmailed the throw home which hit the backstop, allowing Belt and Crawford to advance into scoring position. Blanco hit a grounder which took an interesting hop, and went right by Yangervis Solarte, allowing Belt and Crawford to score.
Blanco was caught stealing shortly thereafter, but the Giants now had a five run lead, which certainly helped Vogelsong with his confidence on the mound. Brandon Belt had a good snag on Matt Kemp‘s liner, adding to some good defense behind Vogelsong. He got through five innings of shut out ball, only throwing 55 pitches and only striking out two Padres.
Joe Panik furthered the Giants’ lead, smacking a curveball by Cashner over the arcade for his second home run of the season. Belt took his second walk of the game, after a Posey groundout. Crawford hit a hot shot to the left side of the infield, which was fielded by Alexi Amarista, but he was unable to make a play. That got the Padres’ bullpen working quickly, as Cashner was clearly struggling with location all night.
Blanco hit into a force out at second, and the one out was all the Padres were able to get, which allowed Maxwell to get an at-bat with runners at the corners. Unfortunately, he swung at the first pitch and grounded out. And with Cashner’s spot coming up at the top of the sixth, you would think Bud Black would take Cashner out.
Alas, Cashner came up to bat and promptly stuck out swinging. Cory Spangenberg singled to give the Padres their third hit of the game, and Solarte walked, bringing up the heart of the Padres’ lineup. The Giants wasted no time in getting someone warmed up, but they wouldn’t need to go to the bullpen.
Nori Aoki tracked Matt Kemp’s hot shot to left field, and made a well-timed leap to snag it out of the air, likely saving two runs. Vogelsong walked Upton, loading the bases, throwing 22 pitches in what would be his longest inning of the night. Derek Norris grounded out, and Vogelsong escaped the sixth inning relatively unscathed.
The Giants did not have much offense in the bottom of the sixth, but they didn’t need it. Venable struck out to open up the seventh, Will Middlebrooks flied out to deep center, and Aoki made another heads up play in left field to rob Amarista of a hit. That would be all for Vogelsong, who went the seven innings only throwing 93 pitches.
The bottom of the seventh brought up Kevin Quackenbush, who walked Posey and gave up a double down the right field line to Crawford, sparking a would-be 2-out rally. Blanco stared at strike three though, ending any chance for the Giants to pile on to the lead.
George Kontos came in to relieve Vogelsong in the eighth. Jedd Gyorko lead off the inning with a single, and Spangenberg grounded into a fielder’s choice, bringing up Solarte. He swung through a nice curve from Kontos to strike out, and Kemp promptly struck out swinging right after him.
Nick Vincent came in for the Padres in the bottom of the eighth. Duffy got his second hit of the night, taking advantage of a start at third base while Casey McGehee gets some time off to collect himself. Hector Sanchez came in to pinch hit, and smacked a one-hopper to Spangenberg who misplayed it, setting up runners at first and second base for Aoki. Unfortunately for Aoki, he grounded into a double play, going 0-5 on the night.
Yusmeiro Petit was asked to close out the game in the ninth, a perfect opportunity for Petit to get some work in with a six run lead. He struck out Upton, got Norris to fly out to center, and struck out Venable to end the ballgame. The Giants extended their winning streak to five games, their home winning streak to eight games and their shutout streak to three games.
They look to continue all that with their rookie rotation spark Chris Heston on the mound against Ian Kennedy, a pitcher who gave the Giants some trouble in their last meeting at Petco Park. The Giants however are starting to click again on offense, so they will look to build off tonight’s rout.
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