This was either a pivotal moment or the first lucky outing for Sergio Romo in quite a while. With runners on second and third, the Giants held a 6-4 lead with two outs in the ninth. Romo was on the mound, and Bruce Bochy came out to have a conversation. It wasn’t difficult to determine why.
Paul Goldschmidt, one of the best hitters on the planet and someone who makes Tim Lincecum look like a slow-pitch softball tosser, was due to hit next. Bochy put his enormous hands on Romo’s shoulders and said something while looking into his closer’s eyes. I want to think he asked Romo if he believed he could get Goldschmidt out, but I have no evidence to back that theory other than Romo’s reaction — nodding and half-smiling.
Bochy was satisfied with Romo’s answer. He and the infielders, who also gathered at the mound for this important summit, retreated to their respective positions. Romo spoke briefly with Buster Posey, and (gulp) we were about to watch Romo blow his third save in a row.
Romo’s 79-mph slider was … not impressive. Posey set up low and away, and the pitch caught way too much of the outside corner and barely broke an inch. Goldschmidt drove it sharply to right-center, but Hunter Pence moved over a few steps and secured the Giants’ first win since Thursday.
The Giants needed this win so badly, and it was painful. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead with a singles barrage in the first inning and added another run in the second. The D-Backs scored two runs on three doubles in the second, and answered the Giants’ run in the fifth with a two-run single in the bottom of that inning against Ryan Vogelsong.
(I watched as much of this game as possible — I’m in Texas visiting my wife’s family so there was a limit to how rude I could be without gaining too much notice. So there’s no way I can find out what Bochy said to Romo, but I’m pretty certain Bochy probably told the beat guys that “Vogey battled out there.”)
Hunter Pence hit one of those Pence bombs that makes you wonder how he hasn’t hit 30 homers in a season yet, and the Giants had their 6-4 lead in the sixth inning. It was a bullpen game from there, and they were phenomenal. And terrifying. Mostly terrifying.
Jeremy Affeldt pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning and was removed with two outs in the seventh after allowing a single to Cody Ross and an infield hit to Gerardo Parra. Jean Machi came in, and Goldschmidt walked against him after the count went full. Machi got Aaron Hill to pop out to Pablo Sandoval in foul territory on a first-pitch changeup.
After Casilla struck out two in a perfect eighth inning, and it looked like he might get the closer’s gig REALLY soon during Romo’s wobbly ninth.
That could very well still happen. Roger Kieschnick — yeah, the guy who had one extra-base hit in 84 at-bats last year with the Giants — crushed a double. Didi Gregorius hit a perfectly-placed slowish grounder to Brandon Crawford, the same kind of hit it seemed like we saw at least a half-dozen times last Friday and Saturday against Colorado. If Goldschmidt gets a little air under the ball he hit, the Giants’ losing streak might have never ended and they don’t have Michael Morse.
They don’t have Michael Morse.
Morse left in the middle of the game due to back tightness. He told reporters that he should be able to return by Monday, but that seems like wishful thinking. Marco Scutaro, who has no idea if/when he’ll be able to come back, has a bad … back. Angel Pagan (who the Giants are finally going to place on the DL now, in all probability) is another member of the bad back club. Hell, I’ve been a member since I was 14.
Rainbows and moonbeams aren’t shooting out of the Giants’ butts yet. But at least they won a game. It’s been a while.
— Joe Panik walked in his first big league at-bat, a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth inning. That put runners on first and second, and after Gregor Blanco sacrificed both runners to second, the D-Backs walked Pence. Posey lined out to shortstop and Sandoval hit a fly ball to left. The Giants left 10 men on base in this game.
— Pence, Posey and Sandoval combined to go 7-for-14, the kind of production the Giants will need without Pagan and Morse. Besides the leaving guys on base part, that is.
— Pence also threw out Hill at second base to end the fifth inning, his sixth assist. He had three assists in his first six games.
— Madison Bumgarner hasn’t gone the distance since Aug. 14, 2012, but a complete game on Sunday sure would be nice.