Thursday, September 18, 2014

Game of the Day (9/17/14)

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 2. San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner took on Arizona's Andrew Chafin, a 24-year-old lefty making his second major league start.

Chafin retired the Giants in order in the first. Bumgarner got into trouble in the bottom of the inning, starting with singles by Ender Inciarte and Chris Owings. A fly ball moved the runners to second and third, and Inciarte then tried for home when a Bumgarner pitch escaped from catcher Andrew Susac - but the ball caromed off the backstop and straight back to Susac, who tagged Inciarte out. Mark Trumbo then whiffed to end the inning.

San Francisco pulled ahead in the top of the second on a Susac walk and a Brandon Crawford RBI double. In the bottom of the inning, Cody Ross walked, Tuffy Gosewich singled him to third, and Chafin singled as well, bringing in the tying run. Bumgarner led off the third with a single and moved to second on a Gregor Blanco walk, but was erased on a line drive double play; AJ Pollock and Aaron Hill proceeded to single and walk, respectively, in the bottom of the third before being stranded. Chafin was spotless in the top of the fourth; Gosewich led off the bottom of the inning with a double and moved to third on a flyout before being left on.

The Giants recaptured the lead in the top of the fifth when Crawford singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, was bunted to third by Bumgarner, and scored on a squeeze by Blanco, but Arizona rallied again when Pollock tripled, Trumbo struck out on a pitch that Susac dropped, and Pollock sprinted home quickly enough to beat the return throw from first. Buster Posey walked in the top of the sixth, but was erased on a double play, and nobody else reached in the inning.

The starters were both pulled in the seventh. Randall Delgado worked around a Crawford single and a Travis Ishikawa walk in the top of the inning, while Jean Machi allowed an Inciarte single and walked Owings in the bottom, leaving them on as well. Evan Marshall was spotless in the top of the eighth, while Sergio Romo permitted only a Gosewich single in the bottom half. San Francisco broke the tie in the ninth against Addison Reed. Pablo Sandoval led off the inning with a walk, Crawford singled one out later, and Brandon Belt walked to load the bases. Pinch hitter Matt Duffy then singled in a pair of runs to put the Giants ahead 4-2, and Santiago Casilla managed around an error in the bottom of the inning to end the game.

This is another fine example of September oddity, as the pennant-contending Giants got significant plays from Andrew Susac (73 career plate appearances) and Matt Duffy (54), which managed to be enough to overcome both an excellent second career start and an RBI hit by Andrew Chafin. Throw in the second four-hit game of Brandon Crawford's still-improving career, add the Rockies scoring eight runs in the first and thrashing the Dodgers in one of the least dramatic games of the year, and you've got San Francisco back within two games of the NL West lead.

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