For a lineup struggling as much as the Giants’, Wednesday’s winning rally unfolded in fitting fashion.
Brandon Belt was hit by a pitch from Toronto Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera leading off the 13th inning. A bad throw by catcher Russell Martin on Denard Span’s bunt attempt left both runners safe. Joe Panik was intentionally walked after a wild pitch moved the runners up, loading the bases. Two batters later, Buster Posey took four consecutive balls to force in a run, and the Giants won 5-4 with a hitless rally.
“It wasn’t pretty,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You just get that win any way you can at that point, and we’ll take the walk.”
The Giants avoided a three-game sweep despite blowing a three-run lead they carried into the eighth inning and stranding 16 runners. They recorded only two hits in 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Closer Santiago Casilla’s third blown save of the season extended the game so long that Belt, who was too sick with the flu to be in the starting lineup, improved enough to enter on defense and score the winning run.
“It’s a win,” Posey said. “You get to where you’re about four and a half hours in, doesn’t really matter.”
It was the Giants’ second 13-inning win of the homestand, and again the top of the 13th proved pivotal, with Bochy, having exhausted his bullpen, bringing in Albert Suarez as his last available reliever. Ryan Goins hit a leadoff single and was thrown out by center fielder Gregor Blanco trying to stretch it into a double. But Suarez got right back into trouble, allowing back-to-back one-out singles.
It wasn’t pretty. You just get that win any way you can at that point, and we’ll take the walk.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy
Suarez, a right-hander making his third big-league appearance, got reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson to ground into a fielder’s choice. And with the go-ahead run at third, he got Jose Bautista to pop up on a 3-2 slider, preserving the tie.
“He showed a lot of maturity,” Posey said. “He didn’t seem fazed by the situation or the moment.”
Posey said Suarez shook him off on the full-count pitch to Bautista, wanting to throw a slider. Suarez, who earned his first major-league win, demurred when asked if he’d done so.
“We were on the same page the whole time,” Suarez said of Posey. “That’s what helped us to get the job done.”
The game lasted so long that Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, who exited with two outs in the seventh, joked afterward he wouldn’t be able to answer questions about his outing because, “I can’t remember what happened.”
Bumgarner battled command issues, walking four. But he held the Blue Jays to three hits and one run, which scored on Edwin Encarnacion’s groundout in the third, while throwing a season-high 116 pitches. He said he was encouraged by his fastball regularly hitting 93 mph after pitching with low velocity at times last month.
0 Hits by the Giants in the decisive 13th inning
“It’s starting to come up,” Bumgarner said. “It’s partially getting into the season, getting everything going, and partially delivery. Trying to get it on track, it’s kind of a rough go at it right now. But anytime you go out there and scuffle the way I did today and still give the team a chance to win when you’re facing a lineup like that, you’ve got to take that.”
Toronto cut its deficit to one in the eighth against relievers Cory Gearrin and Josh Osich, and Casilla surrendered a tying homer to Michael Saunders leading off the ninth. The Giants had chances to win after that, but they stranded two runners in the ninth and left the bases loaded in the 10th.
Over their past five games, the Giants have four hits in 43 at-bats with runners in scoring position. On Wednesday, they could celebrate a walkoff win without one.
“As disheartening as a game like this can be at times, the only thing you can do is go out there and keep going hard and see what happens,” Bochy said. “Good things happen when you do. And we finally got it done.”