AT&T PARK — Sunday afternoon’s Giants victory was significant for two reasons.
To start, it was the first time in 14 tries that San Francisco had won a home series finale since June 19.
Second, it was the first Giants win this writer has covered since — yup — June 19.
Ryan Vogelsong (W, 3-4, 5.58 ERA) went eight strong innings strong and the offense came through late with a three-run eighth inning as San Francisco snagged a much-deserved win by shutting out the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0.
The Giants went 3-4 on the seven-game homestand, splitting the four-game series with the Pirates.
Vogelsong was the hero of Sunday’s matinee, holding the visitors to two hits with five strikeouts in eight innings pitched. He threw 98 total pitches, 58 of them strikes.
As you would expect, Manager Bruce Bochy was very pleased with the right-hander’s performance:
“He did his job, and what a terrific job. It was one of the best-pitched games we’ve had this year. Really commanded his pitches, had them all working, hit his spots. It was fun to watch.”
Vogelsong went three-up-three-down in the first and threw only 10 pitches. Pablo Sandoval helped keep Pittsburgh from getting a base-runner in the first by getting airborne to rob Andrew McCutchen of a line drive out towards left field.
When asked about Sandoval’s defensive marvel, Bochy smiled:
“He’s really bounced around so much better now. … I think it’s helped, he’s dropped a few pounds. It’s helped him over there, he’s bouncing around like a cat.”
The Giants gave Vogelsong a run with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third. Following a Gregor Blanco walk, Brandon Crawford lined the ball into shallow right field, giving the speedy Blanco plenty of time to reach third base.
Then Buster Posey, coming off a three hit game, hit a liner past the outstretched second baseman Neil Walker. Blanco crossed home on the play, giving the Giants the 1-0 lead.
Buster Posey led off the eighth with a single up the middle that passed under the glove of Pirates starter A.J. Burnett (L, 6-9, 3.18 ERA). Posey advanced to second on a Brandon Belt groundout before Hunter Pence singled into the left field gap, moving Posey to third.
Sandoval then launched Burnett’s final pitch of the game ball towards the 421 marker in right-center field for a bases-clearing RBI triple, putting the Giants ahead 3-0.
Joaquin Arias followed it up with a two-out single to bring Sandoval home and give the home team their 4-0 lead.
Monday night the Giants send Barry Zito (4-9, 5.63 ERA) to the mound to face the Rockies in Colorado to start a nine game roadie. They will return to 3rd and King on Thursday, September 5 to host the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Vogelsong’s eight innings tossed match his career-high (fourth time). The last time Vogelsong pitched eight innings was on September 10, 2011 vs the Dodgers… Giants batters combined to go 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. … Hunter Pence went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored… He has now reached base safely via hit or walk in 20 of his 24 games played this month. … A.J. Burnett uncorked a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth. His 143-career wild pitches rank as the most in the Majors among all active pitchers. … Andrew McCutchen has now hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games against the Giants. During that span he has gone 20-for-47 (.426) with three doubles, a triple, two homeruns, 10 RBIs, and 12 runs scored.