SEATTLE — Ryan Vogelsong rebounded from a rough outing with his best start in almost a month and the San Francisco Giants bullpen made sure it wasn’t wasted.
Vogelsong and three relievers combined on a five-hitter to give San Francisco its major league-leading 11th shutout, a 7-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.
Staked to an early 3-0 lead, Vogelsong (5-5) allowed three singles over 6 2-3 innings, striking out six and walking two as the offensively challenged Mariners were held to two runs or less for the 26th time in 67 games.
“I just kind of found my tempo, found my rhythm and just started throwing the ball better,” Vogelsong said. “Sometimes that first inning can be a little tough, getting used to the mound and trying to find your release point a little bit. So, I just got through that first inning and just kind of got everything going.”
Vogelsong’s performance was in stark contrast to his last start, when he allowed four runs and six hits with five walks in 3 2-3 innings in a 4-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After going 4-0 in five starts in May with a 1.14 ERA, Vogelsong was 0-3 with a 6.61 ERA in his first three starts in June.
“I know Vogie very well,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He settled down. We gave him an opportunity to settle down. He started hitting his spots. When he’s hitting his spots, he’s pretty tough.”
San Francisco capitalized on a botched double-play attempt for three second-inning runs off Mike Montgomery (1-2), who allowed four runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings.
The Giants loaded the bases with one out on a walk to Brandon Belt and consecutive singles by Andrew Susac and Justin Maxwell.
Joaquin Arias bounced to second baseman Dustin Ackley for what looked like a possible inning-ending double play, but shortstop Brad Miller dropped the ball on the attempted relay after the force at second, allowing Belt to score and sending Susac to third.
Nori Aoki followed with an RBI single and Joe Panik’s RBI double made it 3-0.
“It’s always nice to have some points on the board,” said Vogelsong, whose 6.31 road ERA entering the game was second-worst in the National League. “When you’re going out there it gives you a chance to attack the zone a little bit more and do some things that you probably wouldn’t try to do in a closer game. So, yeah, that makes a big difference.”
The Mariners, who have lost nine of their last 11 at home, chased Vogelsong with consecutive two-out singles in the seventh, but Javier Lopez retired Ackley on a bouncer to first. Including Ackley, left-handed batters are 2 for 37 off Lopez, including 0 for their last 27.
“Obviously when we get the quality start, that sets things into motion, because (manager Bruce) Bochy tries to put all of us in to a position to succeed,” Lopez said. “I think when it becomes a match-up game, we do pretty well.”
The Giants added four runs in the eighth, keyed by Matt Duffy’s two-run triple.
Hunter Strickland walked two Mariners in the eighth, but Cruz lined into an unassisted double play at second to end the inning.
Seth Smith and Mark Trumbo opened the Seattle ninth with consecutive singles off Jeremy Affeldt, but Miller struck out and Willie Bloomquist bounced into another double play.
Montgomery has pitched at least six innings in each of his four career starts, but this was the first time he allowed more than two runs.
“It was just a matter of leaving balls over the plate,” Montgomery said of the second inning. “I’d get ahead and not make good pitches when I was ahead. After that inning, I settled down in a little bit, attacked the zone. We made some good plays. I just wanted to keep us in the game and get some outs.”
Giants: Rookie RHP Chris Heston (6-5) makes his second start since his no-hitter against the Mets to open the three-game series against the Dodgers. In his last start, he gave up three runs — two earned — and seven hits in five innings in a 4-0 loss to Arizona.
Mariners: LHP Roenis Elias (3-4) opens the three-series against the Astros and looks to bounce back after allowing eight runs — seven earned — and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings in his last start, a 13-0 loss at Houston. Elias has last three of his last four starts, with his ERA climbing from 2.56 to 3.67 over that stretch. He is facing the Astros for the third time this season.
Giants: OF Gregor Blanco, who has missed eight games with a concussion, is eligible to come off the seven-day DL, but could be ready by Friday, Bochy said. “Hopefully tomorrow in LA. We’re going to run him pretty good, run the bases, I think. That’s the really the last box he’s got to check off.”
Mariners: 2B Robinson Cano was a pregame scratch with a stiff lower back.