AT&T PARK – San Francisco Giants infielder Conor Gillaspie celebrated his 30th birthday by delivering a pinch-hit leadoff double in the 10th inning of the team’s 2-1 Tuesday night victory over the Cleveland Indians. The knock ticked of the glove of first baseman Edwin Encarnacion and into right field.
Following Gillaspie’s double, pinch-runner Kelby Tomlinson advanced to third on a bunt from Denard Span and scored on a walk-off single from Eduardo Nunez. It was a result the Giants desperately needed after going 34-56 in the first half and dropping three of four post-All Star break games.
“No wonder that ball got through,” manager Bruce Bochy said after learning it was Gillaspie’s birthday. “The baseball gods took care of him.”
Ty Blach delivered his third straight quality start. He went seven innings, gave up seven hits and allowed one run. But he earned a no decision, as San Francisco’s lineup failed to produce in the early going against Indians starter Mike Clevinger.
Still, Blach’s performance continued a positive stretch from Giants starters. He became the third San Francisco pitcher to last seven innings since the All Star break, which allowed Bochy to use just two relievers in Tuesday’s extra inning victory.
“Hopefully the rest of the season we can get more consistent with these quality starts,” Bochy said. “[Blach] did what we were hoping he’d give us.”
Cleveland got on the board in the third inning. Center fielder Bradley Zimmer roped a single, and with one out right fielder Brandon Guyer scored him with a triple off the wall in left-center field.
But Blach rebounded with efficient fourth and fifth frames. In the sixth, he escaped a two on, one out jam by inducing a double play from Indians first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. And in the seventh, he finished his outing by getting pinch-hitter Carlos Santana to ground into an inning ending fielder’s choice with two runners on.
Along with Matt Moore, who went seven frames on Monday, Blach breathed optimism into the struggling back-end of the Giants rotation.
“That’s who we are,” Bochy said. “If you look at the success we’ve had since , it’s been our starting pitching and the job they’ve done.”
Cleveland gifted the Giants a baserunner with one out in the sixth. Guyer dropped a fly ball to right, allowing Nunez to reach second. After first baseman Brandon Belt struck out, Posey brought Nunez home with a game-tying single up the middle.
In the ninth, Belt and catcher Buster Posey led off with walks, and with one out right fielder Hunter Pence chopped an infield single a few feet in front of home plate. But second baseman Joe Panik struck out and left fielder Gorkys Hernandez flew out to right to end the threat.
With another chance to earn a walk-off in the 10th, however, the Giants capitalized. Span moved Tomlinson to third with a sacrifice bunt so well placed that he reached first safely. And Nunez pushed his game-winning single through the right side, setting off a celebration in short right field.
“[The missed opportunities] can get a little discouraging,” Bochy said, “but they fought back.”
Sam Dyson, who was released by the Texas Rangers earlier this year after posting a 10.80 ERA, continued his resurgence with the Giants with two scoreless innings in relief. He earned the win and lowered his ERA since joining San Francisco to 2.98.Cleveland Indianseduardo nunezMLBSan Francisco Giantsty blach