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Bullpen fends off late surge by Tigers

MLB.com

DETROIT -- Giants reliever Cory Gearrin took a liner off his left calf and everyone was safe. After a five-pitch walk to Jose Iglesias to load the bases, Gearrin put Ian Kinsler, the potential go-ahead run, on in the seventh inning with one out. Manager Bruce Bochy and trainer Dave Groeschner came out to check on Gearrin, but he stayed in the game.

"I'm sure he felt a little pain, but he threw a couple [practice] pitches and said, 'I'm good to go,'" Bochy said. "At that point, he was our guy. I think I made enough [pitching] changes already there in the seventh."

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DETROIT -- Giants reliever Cory Gearrin took a liner off his left calf and everyone was safe. After a five-pitch walk to Jose Iglesias to load the bases, Gearrin put Ian Kinsler, the potential go-ahead run, on in the seventh inning with one out. Manager Bruce Bochy and trainer Dave Groeschner came out to check on Gearrin, but he stayed in the game.

"I'm sure he felt a little pain, but he threw a couple [practice] pitches and said, 'I'm good to go,'" Bochy said. "At that point, he was our guy. I think I made enough [pitching] changes already there in the seventh."

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What had been a cushy five-run lead when the inning began turned into a white-knuckle situation for the Giants' relievers, who had been up to the task of late. They came through again, bending but not breaking on Wednesday night to preserve a 5-4 win over the Tigers.

San Francisco's bullpen owns a 1.19 ERA over 30 1/3 innings in the past eight games. The team is 7-1 in that span.

"We want to come into games where we've gotta bear down and make big pitches," Gearrin said. "Any time you're having success like that, continuing to do well in those opportunities, I think it's good for each individual guy and collectively as a bullpen.

The way starter Ty Blach was pitching through six innings, it looked as if the bullpen's task would be stress-free. Blach held the Tigers to three hits and allowed just one runner to move into scoring position.

But Blach allowed two runs on three hits to start the seventh, so Bochy brought in right-hander George Kontos to face Mikie Mahtook. Kontos lasted one batter, allowing a single to Mahtook. In came left-hander Steven Okert, whose only assignment was striking out lefty pinch-hitter Alex Avila.

Video: SF@DET: Gearrin K's Upton, escapes jam

Then it was Gearrin's turn. After Iglesias and Kinsler both reached, Nicholas Castellanos hit a sacrifice fly to right to bring up Justin Upton, who'd hit a two-out RBI double the previous game. This time, Upton whiffed on a 2-2 slider.

"Really put us in a tough situation, but give Gearrin credit," Bochy said. "After he got there, he regrouped and made some good pitches to get out of it."

Video: SF@DET: Strickland strikes out Mahtook in 8th

Hunter Strickland snuffed a minor threat in the eighth, giving up a two-out double to Victor Martinez before striking out Mahtook on a fastball well above the strike zone. Sam Dyson solved the ninth inning with ease for his third save in as many tries since joining the Giants.

Without closer Mark Melancon, who landed on the 10-day disabled list on June 28, the Giants' relief corps has more than held its own. Fortunately, Gearrin won't anticipate a DL stint after wearing that seventh-inning line drive. A little soreness is nothing compared to the chance to contribute to the team's red-hot bullpen.

"It's definitely tightening up a little bit now, but that's fun," Gearrin said. "As a bullpen guy, you want to be in there in big, close games. That was a fun one for us to win."

Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

San Francisco Giants