Giants falter in ninth inning, lose to Marlins
Casilla gives up final go-ahead tally in back-and-forth contest
SAN FRANCISCO -- Given the Giants' recent success, they might have expected another sequence of deeds Friday night that would sustain their seemingly inexorable momentum.
Instead, the Miami Marlins stole the Giants' magic, limiting them to one hit in the final three innings while scoring twice in the ninth to break a tie and prevail, 7-5.
To some degree, this result defied logic. The Giants entered the game with a 15-1 record when they score at least five runs. The Marlins bought the Major Leagues' worst road mark, 4-16, into AT&T Park.
Miami delivered a spirited effort nonetheless. The Marlins out-hit San Francisco, 14-11, without a single offensive contribution from their formidable slugger, Giancarlo Stanton. Yet Stanton still helped, opening the Giants' half of the eighth inning by robbing Michael Morse of a likely extra-base hit with a running catch in right field.
"You're going to have games like this. It's not going to go your way," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
With the score tied, 5-5, Christian Yelich walked and Derek Dietrich singled off Santiago Casilla (1-1) to open the Marlins' ninth. After Casilla struck out Stanton, Casey McGehee followed by slicing a grounder into right field as Yelich scored and Dietrich sped to third base. After Reed Johnson lined out and Javier Lopez relieved Casilla, Garrett Jones beat out a grounder to deep shortstop, enabling Dietrich to score.
"We've seen these games go the other way, especially on the road," said McGehee, one of five Marlins with at least two hits. "It was huge for us to stick in there and get this one."
The teams traded punches offensively through the first six innings, as the only complete inning in which neither club scored was the second. Giants starter Yusmeiro Petit worked five innings, yielding five runs (four earned) and seven hits. Miami's Henderson Alvarez lasted an inning longer but also allowed five runs (four earned), as well as 10 hits.
"Hitters got to eat, too," said Giants left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who yielded eighth-inning singles to the only two hitters he faced before Casilla halted the rally. "... They did some good situational hitting and sometimes you have to be OK with that."
In fact, Miami went 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position, compared to the Giants' 4-for-14 in those situations.
This wasn't a completely barren evening for the Giants. Angel Pagan delivered one of the team's finest catches of the season by running down Dietrich's seventh-inning drive in left-center field, hauling in the ball wide receiver-style at the front edge of the warning track, then holding onto the ball despite slamming hard into the wall.
For one of the few times this year, Pablo Sandoval looked like -- well, Pablo Sandoval. He extended his hitting streak to seven games while doubling twice in four at-bats.
"I feel very good," Sandoval said. "I'm trying not to do too much and put the ball in play. I'm not worrying too much about mechanics."
The first inning set the evening's tone. Yelich homered to open the game before Sandoval drove in Pagan with his first hit.
Miami moved ahead, 4-1, as Dietrich launched a two-run homer in the third inning and Jones doubled and scored in the fourth.
Sandoval galvanized the Giants' two-run rally in the fourth by doubling and boldly advancing to third by challenging Miami's infielders as they tracked Morse's grounder toward the base. Brandon Crawford hoisted a sacrifice fly before Brandon Hicks lined an RBI double.
Yelich singled and scored in the fifth, but the Giants countered in the bottom of the inning as Pagan doubled and came across on Buster Posey's sacrifice fly.
The Giants finally pulled even in the sixth. Morse singled, advanced as third baseman McGehee bobbled Hicks' two-out grounder for an error and came home on pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco's single.