SAN FRANCISCO -- True, the scoring rallies are essential, as was the case Tuesday night for the Giants as they sped away from the San Diego Padres in their 8-2 triumph.But San Francisco's fourth consecutive victory and 12th in its last 13 games might not have developed without rookie left-hander
SAN FRANCISCO -- True, the scoring rallies are essential, as was the case Tuesday night for the Giants as they sped away from the San Diego Padres in their 8-2 triumph.
But San Francisco's fourth consecutive victory and 12th in its last 13 games might not have developed without rookie left-hander Josh Osich's escape from a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning.
Buster Posey drilled an RBI double and scored on Brandon Crawford's single to break a sixth-inning tie and put the Giants ahead, 3-1. Then the Padres launched a two-out threat in the seventh as Alexei Ramirez singled and pinch-hitter Christian Bethancourt walked.
In came Osich to relieve starter Jeff Samardzija, who had held the Padres to just one run. Osich's outing began ominously as he was deemed guilty of interfering with Jon Jay. The Padres' leadoff batter tapped a dribbler toward first base and had his path down the baseline inadvertently blocked by Osich, who was trying to field the ball.
Jay was awarded first base, loading the bases for Alexi Amarista. The count went full, ratcheting up the tension at AT&T Park, before Osich relieved the pressure by coaxing Amarista's groundout to second baseman Joe Panik.
Osich, who has limited opponents to a .111 batting average (2-for-18) with runners in scoring position, agreed with catcher Posey that throwing a pitch darting away from Amarista would be wise. "He was fighting off some pretty good pitches," Osich said, explaining that working Amarista outside would prevent him from pulling the ball with authority.
Hence, Osich fed Amarista a 92 mph cutter for the payoff pitch.
"I've been throwing a lot of sinkers and cutters, running them off both sides of the plate and trying to keep the hitters off-balance," said Osich, who owns a 2.30 ERA in a team-high 23 appearances.
Opposing left-handed batters such as Amarista have mustered an .063 average (2-for-32) overall against Osich. They're also hitless in their last 18 at-bats off him.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy has noticed considerable improvement from Osich since the season opened.
"In the early go, he was trying to find himself a little bit, and he was a little bit off," Bochy said. "But he has been throwing well."
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.