Walker keeps Giants scuffling at home
SAN FRANCISCO -- Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker continued his strong recent performance with seven innings of one-run ball as Seattle handed the Giants their ninth straight loss at AT&T Park with a 5-1 decision Monday.
Walker (4-6, 5.00 ERA) gave up seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts. After a rough start, the 22-year-old right-hander has gone 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA over his last four starts. Seattle is now 4-3 on its current road trip, 29-35 overall.
"That was about a clean a game as we've played in some time and it was very nice to see," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon.
The Giants fell to 34-31 and now own the franchise's longest home losing streak since an 11-game skid at the Polo Grounds in 1940. Veteran right-hander Tim Hudson took the loss in falling to 4-6 with a 4.65 ERA as he gave up three runs in five-plus innings with eight hits.
"When things are going good, you're probably not as good as you are, and when things are going bad, you're not nearly as bad as you think you are," Hudson said. "It's just a bit of a tough stretch."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Finding ways to score: Runs have been tough to come by for the Mariners, who were shut out three of the previous four games and rank last in the American League in scoring. But they pushed across a run in the first when slugger Nelson Cruz hustled to beat out a fielder's choice grounder for his 41st RBI of the season -- but just his third in the last 16 games. And Seattle nicked Hudson for two more in the fifth, with the second run scoring on a very unusual 4-6 fielder's choice when Austin Jackson hit a pop to shallow right that fell between three defenders. Second baseman Joe Panik picked up the ball and threw to second to force Logan Morrison for the second out, but Mike Zunino scored from third on the play for a 3-1 lead.
"That was a big play," McClendon said of Cruz's hustle to allow the first run to score. "There was a little life in this team. I liked that."
Petit strands two: After Kyle Seager singled and Seth Smith walked to begin the sixth inning, Giants manager Bruce Bochy brought in Yusmeiro Petit to relieve Hudson. Petit quickly struck out Brad Miller and Zunino before inducing a weak ground ball to retire Walker and keep the Giants within striking distance.
"We needed innings; we have some guys that have been working quite a bit," Bochy said. "[Petit] comes in, first and second, and gets out of that. I thought that was key for us to get some work out of him." More >
A Seager smash: Seager gave Walker a nice insurance run with a solo homer in the eighth off reliever Jeremy Affeldt, ripping a 2-1 fastball into the seats in right field for a 4-1 lead. The Mariners third baseman is quietly putting together another strong first half as he went 2-for-4 to put his batting average at .275 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs. Five of Seager's homers have come against left-handers.
"I've faced him in Spring Training," Seager said of the Giants' lefty specialist. "He's got good stuff, good run, he's got the big curveball. Fortunately I was able to get in a hitter's count and get the ball up in the zone."
Crawford flashes the leather: Brandon Crawford retired all three batters who stepped to the plate in the seventh inning. Crawford dove to his right to stop a hard chopper off the bat of Morrison and threw to Brandon Belt for the first out. He then backhanded a ball that Jackson pulled into the hole and fired to Belt again for the second out. For his final act, the shortstop positioned himself perfectly up the middle, leaped and snagged a Robinson Cano line drive.
"He's special. Everybody knows about what great stuff he has, but he battled and went right after them tonight and he competed. He was pretty good." -- Seager on Walker's mound performance.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mariners have won 12 of their last 15 games against the Giants dating back to 2000, which was the last time Seattle played at AT&T Park.
Mariners: Left-hander J.A. Happ (3-2, 3.72) takes the mound Tuesday as Seattle closes out its two-game Interleague set at AT&T Park in a 12:45 p.m. PT start. Happ hasn't won a game since May 9 and is 0-1 with a 4.30 ERA over his last six starts, taking the loss in his previous outing when he lasted just 2 1/3 innings and gave up four runs at Cleveland.
Giants: San Francisco turns to right-hander Tim Lincecum, who allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision Wednesday against the Mets. Lincecum is 10-11 with a 4.13 ERA in 28 career Interleague games.
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