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Sanchez wins the game with a walk-off single

SAN FRANCISCO -- Freddy Sanchez savored the moment. He thrives in pressure situations. Yet he still took the time to acknowledge the bullpen.

Sanchez, who had two hits, singled in the bottom of the 13th inning to lift the San Francisco Giants to yet another improbable comeback, beating the Washington Nationals, 5-4, Monday night after trailing by four runs entering the seventh.

"The bullpen was remarkable, like always," Sanchez said. "They came in and did their job. That's not easy when the game is that tight. They gave us the chance to pull it out."

Sanchez hit a 1-1 offering from Craig Stammen (0-1) into right field for the game-winning run. Javier Lopez (3-1) got the win. Had the game gone any longer, Miguel Tejada might have taken the mound.

"I just work here," said Tejada, who beat out a possible double-play ball to keep the winning rally alive. "What can I do? I can't say no to the manager. He's the boss."

Chris Stewart, a late-inning replacement, walked to open the inning. After one out, Andres Torres singled ahead of Tejada's grounder, setting up Sanchez's heroics.

"He's such a good hitter and he uses the whole field," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's a tough out and he puts the ball in play. We had the right guy up there."

The Giants had a chance to win in the ninth, as they had runners on first and third with one out. Torres raced home on a contact play when Cody Ross grounded sharply to shortstop Ian Desmond, who made a perfect throw home. The Giants also left two runners on in the 10th.

It didn't matter as six relief pitchers -- Guillermo Mota, Santiago Casilla, Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt, who celebrated his 32nd birthday, Sergio Romo and Lopez -- combined for eight scoreless innings.

"Timmy [Lincecum] was not quite on top of his game, but those guys stepped up and picked each other up," Bochy said. "What a great job they did."

"The reason we have these kind of games is because of the bullpen we have," Tejada said. "We've had so many moments like this."

Sanchez's heroics would not have been possible without the bullpen, or if Nate Schierholtz had not driven in the tying run in a three-run eighth inning. Aubrey Huff singled home two runs in the eighth to set up Schieholtz's big hit.

Aaron Rowand got the Giants on the board with a solo homer in the seventh.

Lincecum knows a thing or two about strikeouts but he's still trying to figure out how to beat the Nationals.

"That's great baseball, to bounce back from the hole I left them in," Lincecum said.

Lincecum recorded his 1,000th career strikeout in the second inning, getting Jerry Hairston Jr. to become the eighth pitcher to record as many strikeouts in their first five years in the big leagues.

"I'm one of his victims," Tejada said. "He's struck me out more than a few times. That's pretty impressive to achieve a number like that in so little time."

Lincecum said he was aware of the standing ovation he received as he walked off the field following the second inning.

"That part of it was great," he said. "It was awesome and incredibly loud. I had my head down because I was thinking about the home run."

Because the night belonged to the Giants, Lincecum's manager was able to enjoy his achievement.

"It's a milestone," Bochy said. "It's hard to believe he's got 1,000 strikeouts already. He's still too young."

Lincecum lasted five innings in the contest and remains winless in his last four starts against Washington. He last beat the Nationals exactly three years ago (June 6, 2008), and has never beaten them in three starts at AT&T Park.

Rowand's home run, his second of the season, ended John Lannan's 19-inning scoreless streak.

Lincecum has allowed nine runs on 15 hits over his last 11 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out five. Comments