Sanchez's rare homer gives Giants victory
Second baseman belts first long ball of season in big sixth
TORONTO -- Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez waited a long time to hit his first home run of the season. In fact, the last time Sanchez went deep was way back on Aug. 4, 2009, against Astros reliever Wesley Wright. While he has never been renowned for his home run abilities, Sanchez sure knows how to pick a moment.
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
Down by one run with men on first and third in the sixth inning, the nine-year veteran took a 1-2 offering from Blue Jays reliever Brian Tallet down the left-field line, clanking off the foul pole for only the 39th home run of his Major League career. The blast sparked a five-run inning from the Giants and they never looked back, going on to defeat the Blue Jays, 9-6, at Rogers Centre on Sunday.
"I don't hit a lot of home runs," Sanchez said. "Obviously it feels good when I get one. I'm not up there looking to hit home runs or anything like that, I'm just looking to put the ball in play and try to drive something."
Left fielder Aubrey Huff, who hit a solo blast in the second inning off Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum, said it was only a matter of time before Sanchez -- the only Giant in the starting lineup not to have homered this season -- joined the Giants' home run club.
"About time," said Huff with a cheek-to-cheek smile. "He's been complaining about 'I have no pop, I have no pop,' but that was big.
"I just told him right now in the training room that the ball stayed real true for him and stayed straight. Some of those balls thrown in have a tendency to hook, but he stayed inside nice and kept it fair."
The Giants' offense, which had scored only two runs over the first two games vs. the Blue Jays, could not have picked a better time to break out. Starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, who entered Sunday's contest with a sparkling 2.78 ERA, had control problems right out of the gate, throwing only 36 of his 73 pitches for strikes. The left-hander lasted just 2 2/3 innings, leaving the game with runners on second and third after surrendering an RBI single to Blue Jays catcher John Buck. He was tagged for three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and five walks.
Denny Bautista replaced Sanchez to earn his first win of the season, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless frames and preventing what was evolving into an early Blue Jays rally. The right-hander looked fantastic, bouncing back after a shaky four-run outing June 10 in Cincinnati.
"This game is hard to figure out sometimes," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You get two great starts [from Barry Zito on Friday, and Matt Cain on Saturday], and one guy that scuffles and you end up winning that game. [Sanchez] comes out in the third, [but] the guys battled hard -- the last thing we want to do is get swept here."
With the win, the Giants snapped a two-game losing slide and earned their first and last win of the season in an American League stadium. The Giants dropped three straight games to the Athletics from May 21-23 -- a series in which they only scored one run.
"Maybe a little champagne on the plane, with the day off tomorrow," Bochy said jokingly about salvaging a win Sunday.
The Giants offense was held at bay by Marcum, scoring two runs -- the Huff solo blast in the second, and an Aaron Rowand fielder's choice in the fourth -- through five innings. With Marcum removed from the game, however, the Giants rallied for a five-run sixth inning.
Leadoff hitter Andres Torres started the big sixth with a two-out RBI single to plate Edgar Renteria. Freddy Sanchez then followed with the three-run blast to left field scoring both Torres and Rowand. Juan Uribe added to his team-leading RBI total (43) with a double off reliever Casey Janssen, who attempted to stop the bleeding after Brian Tallet allowed four hits and one walk in just one-third of an inning.
Pat Burrell, serving as the Giants' designated hitter, added a late two-run home run in the eighth, providing some breathing room before reliever Jeremy Affeldt allowed three runs in the ninth.
"If you keep getting runners into scoring position, it's the law of averages -- someone will eventually get a hit," said Burrell.
While every member of the Giants' starting lineup collected a hit, it was Sanchez's home run -- his first in 139 at-bats -- that changed the course and outcome of the ballgame.
"I'm in with the guys now," chuckled Sanchez.
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.