The Giants are heading home with a win, and a severe case of the Willies.
After Madison Bumgarner pitched 7 1/3 stellar innings, Brian Wilson recorded his first save of the year with a heavy dose of drama.
“It’s not like I want to pitch in that situation,” Wilson said. “But when I do, I feel like I’ve been more successful than not.”
I guess that’s true. But we’d gladly take a 1-2-3 inning.
Wilson’s ninth-inning adventure began with a double by Troy Tulowitzki followed by an infield single by Michael Cuddyer when Brandon Crawford smothered the ball but could not throw out Cuddyer.
Wilson threw a 94-mph fastball past Wilin Rosario for strike three and the first out.
Jason Giambi singled to right to load the bases, then Todd Helton smoked a liner right at Emmaunel Burriss for the second out.
Then on a 1-0 pitch to Tyler Colvin, Wilson turned his ankle. Trainer Dave Groeschner came out and Wilson threw a warmup pitch before declaring that he was fine.
“No big deal,” Wilson said. “It’s really nothing, just one of those things they have to check in — a non-issue.”
But radar gun said something different, as Wilson strained to get his fastball to reach 90 mph the rest of the inning.
He walked Colvin to make it 4-2. Marco Scutaro worked the count to 2-2 before flying out to Nate Schierholtz in right to end the game.
“It’s Willy’s way,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy added that, with Wilson throwing back-to-back days and laboring through a 32-pitch inning, that The Beard would likely not be used in Friday’s home opener against the Pirates.
In the end, the late drama almost overshadowed an outstanding effort from Bumgarner, who bounced back nicely from a rough opener last week in Arizona.
He gave up one run on four hits and two walks.
Even though the Giants score four runs for the sixth time in six games this season, it was pitching that supplied their two wins — first from Zito and Bumgarner.
“It’s our game,” Bochy said. “It’s what we count on. It means you have a chance to win the game.”
And the pitching as a whole should be better at home, as the Giants open a six-game homestead Friday.
“We’ve been on the road so much,” Bochy said. “The guys have dealt with it great. But it’s time to go home and get settled in our ballpark.”
- Melky Cabrera went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI as he continues to swing a hot bat, hitting .385.
- After a slow start, Brandon Crawford is heating up. He went 2 for 4 with a double and run scored and now is hitting .261.
- Two players who are not heating up: Angel Pagan (.130) and Ryan Theriot (.125). They may both be sitting on Friday (we can only hope).
Matt Cain gets the call for the home opener against James McDonald and the Pirates at 1:30 p.m. Friday at AT&T Park. That is, if the game is played. Thunder storms rolled through the Bay Area Thursday night and Friday’s forecast calls for more and a 100 percent chance of rain.
We came pretty close on a predicted lineup Thursday, so we’ll take another shot at it for Friday. Our lone doubt is the leadoff spot and whether or not Bochy has the stones (or brains) to sit Pagan on the home opener.
CF Gregor Blanco
RF Melky Cabrera
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
LF Aubrey Huff
1B Brandon Belt
SS Brandon Crawford
2B Emmanuel Burriss
P Matt Cain
The rest of the series goes:
Pirates (TBA) vs. Giants (Zito), 6:05 p.m. Saturday
Pirates (Correia) vs. Giants (Vogelsong), 1:05 p.m. Sunday