There has been a lot of talk about players who need to be huge since Melky Cabrera was suspended.
But the biggest player in the post-Melky days has been Angel Pagan.
In the first five games of the Giants’ current road trip, Pagan is 11 for 23 with five runs, three doubles, a triple and three RBI.
And in Tuesday’s win over the Dodgers, he turned in the biggest play on defense with help from catcher Hector Sanchez.
After Tim Lincecum sailed through the first five innings by giving up no runs on two hits and no walks.
Then it looked like Lincecum was headed to his dreaded blow-up inning.
A.J. Ellis opened the inning with a walk, which was followed by a single by Juan Rivera.
Then Shane Victorino singled to center which almost surely appeared would score Ellis from second.
Pagan came up throwing to home. First baseman Buster Posey did not cut off the throw, which was on the mark and Sanchez blocked the plate to get Ellis out.
So instead of it being 4-1 Giants with no outs and runners on first and second, the score remained 4-0 with one out and runners on first and second.
Adam Kennedy followed with another single, which loaded bases.
So the Dodgers had produced a walk and three singles, but had no runs to show for it. But they also had Matt Kemp coming up.
Kemp drove a Lincecum pitch to deep right field, which Hunter Pence caught on the warning track for a sacrifice fly.
Bruce Bochy then did what he would not have done in previous years with Lincecum. He pulled him before things exploded on him. Jose Mijares came in and struck out Andre Ethier to end the inning.
Santiago Casilla pitched two perfect innings, then Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez teamed up to get the final three outs in the ninth, with Lopez getting Ethier to ground into a game-ending double play for his third save of the year and his second in two nights.
Now, the Giants lead the Dodgers by 1.5 games in the NL West. At the very least, the Giants are now guaranteed of leaving L.A. in first place in the NL West. With Matt Cain throwing Wednesday, they have a chance to sweep the Dodgers and leave with 2.5-game lead.