Giants win on wild pitch
AP Sports Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Nate Schierholtz waited on the balls of his feet, ready to run if a pitch got away. Third-base coach Tim Flannery prepared him for that very possibility.
Sure enough, Schierholtz scored the winning run on a wild pitch by Jason Jennings with two outs in the 11th inning and the San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers 2-1 on Saturday night.
“That’s probably a first,” said Schierholtz, who hit an inside-the-park homer last Sunday against Oakland. “I was ready to go. You just kind of have to react. That one wasn’t really close. It kicked all the way to the dugout.”
Schierholtz, who entered in a double-switch in the top half, doubled off Jennings (2-3) to start the inning, then advanced to third on a groundout. Pablo Sandoval drew an intentional walk to bring up Bengie Molina, who swung at the 0-1 wild pitch that bounced in the dirt, came up and hit catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and bounced toward San Francisco’s dugout.
“I was trying to make him miss,” Jennings said. “A bloop double that barely hits the chalk and a slider in the dirt. That’s the ballgame.”
It was the second game in the majors Saturday to end on a wild pitch in extra innings. The Chicago Cubs beat Cleveland 6-5 in the 13th on Kerry Wood’s wayward toss.
Texas’ Chris Davis struck out three times and became the fastest player in major league history to reach 100 strikeouts, doing so in 219 at-bats. Melvin Nieves held the previous mark of 235 at-bats with Detroit in 1997.
Sergio Romo (2-0) walked Ian Kinsler to start the 11th, but escaped unscathed for the win. Brian Wilson also pitched two perfect innings for San Francisco. The Giants have won 10 of their last 11 with Texas, and 10 straight in their waterfront ballpark.
Aaron Rowand homered for the second straight night and has hit safely in 22 of 31 career games against the Rangers, including 18 of his past 20.
Rowand homered in the third, then Kinsler tied it with a solo shot leading off the sixth. That was all the offense either team could muster.
“It took a break,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Both teams were missing that big hit.”
Omar Vizquel earned the start at shortstop for Texas and was looking to break countryman Luis Aparicio’s record for hits by a Venezuelan player of 2,677, but went 0 for 4.
The 42-year-old Vizquel, a fan favorite while playing the past four seasons with San Francisco, received a warm ovation when he stepped into the batter’s box in the second.
Texas was held to three hits and has its first three-game skid since May 19-21 at Detroit.
Rangers left-hander Derek Holland remained winless as a starter despite a strong performance. His lone win came in relief on May 12 against Seattle. He matched a career best with five strikeouts in a career-high seven innings, giving up one run and four hits.
Matt Cain also pitched well enough to win in his first career appearance against the Rangers. The right-hander had won six straight starts, but hasn’t lost in nine outings since his lone defeat on May 2 against Colorado.
Cain retired his final seven batters and is making a push for his first All-Star nod next month. He was happy to see the bullpen pull this one out.
“It’s definitely a weird way to see a game end,” Cain said. “It’s something you don’t see very often, especially twice in one day.”
The Giants honored recent 300-game winner Randy Johnson before the game. The 45-year-old Johnson became the 24th pitcher to reach 300 when he won at Washington on June 4. He received a warm ovation from the crowd, tipping his hat in every direction.
Notes: Texas RHP Frank Francisco returned from the disabled list and a shoulder injury. He struck out two in the eighth. … Struggling Giants LHP Jonathan Sanchez will make his start Monday as scheduled after team brass considered skipping his turn. … San Francisco INF Juan Uribe could be back in the starting lineup Sunday. He injured a hamstring June 13 and has made just two pinch-hit appearances since.