Vogelsong pitches Giants past Rangers
AP Baseball Writer
SAN FRANCISCO – Ryan Vogelsong gets such regular grief about his antisocial tendencies that a new form of razzing became a nice change of pace Saturday.
Not only did Vogelsong pitch the San Francisco Giants to another victory, he added a hit in the process. And his teammates had a ball with that base hit considering it had been so long since they’d seen one.
Vogelsong pitched a season-high 7 2-3 innings to win his fifth straight decision, Nate Schierholtz hit an RBI triple and the Giants bounced back from their first shutout of the season to beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Saturday.
“Don’t miss the ball,” fellow starter Matt Cain quipped from a nearby locker, moments after reliever Jeremy Affeldt hollered a ribbing of his own toward Vogelsong.
No matter who comes to the plate right now, the Giants are suddenly producing just the key hits that were so hard to come by in the first two months of the season.
“It’s big, to keep the lineup going and push some runs across,” said catcher Buster Posey, who offered Vogelsong some hitting tips heading into the day.
Ryan Theriot added an RBI single off Scott Feldman (0-5) while helping Vogelsong (5-2) run his unbeaten streak to seven outings since losing May 3 against Miami.
Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval also hit an RBI single in his first game since May 2, pumping his right fist as he ran it out in the seventh. He went 1 for 4 and received a warm ovation each time he stood in to bat. The switch hitter came off the disabled list and returned to the starting lineup playing third base and batting third after undergoing May 4 surgery for a broken hamate bone in his left hand.
Angel Pagan, who had his 15-game hitting streak overall and 28-game run at home snapped in Friday’s 5-0 loss, had an RBI double in the seventh and singled in the second. He also made a running backhanded catch to rob Adrian Beltre of a hit to end the third.
Texas’ Mitch Moreland splashed a home run into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field arcade. It was his first career pinch-hit drive, No. 4 by the Rangers this year and the 25th splash-hit homer by an opponent.
“It was just one run and we didn’t get what we wanted,” Moreland said. “I don’t worry about us being down too long. We’ll come back and get back on track.”
Mike Napoli connected in the ninth against Clay Hensley, who walked Craig Gentry before Santiago Casilla got the final out for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.
Vogelsong allowed only one baserunner past second until Moreland’s homer, shutting down the Rangers a day after the two-time reigning AL champions snapped an 11-game losing streak in San Francisco with a 5-0 win. That victory Friday night marked the first time San Francisco has been blanked this year.
“He’s got a maniacal focus that you love,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s a tough lineup. What a job he did.”
Gregor Blanco had two hits and Schierholtz also had an eighth-inning double. San Francisco produced five hits with runners in scoring position for just the third time this year.
Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum takes the mound in the rubber game Sunday for San Francisco, trying to snap a seven-start winless stretch in which he’s 0-4. The hard-throwing right-hander pitched the Game 5 World Series clincher for the Giants at Texas in 2010, beating the Rangers for the second time in the Series. He has never faced them in the regular season.
Vogelsong allowed one run and three hits while lowering his ERA to 2.26, third-best in the NL.
He singled in the third for his first hit in 21 at-bats this season and 24th of his career in 133 at-bats. He scored the first run of the game on an error by second baseman Ian Kinsler, who fielded Theriot’s grounder about 20 feet off second and – with baserunner Blanco blocking his way – threw wildly toward first. The ball bounced off the dugout screen as teammates ducked.
Feldman struck out a season-best seven and walked one in 5 1-3 innings, showing some positive signs.
The right-hander, who grew up in nearby Burlingame, worked deeper into a game than he has all season and was more consistent than when he allowed eight runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings in a 12-1 loss Monday at Oakland. Feldman lost his lone other start against the Giants on June 19, 2009, when matched up with Randy Johnson.
Rangers manager Ron Washington stuck with Gentry a day after he produced a career-high five hits, but he went 0 for 2 with a walk and a hit by a pitch.
“It might be a long time before he gets five straight hits in the big leagues again,” Washington said. “It just doesn’t happen that often.”
San Francisco’s Melky Cabrera missed his second straight game with a strained right hamstring and Bochy hopes to stay away from him through Sunday’s series finale. The team has an off day Monday before hosting Houston starting Tuesday night.
NOTES: Home run king Barry Bonds has 35 splash hits. … The Giants are 22-8 when scoring first. … Washington hopes to get about 60 pitches from Sunday spot starter Alexi Ogando, taking the turn of Derek Holland after the LHP went on the disabled list Thursday with a fatigued throwing shoulder. He also had a stomach virus that caused him to lose about 15 pounds. “Derek is a horse, and he was acting like a pony,” Washington said. “He was sick. We’re going to work him hard and build his stamina back up.” Washington doesn’t need Ogando to throw his usual 97-100 mph, saying, “97, 98, 99, 100’s something you go get when you need it.”… Giants 1B coach Roberto Kelly was ill and away from the team.