SAN FRANCISCO — After a series of moves, the Cubs chose not to face All-Star starter Brandon Crawford in the bottom of the 11th inning on Monday night. Pablo Sandoval made them pay.
Sandoval lined a single to left with the bases loaded, clinching a 2-1 win over the Cubs on an exciting first night of a three-game series. The walk-off win was the seventh of the season for the Giants, who had one of their best all-around pitching nights of the season.
Andrew Suarez was sharp and Kyle Hendricks threw it back to his Cy Young push, but this one would be decided by the bullpens. The Giants looked to be in control when Hunter Pence hit a one-out triple in the bottom of the 10th, but Chase d’Arnaud and Steven Duggar struck out. An inning later, Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Belt got the lineup in gear, and Sandoval won it after an intentional walk of Crawford.
Here’s what else you need to know…
—- Alen Hanson scored from first on a wild pickoff throw. Yes, that sentence is correct. Hendricks’ throw to first in the fifth inning went down past the visiting bullpens and Hanson cruised into third base. He hesitated as he passed the bag and Javier Baez, perhaps the game’s most exciting runner, paused for a second. That was all it took. Hanson broke for home and just barely beat the throw, diving in with a headfirst slide.
—- Suarez was without his normal command, but allowed just one run over six innings. He has a 2.00 ERA over his last six starts and hasn’t allowed more than one run since June 18.
—- Suarez was hitless in 26 big league at-bats before bouncing a single up the middle in the third inning. Hendricks left a 1-0 slider across the plate and Suarez hit it into center as his fellow pitchers, lined up on the dugout rail, went nuts. Suarez appeared to possibly maybe crack the slightest hint of a smile.
—- Duggar had a sprint speed of 30.2 feet/second on a fielder’s choice. That’s the ninth-fastest recorded time by a Giant this season.