Late heroics from Hanson, Crawford lift Giants to comeback win over D'backs

Late heroics from Hanson, Crawford lift Giants to comeback win over D'backs


SAN FRANCISCO — Down to their last out, the Giants somehow clinched a happy flight. 

Alen Hanson hit a huge two-run homer with two down in the ninth and Brandon Crawford lined a walk-off single an inning later. The 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks was the fifth in six games on this homestand. With two outs in the 10th, Andrew McCutchen hit a shot to center that Jarrod Dyson misjudged, turning it into a double, and setting the stage. 

The Giants trailed by two heading into the bottom of the ninth, and Brad Boxberger, the excellent Diamondbacks closer, sandwiched a pair of outs around a walk of Mac Williamson. Bochy sent Hanson up for Austin Jackson and he pulled a pitch down the line, dropping a game-tying shot into the arcade. The homer was the fifth for Hansen, who has been a revelation as a backup middle infielder. 

— The Giants probably deserved to lose this one just because of the way they handled Paul Goldschmidt. He entered the series with a .208 batting average, but he looked like his old self Monday and had three hits Tuesday. He doubled in his first at-bat Wednesday and singled the second time up. Still, Chris Stratton pitched to him with a runner on second and no outs in the fifth and a low curveball was banged off the wall for an RBI double. The sixth-inning decision was way worse. With two outs and a runner on second, Reyes Moronta grooved a 2-2 fastball and Goldschmidt hit another RBI double. 

— Stratton had his shortest start in over a month. He was pulled in the fifth and charged with three earned on seven hits and two walks. The last time he failed to get an out in the fifth was April 28, the day he returned from the paternity list. 

— Pablo Sandoval hit a loud and long homer in the first. The solo shot was measured at 447 feet, making it the longest homer of the season for Sandoval. The exit velocity was 109.5 mph. He has only hit one ball harder this season. 

— Clay Buchholz — yes, that Clay Buchnolz — struck out seven and gave up just two runs over six innings. 

Bumgarner gets back to his old self after two-month layoff

Bumgarner gets back to his old self after two-month layoff

SAN FRANCISCO — Forget the standing ovations or “Fire on the Mountain.” Put aside the fastball that had David Peralta take a knee, the cutter that he turned to repeatedly, and the changeup that was so surprisingly sharp that Bumgarner threw a month’s worth of them on a whim

Here’s how you know Madison Bumgarner is back and feeling normal: He was pissed off that he didn’t get a run in during his second at-bat of the season. 

“You’ve just got to find a way to get a guy in,” he said of a fifth-inning confrontation with Patrick Corbin. “Bases loaded, no outs…there’s no excuse for it.”

Well, there is, and it’s not the fact that Bumgarner is a pitcher. He had just one at-bat during a two-start rehab assignment, and Corbin is a monster. But Bumgarner wouldn’t want to hear that. He is dangerous at the plate, even coming off a long layoff, and he was disappointed in his strikeout, one of three straight for the Giants in that big spot. 

There was little else to quibble with, though. Bumgarner scattered eight hits over six innings, didn’t walk any Diamondbacks, and struck out three. He got stronger as the night went on, but the Giants didn’t. They fell 3-2, wasting one opportunity after another against a scuffling Diamondbacks club. 

The Giants left 11 on base, three in that fifth inning, when Gorkys Hernandez and Buster Posey followed with strikeouts. Posey later flied out with the bases loaded, but came up with an RBI single in the top of the ninth. Evan Longoria couldn’t finish the rally. 

That left Bumgarner with a loss, but this wasn’t a bitter night. After missing two months with a fractured pinky — “I can’t believe all this is over a pinky finger,” he would often say — Bumgarner returned to lead the rotation. He mixed in a new wrinkle, too, throwing 14 changeups, his most in nearly four years. 

“I had a good feel for it tonight,” he said. “More than I usually would. We started going to it and it was working. I’m trying to go out there and compete and adjust. I’m willing to change my gameplan.”

Bumgarner said he went changeup-heavy to offset the Diamondbacks’ aggressive swings, and that’s another way you know he’s feeling right. This night was not about getting his arm strength up. Facing hitters for just the third time since March, Bumgarner felt good enough to adjust and go for the jugular. He came up a bit short, but he was happy to be back out there trying to carry a heavy load. 

“That’s what I get paid to do,” he said. “It’s nice to earn your paycheck instead of stealing it.”

Bumgarner solid in return but Giants' win streak ends with close loss to D'Backs

Bumgarner solid in return but Giants' win streak ends with close loss to D'Backs

SAN FRANCISCO — Madison Bumgarner’s return was supposed to nudge the Giants back above .500. Instead, it snapped a five-game winning streak, but the big lefty wasn’t to blame. 

The Giants had no answers for the other lefty starter, Patrick Corbin, wasting six strong innings from Bumgarner in his season debut. The 3-2 loss was the first since last Tuesday, and dropped the Giants back to 2 1/2 games out of first in the tight NL West race. 

The Giants had their chances. They loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez and Buster Posey struck out. They loaded the bases again in the seventh but Posey flied out. They put two on in the eighth, but Pablo Sandoval grounded out. The tying run got to second in the bottom of the ninth, but Evan Longoria grounded out. 

Here are the rest of the details... 

—- Bumgarner threw 82 pitches before giving way to the bullpen. He gave up two earned, allowing eight hits, walking none, and striking out three. Both runs came in the second, when Ketel Marte and Chris Owings led off with back-to-back doubles. 

—- The fifth inning appeared to be when Bumgarner found his groove. He struck out Corbin on a cutter and threw a fastball up and in to David Peralta that had the outfielder down on his knees. He also waved both arms when he didn’t get an outside strike. Bumgarner caught a break when Paul Goldschmidt’s double skipped into the seats, keeping a runner at third, and he took advantage of it. The next pitch was an inning-ending groundout to short. 

—- There was a new wrinkle on this night. Bumgarner threw a bunch of changeups, adding to an arsenal that is heavy on three pitches most nights. The tracking systems couldn’t agree on how many he threw, but MLB had him at 14 and Baseball Savant said 16. He hadn’t thrown 14 changeups in a game since June 27, 2014. He threw three total in his final three starts last season. 

—- Mark Melancon looks like the guy the Giants thought they were getting. In two appearances since coming off the DL, he has five strikeouts. All have come on a big looping curveball. 

—- The Giants drew 36,925 for Bumgarner’s season debut. A good crowd, a loud crowd…but it has become very difficult for them to sell out AT&T Park like they used to.