SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Daniel Ortmeier has no problems with the San Francisco Giants’ plans to have him bat exclusively right-handed.
Ortmeier hit a two-out, RBI double in the ninth off San Diego’s Heath Bell and the Giants won consecutive games for the first time this season by beating the Padres 1-0 on Wednesday night.
“I had a good BP today and decided it was something I felt very comfortable with,” Ortmeier said. “I just got a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it and came out with the win. It was huge.”
Ortmeier’s double over the head of center fielder Jim Edmonds bounced at the base of the wall and drove in pinch-runner Rajai Davis from second base. Davis stole second after replacing Bengie Molina, who singled leading off the inning for San Francisco.
Tyler Walker (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth to earn the win, combining with starter Jonathan Sanchez, Merkin Valdez and Jack Taschner on the four-hit shutout. Walker has not allowed a run in five appearances this season.
Both teams had plenty of opportunities to score, but it wasn’t until Ortmeier’s hit off Bell (0-1) in the ninth that the Giants broke through.
“We put him in a tough spot today,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He has had a rough go, especially from the left side. But this is a great start.”
Earlier in the day, Bochy informed the switch-hitting San Francisco rookie the team no longer wanted him to bat left-handed and told him to instead focus on hitting right-handed, something he hadn’t done since playing in college at the University of Texas-Arlington.
“Left-handed’s been a high maintenance thing for him where he’s really been fighting it quite a bit, so we want to try to simplify it,” Bochy said before the game. “He’s got a great swing right-handed and let’s just go from there.”
Molina, who hit a walk-off homer in the 11th to beat San Diego on Tuesday, opened the ninth by singling off Bell. Davis stole second but Bell retired Fred Lewis and Jose Castillo to set the stage for Ortmeier’s ninth-inning heroics.
It’s the first time San Francisco has won back-to-back games on walk-off hits since May 27-28, 2004.
“I didn’t look until I hit the ball and saw Edmonds running back,” said Ortmeier, who was grabbed in a bear-hug by Taschner after his game-winning hit. “That’s what you work for, that’s what you play for, is stuff like that. It was a blast.”
Sanchez, a reliever for two years in San Francisco before earning the fifth spot in the Giants rotation this spring, pitched six shutout innings and set a career high with 10 strikeouts in his second start of the season.
The Giants’ left-hander gave up just three hits and walked two before leaving in the seventh after giving up back-to-back singles to Edmonds and Khalil Greene.
“I didn’t change anything,” said Sanchez, who gave up seven runs in four innings during his last start on April 4. “I was getting ahead of the hitters. I just went out there relaxed and did my best.”
Valdez replaced Sanchez in the seventh and immediately got some help from his defense when Lewis caught Josh Bard’s fly ball to left and threw out Edmonds, who had tagged at third, at the plate.
San Diego starter Justin Germano didn’t have the strikeouts that Sanchez did but was equally effective.
The right-hander, who matched his career high for innings pitched, gave up four hits over seven innings and worked his way out of jams in the second, third and fifth. He allowed only one runner past second base and set down 12 of the final 14 he faced.
“Both starters pitched great,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “Justin matched (Sanchez). They went toe-to-toe. He’s got a lot of confidence right now.”
Two-time Olympian Marilyn King and paralympic athlete and Iraq War veteran Kortney Clemons threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Both carried the Olympic torch in San Francisco earlier in the day. … Giants 1B Rich Aurilia went 2-for-3 and needs one hit to tie Matt Williams for ninth place on the franchise’s career hit list. … San Diego RHP Clay Hensley is scheduled to throw one inning of extended spring training in Arizona on Thursday. Hensley underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder in September. … C Michael Barrett is expected to rejoin the Padres on Friday in Los Angeles to begin rehabilitation from an elbow strain.