PHOENIX (AP)—Their teammate lying on the dugout floor, barely conscious and surrounded by trainers, the San Francisco Giants weren’t thinking about moving runners, getting outs, even winning the game.
The outfielder should be after a scary head injury and that’s all that really matters to the Giants, even after their impressive 10-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday night.
“A scary moment because it hit him good,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We were concerned about him.”
Velez was injured in the fourth inning when a sharp liner by teammate Pat Burrell(notes) shot into the dugout. Unable to see the ball coming through the teammates standing in front of him, Velez couldn’t react in time and was hit on the left side of the head.
Some teammates immediately gathered around, while others couldn’t look. The trainers rushed over. Burrell took a few moments before returning to the batter’s box. Even the opposing team cringed at seeing the fluke injury.
“It made me sick,” said first baseman Adam LaRoche(notes), the closest Arizona player to San Francisco’s dugout. “I heard it hit and it sounded like it hit the back wall. Apparently, it hit him right in the face and he went down so fast you couldn’t even tell it was him. I will say a prayer for him.”
The prognosis is good.
Bochy said Velez never lost consciousness, though wasn’t real responsive after first being struck, and CT scans were negative. Velez was talking at the hospital, where he’s expected to spend the night for further tests.
The news sent a wave of relief through San Francisco’s clubhouse.
“It’s too bad when you see your friend, your teammate like that,” Giants second baseman Juan Uribe(notes) said. “On the other team, too. Nobody wants to see a player get hit like that. We’re glad he’s going to be OK.”
The Giants kept focus after seeing their teammate carried off on a stretcher.
Uribe hit a grand slam off Sam Demel(notes) in the seventh inning. Aubrey Huff(notes) and Edgar Renteria(notes) drove in two runs each. Madison Bumgarner(notes) (4-2) was effective before and after the scary scene, pitching seven effective innings for his fourth consecutive win.
Buster Posey(notes) had two hits and an RBI to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, matching Orlando Cepeda’s 1958 streak for second-longest by a Giants rookie and leaving him five short of the record set by Willie McCovey in 1959.
The Giants also pounded out 11 hits, giving them 15 wins in 19 games and wins in four straight road series for the first time since 2004.
Considering the injury to Velez, this may have been one of San Francisco’s best games of the season.
“It’s a distraction. There’s a lot of concern for Eugenio,” Bochy said. “We were praying at that time, but the guys did a good job of keeping their focus in a well-played game. We did a lot of good things today.”
Arizona can’t say the same.
Starter Ian Kennedy(notes) (5-8) had a shaky-at-times outing coming off consecutive wins, allowing four runs in 6 2-3 innings that included two wild pitches in the first. The bullpen was brutal after showing signs of improvement over the past couple of weeks, four relievers combining to allow six runs over the final 2 1-3 innings.
Arizona’s offense had four other hits beside the two long balls by LaRoche and Reynolds, and went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. The Diamondbacks also struck 11 times, giving them 51 in four games and 907 on the season—well ahead of the pace for baseball’s all-time record.
“There is no question they are pressing,” interim manager Kirk Gibson said. “It is a brutal game sometimes and we have to push through it.”
Notes: A scoring change from Friday night’s game took away an error from Diamondbacks RF Justin Upton(notes) in the ninth inning and awarded a double to Andres Torres(notes). … Arizona C Miguel Montero(notes) was given his second straight day off and will rest again on Sunday before going back in the lineup. … LaRoche made an over-the-rail grab at first for the second time in three games, snaring Burrell’s pop-up while leaning over in the first inning.