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Giants P Romo gets best of Davis, Orioles

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- It wasn't exactly striking out Miguel Cabrera looking to end the World Series, but San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo experienced the next-best thing Saturday.

Romo got major-league home run and RBI leader Chris Davis to ground out to second base with the potential tying run on base in the ninth inning, saving one of the Giants' most exciting wins of the season, a 3-2, nationally televised triumph over the Baltimore Orioles.

"I can see it," Romo said of the comparison between Davis' at-bat and the showdown with Detroit Tigers triple-crown winner Cabrera in Game 4 of last year's World Series. "The big power slugger against a closer who's not that big."

Hunter Pence broke a sixth-inning tie with a bases-loaded, two-run double as the Giants did all their scoring in the inning and survived Davis' 42nd home run, a solo shot, in the eighth that made it a one-run game.

And set the stage for the ultimate showdown.

Pinch-hitter Henry Urrutia greeted Romo with a single to open the ninth. Two outs later, up came Davis with a chance to tie the game with an extra-base hit or put the Orioles ahead with a 43rd homer.

The end came quickly. After missing outside with his first pitch, Romo got the left-handed-hitting Davis to ground weakly to Marco Scutaro, allowing the Giants to even the series.

"We had the situations we wanted late in the game," noted Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose team also stranded two runners in the eighth after Davis' home run. "We couldn't do it today like we did last night."

With Romo warming up in the bullpen Friday night, Davis smacked a two-run, tie-breaking double off Giants left-hander Javier Lopez in a three-run 10th inning that lifted the Orioles to a 5-2 win in the series opener.

There was no thought Saturday of bringing in Lopez. The ninth was Romo's, do or die.

"That's what the game is all about," observed Pence. "The best in the world against the best in the world. It was an exciting at-bat, and Romo just got him."

Pence's double, which capped an inning that began with the Giants losing 1-0, made it all possible.

Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (6-5) shut out the Giants on one hit through five innings before Andres Torres sparked the game-changing sixth with a leadoff single.

After a sacrifice bunt by Gregor Blanco, Scutaro tied the game with an RBI single that scored Torres from second.

Joaquin Arias flied out for the second out, and the Giants then appeared to catch a bad break when Brandon Belt's blast to center field bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, forcing Scutaro to stop at third.

Chen then intentionally walked Buster Posey after falling behind 2-0, and Pence followed with the Giants' first extra-base hit with the bases loaded in almost a month, a shot into the right-field corner that scored Scutaro and Belt for a 3-1 lead.

The clutch hit following an intentional walk was the second in the first two games of the series. Davis' 10th-inning double Friday followed an intentional walk to Adam Jones.

"It's nice to get a ball to fall in in one of those situations," Pence assured. "I was just trying to put the ball in play hard."

Guillermo Moscoso (1-0), who relieved Giants starter Chad Gaudin in the sixth inning, got the win after throwing two shutout innings. Santiago Casilla pitched the eighth, allowing Davis' home run, before Romo recorded his 28th save in a four-batter ninth.

Davis' home run, a monster shot that landed 10 rows deep in the center-field bleachers, was his sixth in 13 interleague games this season.

Chen lost despite allowing three or fewer runs for the 36th time in 46 major-league starts. He surrendered three runs on five hits, striking out two and walking one.

Despite getting out-hit 8-6, the Giants won for a fourth win in 13 interleague games this season.

Nick Markakis had three of Baltimore's eight hits, all singles.

The Orioles stranded 10 baserunners, including two in the eighth after one-out singles by Markakis and J.J. Hardy. Casilla struck out Ryan Flaherty and pinch-hitter Matt Wieters to retain the Giants' 3-2 lead.

Gaudin got no decision after laboring through five innings, throwing 93 pitches. But he worked his way through two hits and three walks to allow only a third-inning run, which was unearned.

The first-year Giant has now allowed two or fewer runs in nine of his 11 starts.

NOTES: Pence also had the Giants' most recent extra-base hit with the bases loaded, a fifth-inning triple in RHP Tim Lincecum's no-hit game in San Diego on July 13. ... Both hits against Gaudin were by left-handed batters. Righties went 0-for-7 against Gaudin; he has allowed right-handed batters to hit just .168 against him this season, the lowest mark in the National League. ... Markakis' 3-for-4 effort allowed him to improve his career interleague batting average to .343, the highest all-time among players with at least 400 at-bats. Mike Piazza (.340) had moved ahead of Markakis after the right fielder's 0-for-5 outing Friday night. ... The Orioles announced before the game that RHP Scott Feldman, whose turn in the starting rotation was skipped this week because the team had two off days, would make his next start Monday in the series opener at Arizona.
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