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Giants walk off with win on Quiroz's HR

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- After five big-league stops in nine seasons without making it to the playoffs, Guillermo Quiroz says he chose to join the San Francisco Giants this year because he wanted to be a part of something special.

The 32-year-old backup catcher was more than just a part Saturday night. He was the cause of it.

The pinch-hitting Quiroz smacked a home run off former teammate Brandon League with one out in the 10th inning and the Giants overcame a seventh-run fifth by the Los Angeles Dodgers to beat their National League West rivals 10-9 at AT&T Park.

In beating the Dodgers in walk-off fashion for the second night in a row, the Giants capped their 11th come-from-behind victory of the season thanks to Quiroz's heroics -- the first walk-off hit of a big-league career that had previous stints with Toronto, Seattle, Texas, Baltimore and Boston.

"I learned not too long ago: You've got to take a shot," Quiroz said of swinging for the fences even while facing a two-strike count against League. "I hit it pretty good. When I hit them like that in BP (batting practice), usually they go out."

That hasn't happened for the Venezuelan native quite so frequently during games. The homer was just the third of his career, his first as a Giant.

"This team has won the World Series two of the last three years," Quiroz said. "When you're a ballplayer, that's your hope -- to be part of a team like that. To be a part of something special."

The win was the Giants' fifth in a row and allowed them to remain in a first-place tie with the Colorado Rockies in the NL West.

Quiroz was batting for Santiago Casilla (3-2), who got the win after pitching two innings of one-hit relief in what had previously been a slugfest. League (0-1) took the loss.

The game produced its nightly dose of injury news for the Dodgers, who placed shortstop Hanley Ramirez on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. His replacement, minor-league call-up Dee Gordon, contributed a triple, single, two runs scored, two RBIs and two stolen bases to a 15-hit attack.

Gordon, who played a Pacific Coast League game Friday night, arrived in San Francisco on Saturday afternoon. He came out swinging about five hours later.

"I was ready to play. I'm ready to help the team win," he said. "We put up nine runs. That's awesome."

Alas, it was not enough for the Dodgers, who also played without first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (sore neck) for a second consecutive day. They then lost utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. to what is being called a "minor" groin strain suffered as he was scoring on a Matt Kemp hit in the seven-run fifth.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was excited to see Gordon's immediate impact.

"He's starting to learn what he can do," Mattingly said. "When he gets on base, he can be a force."

The Giants had a casualty of their own, with leadoff man Angel Pagan having to leave the game in the sixth with a right hamstring strain. Francisco Peguero, hitting for the first time since being recalled from Triple-A Fresno on Friday, doubled and scored a run in the seventh as Pagan's replacement.

After a wild first 4 1/2 innings in which 14 runs were scored, the Giants used a home run by Andres Torres in the fifth and a two-out, bases-loaded wild pitch by Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez to tie the score at 8-all.

The teams traded runs in the sixth, with Carl Crawford and Pablo Sandoval getting RBIs on outs, to send the game forward tied at 9 and set up the dramatic finish.

One night after watching Buster Posey end a game with a ninth-inning homer, Sandoval felt there was something special about the way the Giants walked off Saturday.

"I'm excited (for Quiroz)," he said. "He's the first guy here and the last one here. You want to see a guy like that do well."

In an attempt to become the first Giants starter to post a win since April 21, Ryan Vogelsong was staked to a 5-0 lead after two innings and appeared headed for his second victory of the season when he took a 6-1 advantage into the fifth. But by the time he was pulled eight batters into the inning, his ERA -- sixth worst in the NL at the start of the day -- had ballooned even higher.

Kemp's two-run single got the big inning rolling, and two-out, RBI hits by Skip Schumaker and Juan Uribe pulled the Dodgers to 6-5 before Giants manager Bruce Bochy replaced Vogelsong in favor of Jean Machi.

That only added fuel to the Dodgers' fire as Gordon greeted Machi with a liner to right center that Giants right fielder Hunter Pence lost in the lights while attempting a sliding catch. The ball went for a two-run triple, putting LA on top 7-6.

When Nick Punto, who had walked as a pinch-hitter to begin the uprising, doubled in Gordon, it was a seven-run inning and a two-run Dodgers lead.

NOTES: Quiroz and League were teammates both on the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004-05 and the Seattle Mariners in 2010. ... Quiroz is now 4 for 6 at a pinch hitter this season. ... The series finale will be ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball featured game, with the Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-1) facing the Giants' Matt Cain (0-2). ... The Giants have swept a series from every NL West opponent other than the Dodgers already this season. ... Ellis began the night with the second-highest career batting average (.338) among all active Giants opponents with at least 75 at-bats against the club. He went 2 for 5 in the game, including the homer. ... Gordon was leading the Pacific Coast League in steals (14) at the time of his promotion. He was immediately inserted into the starting lineup, batting eighth.
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