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Torres makes amends, helps Giants win

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- On a night when San Francisco Giants hitters failed in the clutch far more often than they succeeded, it was fitting that one of the guys who failed the worst would be a hero.

Andres Torres, whose poor bunt back to the pitcher failed to move the potential tying run into scoring position in the bottom of the ninth inning, avenged the miscue by stealing second base, setting the stage for Angel Pagan to double him home Friday night and end a thrilling 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

"You get mad," Torres, a pinch-hitter, said after he didn't do the job he was sent to the plate to do. "But you know what? I just needed to get a good jump and get into scoring position."

Pagan did the rest, hooking Luke Gregorson's next pitch into the right-field corner to send Torres scampering home at a much more leasurely pace than he'd used moments earlier.

"It was one of those situations where I wanted to be the guy," said Pagan, who twice earlier made third outs with a runner in scoring position. "I don't want guys in front of me to fail. But I wanted to be in that situation."

Seconds later, with a majority of his teammates rushing the field to congratulate him, he wasn't so sure it was all worth it.

"You get nervous. We have some big guys," he said. "Pablo (Sandoval) was coming like a bull. I got punched pretty good."

Pagan said Torres deserved some of the punches as well.

"They know if any of us get on base, we're going to put pressure on," he said. "It was a huge stolen base. Huge."

The game-ending heroics allowed the San Francisco bullpen to win a late-innings battle with its San Diego counterparts. Picking up for Madison Bumgarner after a fourth consecutive quality start, Jose Mijares, George Kontos and Santiago Casilla (2-1) shut out the Padres on one hit in the final three innings, setting the stage for Torres and Pagan.

The Padres countered the Giants' relief brilliance with two shutout innings of their own after taking the ball from Edinson Volquez, but Gregorson (1-2) got in immediate trouble in the ninth when Gregor Blanco slapped a bloop single in front of left fielder Kyle Blanks.

"It was a good ballgame," Padres manager Bud Black said. "With Bumgarner pitching, we knew we were in for a fight. The Giants played well and we played well."

The game matched clubs coming off three-game sweeps, the Giants on the losing end in Milwaukee and the Padres on the winning side in Los Angeles. The result was left in the hands of the bullpens despite the fact the starting pitchers had quite dissimilar nights.

Bumgarner was brilliant for much of his six-inning stint, striking out five in a row at one point and 10 overall. He gave up four hits, but two -- a game-opening double by Chris Denorfia and a tying homer by Chase Headley in the sixth -- produced the two runs that allowed the Padres to stay even.

The double-digit strikeouts were the ninth of Bumgarner's career.

Volquez, meanwhile, was lucky to escape with just two runs allowed in his six innings. He pitched in and out of jams inning after inning, the result of eight hits and three walks. But he allowed just single runs in the first and third as the Giants stranded at least one runner in scoring position in each of his six innings.

"I thought I had better command tonight," said Volquez, who entered the game with an 0-3 record and 11.68 ERA. "I threw more first-pitch strikes and more breaking balls for strikes."

Bumgarner left the game under very unusual circumstances.

After giving up the home run to Headley that tied the score at 2 in the top of the sixth, Bumgarner was allowed to come to the plate with two on and none out in the bottom of the inning even though Giants manager Bruce Bochy had initially sent pinch-hitter Nick Noonan to the on-deck circle.

With Headley and Yonder Alonso crashing from the corners and everyone expecting a bunt, Bumgarner instead swung away and nearly grounded into a triple play. The roller went straight to shortstop Everth Cabrera, who tagged Brandon Belt and threw to second to force Blanco. A low relay to first by Jedd Gyorko nearly got Bumgarner for the third out.

The pitcher was allowed to run for himself with two outs and advanced to second on a wild pitch. But the inning ended -- as did Bumgarner's game, even though he had retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced -- when Pagan grounded to shortstop.

Headley, playing for just the second time after being activated from the disabled list, had both Padres RBI, including the two-out homer off Bumgarner that barely cleared the left-field wall in the sixth and sent the game tied into the ninth.

"Chase is a big part of our club, like any team with its No. 3 hitter," Black said. "Having him back in the lineup is good for our guys. When we get (Carlos) Quentin back next week (from suspension), we'll be back at having 25 players."

NOTES: The walk-off win was the Giants' first of the season. ... The Giants' Brandon Crawford (0 for 4) saw his 11-game hitting streak come to an end. ... Game 2 of the three-game series will be a rare Saturday night start at AT&T Park, with the Padres' Clayton Richard (0-1) dueling the Giants' Tim Lincecum (1-0) in a battle of starters sporting 5-plus ERAs. ... Bumgarner's fourth quality matches the total the other four Giants starters have so far. ... The Giants have feasted on the Padres the past two seasons, going 12-6 each year. ... Taking a lead in the top of the first inning seemed to favor the Padres more than the one run would indicate. The Giants entered the game 7-1 when scoring first and 2-6 when surrendering the first run. ... The Padres' Jesus Guzman began the game with a .391 career batting average against Bumgarner, which shot up temporarily to .440 (11 for 25) with a double and single in his first two at-bats. The double was Guzman's fifth in those 25 at-bats.
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