SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs are headed in opposite directions, like two ships passing in the night.
Brandon Crawford and Joaquin Arias drove in runs as the Giants completed a rare four-game sweep, defeating the Cubs 3-2 on Monday afternoon.
Ryan Vogelsong pitched seven innings, giving up eight hits and two runs for the win. Jeremy Affeldt, typically just a situational pitcher, pitched two perfect innings for his first save since July 2011.
"We've had to do that in the past, but it's not been obviously the norm and we've had to adjust to that," Affeldt said of pitching short-handed because of injuries to several Giants relievers. "I think the positive thing, we have a bullpen that can do it. We've got different guys that have been doing some positive things and that's why we've been winning."
The Giants are a season-high seven games over .500 and have won four in a row for the first time this season. They were 6-1 on the seven-game homestand.
"You always want to be involved when the team is playing well and be able to go out there and help the team win any way you can," Giants second baseman Ryan Theriot said. "Our pitching was lights out and did an amazing job this homestand. They have been all season, but more importantly they kept us in ballgames and gave us a chance to win."
The Cubs are 18-36 and lost 15 of their last 19 games since May 14, including 11 in a row on the road.
"We need to get a little tougher on the road," said Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzia, who pitched five innings and gave up five walks, getting a no-decision. "We understand we're going up against a different atmosphere with the road fans and you need to make that play that gets you over the hump and gets you that win on the road and get the monkey
off our back."
Tied in the seventh inning, the Cubs almost took the lead. Pinch hitter Adrian Cardenas doubled to right and advanced to third. Castro hit a hard one-hop liner to second. Theriot blocked the ball like a hockey goalie and bare-handed it in mid-air to get the final out to prevent the go-ahead run from scoring.
"Pretty athletic play to catch it with his bare hand out of the air and throw it with one motion," Vogelsong said. "For me, I felt that saved the game for us. I gave him a big hug after that one."
For the third time in the game, the Giants loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh. Arias grounded into a 6-4-3 double play but the lead runner scored, putting the Giants up 3-2.
The Cubs had five hits in the second inning, including four in a row.
Steve Clevenger brought home the first run with a single to right-center. With runners at the corners, Samardizija singled in Darwin Barney for a two-run lead. Vogelsong labored, pitching to eight men in the frame, throwing 31 pitches.
"They hit some good pitches that inning," Vogelsong said. "It wasn't
like I was making mistakes and they were hitting them."
The Giants answered with three straight hits in the bottom of the second. Brandon Crawford's RBI double cut the deficit to one. Nate Schierholtz walked to load the bases, but Theriot struck out and Melky Cabrera lined out to end the inning.
Buster Posey walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch and eventually moved to third base. Arias hit a bloop toward second base but a speedy Starlin Castro was able to catch the ball, preventing the tying run from scoring.
The Giants threatened with consecutive two-out singles from Schierholtz and Theriot but again failed to execute and were 1-for-9 with a runner in scoring position, leaving eight men on base through four innings.
The trend continued the next inning when Samardizija gave up a hit and issued two walks to load the bases a second time. Arias hit a weak liner to second. Crawford grounded to second, but Castro forgot there was only one out. He failed to throw to first to complete a double play, allowing the tying run to score.
"That's unacceptable at any time, whether we could have turned the double play or not is irrelevant," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
"Not knowing how many outs there are in the most important part of the game and to get a ground ball is not acceptable. These things have got to stop happening or we're just going to stop playing. These are things my son does in high school, maybe. This is the last straw. If he wants to play, he better start getting his head in the game, period."
NOTES: Posey walked four times in four plate appearances. ...The last time the Giants swept the Cubs in four games was June 17-20, 1999 at Candlestick Park. ... The series was decided by a total of five runs. ... Angel Pagan extended his home hit streak to 27 games, an ongoing franchise record. ... The Giants won despite gpomg 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position, leaving 11 men on base. ... In the first three games of the series, the Cubs had only two hits with a runner in scoring position. They were 3-for-6 in Monday's finale. ...The Cubs have lost 10 consecutive one-run games.