SAN FRANCISCO -- It was one of the strangest endings to a game this season for the San Francisco Giants, but all that matters to them is they got the win.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Angel Pagan doubled in the winning run as the Giants defeated the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 on Sunday afternoon.
Pagan thought his flyball had been caught by outfielder Jay Bruce, who said later he should have caught it. No one was more surprised than Pagan when Bruce failed to grab it, and it turned out to be the winning hit, earning the Giants a split of their four-game series with the Reds.
"I think it makes for a pretty good homestand," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy of the series split. "If we lose that game, then it's a disappointing homestand. But we get the split. The last thing we wanted to do was lose the series here at home. I thought that game was huge in the way we won it."
Buster Posey had three hits and two RBIs and scored the winning run on the day he was voted by the fans to start in the upcoming All-Star Game.
"Obviously I'm extremely excited, very appreciative for all the votes from the fans and looking forward to the experience," Posey said. "Everybody that's been there has told me it's a blast and it should be fun."
Ryan Vogelsong pitched seven innings, allowing only three hits, two runs and one walk. He added five strikeouts but unfortunately would get a no-decision.
There was high drama in the ninth inning, which started with the Giants owning a 3-2 lead.
Javier Lopez gave up a leadoff single to Bruce in the top of the ninth. After a pitching change to bring in Santiago Casilla, the Giants closer gave up singles to Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier to load the bases with no outs. Miguel Cairo singled to left to bring in the tying run.
But in the bottom of the ninth, Posey doubled just inside the right-field line with two outs and Pablo Sandoval was intentionally walked, putting runners on first and second. Pagan battled Jose Arrendondo and hit a high fly ball deep toward the 365-foot mark in right center. Bruce drifted back and at the last moment the ball went over his glove for the winning hit.
"I thought he caught it because when he jumped, I thought he made the catch, but then I saw the ball bounce and hit the wall and I heard the people scream so that's when I went crazy, started running and celebrating," Pagan said. "It was a very weird walk-off, but I really enjoyed it and you do whatever it takes to win a ballgame. It can be by base hit, error, whatever but what matters is for us to win. That's the most important thing and we're going to have a happy flight."
Bruce said he misjudged his position.
"I just wasn't as close to the wall as I thought I was and missed it," Bruce said. "It's really, really embarrassing but I missed it. It should be an error, it's not, but definitely should be and I pride myself on my defense and that was embarrassing. It's tough to play here, but that's not an excuse. You get to play here but so does everyone else. Your job is to catch the ball and I didn't. It's a really, really tough way to lose. We battled back and battled our butts off and then that happens. It's a tough one to swallow."
The Giants head out on a seven-day, six-game road trip to Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh.
Bronson Arroyo worked six innings, giving up seven hits and two runs. Frazier hit a two-run homer for the Reds.
Despite the loss, the Reds remained one game ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.
Ryan Theriot walked to lead off the seventh for the Giants, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Melky Cabrera and scored on Posey's single to center off reliever Logan Ondrusek.
The Giants opened the scoring with a third-inning RBI single by Posey. In the fifth, Cabrera singled in Theriot. Posey was hit by a pitch from Arroyo on the left arm near the shoulder.
Brandon Belt led off the Giants' sixth with a single to center. During Vogelsong's at-bat, he was nearly hit by a pitch on a sacrifice-bunt attempt. On a second pitch that Vogelsong fouled off near his chin, he was visibly upset and slammed the bat into the ground, causing both benches to empty. After a brief exchange between the two teams in front of home plate, order was restored and both sides were warned not to retaliate.
"I know that he wasn't tried to hit me, so let's get that out of the way," Vogelsong said. "Bronson and I are friends, we played together in Pittsburgh and we talk occasionally so we're friends, but when you're on the field and between the lines, you're not friends anymore, and the ball is coming up and in, it's not a comfortable feeling. You don't like it and I'm sure he wasn't intentionally trying to hit Buster either, but he hit Buster up high and it just happened. You're in the heat of battle and things happen like that and you get fired up."
"He had every right to be irritated," Arroyo said. "I gotta get the ball down. Even if you're going in, you can't get up near a guy's head and I had already hit Buster near his head as well and I told him it's my fault and they got all the right in the world to be irritated. And I knew it wasn't going to get out of hand, because I think Ryan knows me well enough there wasn't any malice in it. But in the heat of battle, guys obviously are going to be frustrated and have allegiances to their ballclub and that's the way it goes."
A little controversy occurred in the top of the fourth inning
With two outs, it appeared that Vogelsong hit Brandon Phillips with a pitch and was awarded first base. Replays clearly showed home plate umpire Dan Iassogna missed the call as the ball hit the bat and not Phillips' hands. That had ended Vogelsong's streak of 11 batters retired to start the game.
In the fifth, Ludwick singled to right center to break up the no-hit bid. After a nine-pitch at-bat, Frazier homered to left to put the Reds up 2-0.
NOTES: Joey Votto missed his first game of the season after leaving Saturday's game with inflammation in his left knee. Votto will start at first base for the National League in the All-Star game. He received 7.3 million votes, second only to Posey in the NL. ... Posey was the leading vote-getter for the National League and became the first Giants catcher to win a fan-elected start in the upcoming All-Star Game. ... Posey will be joined by three teammates, 3B Pablo Sandoval, OF Melky Cabrera and P Matt Cain in the midsummer classic. ... First pitch was delayed by 12 minutes because of the 10-year reunion honoring the 2002 National League champion Giants team. This weekend was chosen because Reds manager Dusty Baker was the skipper of that Giants squad.