Giants trim wild-card deficit to four games
PHOENIX – Juan Uribe hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs and San Francisco’s bullpen backed Jonathan Sanchez with 3 2-3 innings of scoreless relief as the Giants gained a game in the NL wild-card race with a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.
San Francisco (82-70) remained in a tie with Atlanta, four games behind wild card leader Colorado with 10 games to play. Florida is 4 1/2 games back.
Uribe’s homer off Arizona starter Kevin Mulvey (0-2) in the sixth inning was his 14th of the season and gave the Giants a 3-0 lead. He also had an RBI double in the second. Both times he drove in Pablo Sandoval after he was walked.
Sanchez (7-12) gave up two runs in 5 1-3 innings and struck out nine in his first victory since Aug. 21.
The Giants had lost four of their previous six games, when only one of their starting pitchers got through five innings. The rotation was 0-4 with an 11.41 ERA since Barry Zito beat Colorado 10-2 on Sept. 15.
Brian Wilson struck out the side around a one-out single to Augie Ojeda in the ninth for his 36th save. He has converted nine straight.
San Francisco, which took two of three games to win the series, begins a seven-game homestand with the first game of a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.
Rookie Rusty Ryal broke up Sanchez’s shutout bid with a one-out triple in the sixth after Miguel Montero led off the inning with a single.
Umpires used video replay to uphold the triple after Arizona manager A.J. Hinch came onto the field to argue for a home run.
Right-hander Bobby Howry replaced Sanchez and gave up a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra to make it 3-2 before striking out Ojeda to end the inning.
Sandoval singled in one of the Giants’ two unearned runs in the seventh for a 5-2 lead. Sandoval extended his hitting streak to eight games and is 23 for 48 against Arizona this season, 19 for 36 at Chase Field.
Arizona has lost four of its last five and 14 of 19.
Sanchez struck out at least one batter in each of his six innings and got Justin Upton three times. Upton was 6 for 15 with two home runs against Sanchez coming into the game.
Mulvey, making his third major league start, gave up only Uribe’s two hits in six innings, walking four and striking out four.
NOTES: San Francisco 2B Freddy Sanchez will need surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. He added that the Giants will attempt to delay the surgery while they are in the playoff race. Sanchez was injured when he landed awkwardly while fielding a return throw from the outfield in the first inning of a 5-4 victory over Arizona on Monday. Arizona 3B Mark Reynolds is 4 for 19 with 12 strikeouts in his career against Sanchez after getting a single and striking out twice Wednesday.
Rangers 9, Athletics 8
OAKLAND – Hank Blalock has been around the AL West so long, all the parks seem like home.
Blalock homered and drove in four runs, leading the Texas Rangers to a victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
He has driven in 31 runs in Oakland, his most in any park away from Arlington. His nine home runs here are second to the 10 he’s hit in Anaheim.
“You just get used to playing at certain places,” Blalock said. “You get used to the atmosphere.”
David Murphy and Marlon Byrd each added a pair of RBIs as the Rangers won for the third time in 10 games. Nelson Cruz also drove in a run for Texas, which trails Boston by seven games for the AL wild card and the Angels by 6 1/2 in the West.
“We have taken the attitude that anything can happen,” Blalock said. “I’m just trying to do whatever it takes to get us as many wins as we can.”
Blalock lost his starting job at first base, but once Michael Young and Josh Hamilton went out with injuries, Rangers manager Ron Washington turned to him once again.
“Hank is becoming Mr. September,” Washington said. “Last year he did the same thing. I definitely need him and I’m happy he’s out there for us. We need a presence in the lineup and he’s got presence. He can put runs on the board with one swing.”
Eric Patterson hit a home run and Cliff Pennington drove in two runs for the A’s, who lost for the third time in 11 games.
“He was the best overall offensive player we had in (Triple-A) Sacramento and he’s getting his chance to play,” A’s manager Bob Geren said of Patterson. “I’m glad to see him performing well.”
Tommy Hunter (9-4) won for the third time in four decisions after giving up seven runs on nine hits over 5 2-3 innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
“I’m supposed to win when your team gives you that many runs,” Hunter said. “I need not to give up so many though. I’m glad we won. What do they say about an ugly win? A win is a win.”
Four Rangers’ relievers – Dustin Nippert, Darren O’Day, C.J. Wilson and Frank Francisco – held off the A’s. Francisco pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 27 chances.
A’s starter Clayton Mortensen (2-3) had his two-game winning streak stopped after giving up seven runs – three earned – on six hits over 4 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out six.
“I didn’t feel too good about it,” Mortensen said. “I didn’t feel real good on the mound. I fell behind in the count, left pitches up and ended up paying for it.”
Murphy and Blalock each drove in runs in the first to put the Rangers on top. Blalock’s two-run shot in the fourth made it 4-0.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, five consecutive A’s hit safely and all five scored. Pennington’s two-run single was the big blow and gave the A’s a 5-4 edge. Ryan Sweeney and Mark Ellis each doubled in a run and Jack Cust singled home a run.
The Rangers regained the lead in the fifth as Byrd singled in two runs, Blalock added an RBI double and Nelson Cruz singled home a run for an 8-5 lead.
After Patterson homered for the A’s in the fifth, Murphy’s two-out single in the sixth gave the Rangers a 9-6 advantage.
Daric Barton singled a home in the sixth and Davis doubled home another in the seventh to make it 9-8.
NOTES: Davis singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. … The Rangers went 32 innings between home runs. … Murphy has 17 hits and 12 RBIs against the A’s this year, his most against any team. … The Rangers stole four bases and moved past the Angels into second in the AL with 143 steals.
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