Ken Leighton 3:06 p.m., Dec. 20
It hasn't been often this season that the San Diego Padres have done the majority of their damage with the long-ball, but on Tuesday evening that is precisely what happened. Carlos Quentin hit a pair of home runs and Logan Forsythe hit a walk-off shot in the bottom of the ninth inning to propel the Padres past the San Francisco Giants, 6-5.
The Padres got to Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum early, when in the second inning Carlos Quentin belted a home run on a fastball to start the inning. Chase Headley doubled, and one out later Logan Forsythe walked. Everth Cabrera then singled up the middle, scoring Headley, and the Padres led 2-0.
Pitcher Anthony Bass came to the plate and grounded into a force play, with Forsythe out at third base. But Cameron Maybin doubled, plating Everth Cabrera and Bass. After two innings, the Padres led 4-0.
The Giants got one back off of Bass in the top of the third. With two outs, Gregor Blanco tripled, and then Ryan Theriot singled to left field, scoring Blanco. Meanwhile, Lincecum made an adjustment and only allowed one other hit, a Carlos Quentin double in the bottom of the sixth inning.
And the Giants finally got to Bass in their half of the sixth. Gregor Blanco singled to left, and then Theriot doubled Blanco home to cut the Padres lead in half. Melky Cabrera singled on a bunt, moving Theriot to third base, and Buster Posey singled, scoring Theriot and moving Melky Cabrera to second base.
After Angel Pagan singled to center, manager Buddy Black pulled Bass and Andrew Cashner made a rare sixth-inning appearance. Cashner then gave up a sacrifice fly to Brandon Belt, and the score was tied after six innings, 4-4.
"With Huston [Street] back and the emergence of Dale [Thayer], and [Luke] Gregerson and [Joe] Thatcher, it sort of lengthens out our bullpen a little bit," manager Buddy Black said when asked about Cashner coming into the game early when he had been used primarily as an eighth inning set-up reliever. "I wanted Cashner in there in the sixth with the possibility of a strike out with guys on first and third. Cashner has a strike out in his game, but they got the sacrifice fly. His pitch count was down, so we let him go another inning, so that's the thinking there."
Cashner pitched the seventh inning, but wound up giving up a run and the Giants took the lead. Brandon Crawford singled to center, and then after two outs, Ryan Theriot singled to right field and Crawford scored, and the Giants led 5-4.
The Padres threatened in the seventh inning, when Forsythe led off the inning with a single to left field, and Everth Cabrera walked. But even with runners on first and second base with no outs, pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista failed to move the runners over attempting to bunt, Cameron Maybin strunk out swinging, and Mark Kotsay flied out.
In the top of the eighth inning, second baseman Logan Forsythe made the defensive play of the game. With Angel Pagan on first base and two outs, Joaquin Arias hit a ball deep into the hole between first and second base, and Forsythe went deep into the grass and made a diving play on the fast ground ball. He then got up and threw out Arias attempting to take third base to end the inning.
"I knew he was going to round pretty hard when he took the turn [around second base], so when I got up and started to see him break stride, I just let it go," Forsythe said in the clubhouse after the game.
In the eighth inning, Carlos Quentin tied the game. With one out and Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt on the mound, Quentin laced a change-up on a rope over the center field wall, and the score stood at 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth. Then it was time for Logan Forsythe to be a hero.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy put reliever Steve Edlefsen on the hill, and the second pitch that Forsythe saw, a sinker, was deposited over the left field wall for a walk-off win for the Padres, 6-5. It was Forsythe's first major league home run. Excellent timing, Logan, excellent timing.
"I saw the pitch and put a good swing on it. It felt pretty good off of the bat. It's a great feeling. Nothing better than walking off at home, it's always special when you get a walk-off win, it felt nice to be the guy to do it," Forsythe said.
Manager Buddy Black had high praise for both Quentin and Forsythe after the game.
"The ball was crushed. You could tell right off the bat, great sound, right trajectory, great swing, and that was good to see. We've brought him back, after the surgery, and he's stepped right in and really given us a lift," Black said about Forsythe's shot.
What this means for the Padres going forward is anyone's guess. But there are two things everyone found out about Logan Forsythe on Tuesday evening, especially the San Francisco Giants. For a second baseman, he has one hell of an arm and one hell of a bat. And on Tuesday night, he had one hell of a game. There's a baseball in his possession, one that had previously been planted in the left field bleachers, that could attest to that.
Logan Forsythe's home run ball was returned to him by whichever fan wound up with it. In the clubhouse, it was the actual ball, unscathed other than whatever damage his bat did to it. Often, the other players will pull shenanigans and hand the hitter of his first home run some filthy ball with the cover half ripped off of the core and make the player sweat for a few days. Of course, Logan had yet to shower when interviewed in the clubhouse, so stay tuned.
On the injury front, Will Venable continues to sit and rest a pulled oblique muscle. Buddy Black was impressed, however, when Venable went out and took the field during warm-ups. "He's feeling much better today than he did yesterday," Black said before the game. And then as Venable emerged from the clubhouse and took the field to play catch, Buddy said, "Here's what I like. I didn't know he was going to come on the field. So when a guy comes on the field with a glove as opposed to staying inside..."
Pitcher Micah Owings will begin rehab in AAA Tucson shortly. But the rumor is he won't just be pitching, that he has a first baseman's glove with him. "The thinking there is that you can do both. You look at his track record as an offensive player, for a pitcher he hits. Plus, you have the motivation, he wants to do it."
Wednesday, the Giants will send Madison Bumgarner (6-4, 3.06) to face Clayton Richard (2-6, 4.44). First pitch is scheduled for 3:35 PDST, and can be seen on Fox Sports San Diego if you live on the Cox Cable side of the tracks or subscribe to DirecTV. Otherwise, radio is always a good bet, XX 1090 AM.
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