SAN FRANCISCO — Unable to produce a clutch hit, the San Francisco Giants still found a way to win.
Brayan Villarreal walked Marco Scutaro with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, handing the Giants a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night.
The Giants squandered numerous opportunities early in the game, going 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, but they tied it in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly in foul territory and used two walks and a hit batsman to win it.
“We have been on the other end of these games,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You take it any way you can get it. This was a good one.”
Roger Kieschnick started the winning rally with a one-out single against Franklin Morales (2-1) for his third hit of the game. The Giants loaded the bases with two outs when Morales walked Andres Torres and hit pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez on the left wrist.
“We started out the inning in pretty good shape and then seemingly in a matter of about seven or eight pitches it looked like Franklin lost the strike zone a little bit and leaves us in a tough spot with two outs,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
With Brandon Workman having pitched the past two days, Farrell gave Villarreal his first appearance with the Red Sox. Villarreal was acquired in a deal last month from Detroit and called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday.
He made a poor first impression, throwing four straight balls to Scutaro. Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens told Scutaro that Villarreal had control problems before the at-bat and that proved true. Villarreal has walked nine of 29 batters he has faced this season, including two with the bases loaded.
“When he told me that, I wanted to make sure I looked for my pitch and not be too aggressive,” Scutaro said.
He did just that, giving the defending World Series champion Giants a rare reason to celebrate.
“It’s nice to win one like this because we have been on the other side of them,” said starter Ryan Vogelsong, who allowed two runs in seven innings. “When you play a tough game like that and things aren’t going your way … it’s good to come out on the winning end of it.”
The Red Sox couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead and lost for the fifth time in seven games to fall percentage points behind Tampa Bay for the lead in the AL East.
Sergio Romo (4-6) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.
After twice failing to get a runner in from third with no outs, the Giants finally delivered in the eighth inning to tie the game.
Scutaro reached on a one-out single and went to third on Brandon Belt’s single against Junichi Tazawa. Buster Posey then hit a high fly down the right-field line that Shane Victorino caught in foul territory. Scutaro scored easily on the sacrifice fly but Tazawa escaped without any further damage to keep the score tied at 2.
“No second-guessing guys. I let that ball fall and he hits a three-run homer then what are you guys going to say?” Victorino said. “When I was on the move over there I told myself catch the ball and try and get in the best position I could to make the throw.”
Victorino helped give Boston the lead when he hit a rare right-handed homer off a righty pitcher. The switch-hitting Victorino is unable to bat left-handed because of an injured left leg. But that did not bother him when he led off the third inning with a drive to left that made it 2-0.
It was just the second time Victorino had hit a right-handed homer against a righty in his career, also doing it against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Sept. 24, 2010, according to STATS LLC.
It looked as if that 2-0 lead would stand up when Jake Peavy escaped jams in the fourth and fifth innings. Belt, who had three hits, was stranded after a leadoff triple in the fourth when Posey grounded out and Peavy struck out Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford.
The Giants scored their first run of the series when Kieschnick led off the fifth with a single and scored on Joaquin Arias’ triple. But San Francisco couldn’t get the equalizer when Vogelsong, Gregor Blanco and Scutaro followed with groundouts.
DODGERS 6, MARLINS 4
MIAMI — With his first swing of the night, Yasiel Puig ended a slump and silenced speculation he’s in trouble.
He came off the bench to hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning and help the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Miami Marlins 6-4 on Tuesday night.
Puig was held out of the starting lineup after going hitless in his past 11 at-bats. He also drew a fine when he arrived late for pregame drills, raising more questions about the 22-year-old’s maturity and comportment.
He entered in the sixth inning in a double switch, batted for the first time leading off the eighth and needed only one pitch to break a 4-all tie.
METS 5, BRAVES 3
NEW YORK — Rookie Zack Wheeler beat NL East-leading Atlanta for the third time, pitching shutout ball into the seventh inning and sending New York to victory.
Wheeler improved to 3-0 this year against the team with the best record in the majors. Helped by his midseason promotion from Triple-A, the Mets hold an 8-7 edge over the Braves.
ROCKIES 5, PHILLIES 3
PHILADELPHIA — Troy Tulowitzki and Wilin Rosario homered to lead Colorado past Philadelphia.
DIAMONDBACKS 5, REDS 2
CINCINNATI — Paul Goldschmidt set a club record with his third grand slam of the season and became the first NL player to drive in 100 runs, powering Arizona over Cincinnati.
Goldschmidt connected in the eighth inning off J.J. Hoover, ending the reliever’s streak of 23 scoreless appearances. His 31st homer tied him with Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez for the NL lead. All of his career grand slams have come this season.
NATIONALS 4, CUBS 2
CHICAGO — Ryan Zimmerman had two hits and drove in a run, Bryce Harper had two hits and scored a crucial ninth-inning run, and Dan Haren pitched six strong innings to help Washington beat Chicago.
PIRATES 8, PADRES 1
SAN DIEGO — A.J. Burnett threw seven strong innings and Pittsburgh had six extra-base hits, including Neil Walker’s home run, to beat San Diego.
Burnett (6-8) held the Padres to one run and four hits, struck out seven and walked one. He bounced back from two starts in which he allowed 10 earned runs and 16 hits in 10 innings.
NEW YORK — Jayson Nix hit a tying homer in the seventh inning and a game-ending single in the ninth, lifting the New York Yankees to their second comeback victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, 3-2 in the nightcap for a doubleheader sweep.
In the opener, Robinson Cano and Chris Stewart each hit three-run homers to rally the Yankees from four runs down to an 8-4 win.
Toronto lost slugger Jose Bautista to a sore hip early in the opener.
Cano had an RBI single in the second game and had six hits and five RBIs in the two games.
Ichiro Suzuki singled and doubled in the first game, leaving him one shy of 4,000 combined hits during his careers in Japan and the major leagues.
The Blue Jays extended their record with an 11th straight loss in New York.
TWINS 6, TIGERS 3
DETROIT — Justin Morneau had a season-high four hits, including a two-run homer and a two-run double, and Glen Perkins struck out Miguel Cabrera with two on for the final out to help Minnesota hold off Detroit.
RAYS 7, ORIOLES 4
BALTIMORE — Alex Cobb took a two-hitter into the seventh inning, Matt Joyce drove in three runs and Tampa Bay beat Baltimore for its sixth win in seven games.
WHITE SOX 2, ROYALS 0
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — John Danks shut down Kansas City’s scuffling offense for eight innings, and Chicago did just enough damage against Ervin Santana to squeak out a victory.
Danks (3-10) ended an eight-start winless streak by scattering seven hits and a walk.
MARINERS 7, ATHLETICS 4
OAKLAND, Calif. — Nick Franklin hit a home run and drove in three runs and the Mariners rallied from a four-run deficit.
Brad Miller and Kendrys Morales also drove in runs for the Mariners, who won for just the third time in 53 games when trailing after seven innings.