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Molina's hit energizes S.F. in 10th


Molina's hit energizes S.F. in 10th
Bengie Molina was too tired to take batting practice Wednesday and was supposed to get his first day off of the season.

Fortunately for the Giants , the bumps, bruises and fatigue of catching the season's first 13 games healed just in time.

"I really thought I needed the rest, but once the game started, I wanted to be out there so bad," Molina said.

He got that chance in the 10th inning and delivered a two-out, ground-rule double that scored Andres Torres for a gripping 1-0 win over San Diego and the Giants' third consecutive series win at AT&T Park.

With one out, Torres singled through the right side and stole second base. Pinch-hitter Eugenio Velez struck out, and Fred Lewis was intentionally walked by Edwin Moreno. Molina pinch-hit for Emmanuel Burriss and drove a 2-1 changeup to left-center field, where the ball landed just out of Chase Headley's reach and bounded over the wall as Molina raised his arms in triumph.

"I told Bengie before the game to be ready to win this game for us," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's our best RBI guy, so it was a no-brainer."

Molina's game-winner made the Giants victorious in four of their last five and marked the first time since 2003 that they've started a season with three consecutive series wins at home.

After losing six straight on a Southern California road trip, San Francisco appears to have a successful formula: dominate on the mound, scratch out a run or two and then blast "Welcome to the Jungle" from the winning clubhouse.

In the Giants' five-game homestand, their starting pitchers posted a 0.52 ERA and four scoreless efforts. Barry Zito worked seven shutout innings, striking out five and not issuing a walk. He had his fastball consistently clocked in the 87-89-mph range and showed great command of his off-speed pitches.

"I've said many times that pitching is contagious," Bochy said. "They want to keep up with the guy before them and match up."

The Giants' brilliant roll of starting pitching, however, has been coupled with modest offense. They scored more than two runs only once in seven games before getting eight Tuesday night, but they rarely threatened to score Wednesday.

The Giants got runners to second and third with two outs in the fifth, but Lewis popped to short even though it looked like Chris Young was trying to pitch around him. Young, who matched Zito with seven scoreless innings, walked Burriss to open the sixth and got Randy Winn to fly to right before a bunt single by Pablo Sandoval put runners at first and second with one out. Edgar Renteria and Travis Ishikawa each flied out.

"Pitching is what we're built on, and you can't say enough about what they did," Bochy said. "We've needed it, because we're still not clicking offensively."

The latter can't continue and the Giants know it.

"We cannot play one day and then lay back for the next one," Molina said. "If we want to win, if we want to go to the playoffs, we've got to start scoring runs."

Forbes magazine estimates Giants as ninth most valuable Baseball franchise; A's at 27th. D5

Starting to find their groove S.F.'s starters were brilliant on this homestand:


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 23, 2009

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