Giants top Cardinals on Hundley’s walk-off blast
SAN FRANCISCO — On the second-hottest day in the history of AT&T Park, the player most excited about going extra innings was probably the last guy you’d have guessed.
The San Francisco Giants’ catcher.
Nick Hundley hit the second pitch of the 10th inning for a solo home run Saturday afternoon, lifting the Giants to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The walk-off homer, the second of Hundley’s career, came one inning after the Giants had rallied to force extra innings on an RBI single by Buster Posey.
“You’re excited because we tied the game,” Hundley said of his approach to the 10th inning on a day when the game-time temperature was 95 degrees. “We had a chance to win and I had a chance to bat in the 10th inning. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
San Francisco had lost its previous four games, including the first two of this four-game series.
The game began as a pitchers’ duel between veteran right-handers Lance Lynn of the Cardinals and Jeff Samardzija of the Giants.
Lynn allowed just one hit in eight innings, Samardzija two in seven innings. Neither got a decision.
“Two pitchers on top of their game. Probably as good as we’ve seen all year,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy gushed. “Samardzija did a terrific job, and their guy did the same.”
The Cardinals were three outs away from a 1-0 victory when manager Mike Matheny pulled Lynn with a one-hit shutout after he’d thrown 101 pitches.
“Tyler (Lyons) was ready, top of the order, fourth time through (the order) ... it didn’t work out,” Matheny explained. “We made a good pitch and Buster just flipped it over the infield.”
While Matheny never mentioned it, Lynn said a blister played a role in the decision.
“They weren’t going to let me go out there, but I started developing a blister and the last two innings I felt the effects,” he claimed. “I’m lucky to get through eight.”
Lyons started the ninth inning and allowed a leadoff single to pinch hitter Hunter Pence.
After a sacrifice bunt by Joe Panik advanced Pence to second, Posey reached out and blooped a two-strike single to right-center off Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh, tying the score.
Left-hander Ryan Sherriff got Brandon Crawford to pop out and struck out Pablo Sandoval to send the game into extra innings and set up Hundley’s heroics.
“I’m not surprised. Nick is one of those guys who competes every day,” Samardzija praised. “He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”
After Giants closer Sam Dyson (2-2) worked out of a jam in the top of the 10th, during which he allowed a leadoff triple to Dexter Fowler, Hundley ended it with his sixth homer in the bottom of the inning off Sherriff (0-1), the fourth St. Louis pitcher.
“Lance was great,” Matheny observed. “It’s a shame it got away.”
Fowler’s RBI single in the fourth inning accounted for the Cardinals’ only scoring.
Lynn surrendered a clean single to Panik, the second batter he faced, before holding San Francisco hitless the rest of the way through eight innings.
He walked four and struck out four.
After stranding the bases loaded in the first inning, the closest the Giants came to scoring against Lynn came when pinch hitter Ryder Jones hooked a fly ball into the San Francisco Bay just foul down the right-field line with two outs in the eighth inning. Jones went on to strike out.
For 8 1/2 innings, the game’s only run came on a ball that barely eluded Giants first baseman Posey, who was filling in for injured defensive ace Brandon Belt.
Samardzija took a no-hitter and a run of five straight strikeouts into the fourth inning before allowing a bloop single to Jose Martinez.
After a sixth strikeout and a wild pitch that allowed Martinez to take second, Fowler hit a hard shot just to the right of Posey, who reached down and couldn’t make the play. Martinez easily scored on what was ruled a hit.
Samardzija, whose start was pushed up a day so that staff ace Madison Bumgarner can return from an illness on Sunday, allowed just the one run and two hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out nine.
“He pitched a heckuva game,” Samardzija said of Lynn. “I thought they were going to run him out there for the ninth, but it was a hot day.”
Fowler’s triple in the top of the 10th and Hundley’s homer in the bottom were the only extra-base hits in the game one day after the Cardinals had eight, including four triples and three home runs, in an 11-6 victory over the Giants.
NOTES: The Giants are now 12-7 in extra-inning games this season. The Cardinals fell to 4-8. ... Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn remained unbeaten (4-0) in his last 11 starts. He’s pitched at least six innings in every start over that stretch, the longest active streak in the majors. ... Lynn recorded the 900th strikeout of his career in the eighth inning, becoming the 10th Cardinal ever to reach the milestone. ... The blown save was just the fourth in 24 opportunities for Cardinals closer RHP Seung Hwan Oh this season. ... The game-time temperature was 95 degrees, equaling the second highest in AT&T Park history. The record is 97, set June 14, 2000, against the Cincinnati Reds. ... Cardinals LHP Kevin Siegrist, designated for assignment on Thursday, has been claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies.