It’s been a long wait for Shea Hillenbrand. He’s wanted to prove that he was worth the price since the San Francisco Giants acquired him in late July. Halfway through August, he finally delivered, as he singled in the winning run as the Giants defeated their division rival San Diego Padres 3-2.
Hillenbrand had only gone 17 for 77 (.221) since his acquisition before Tuesday, but he went 2 for 3 and his single in the 8th broke a 2-2 tie. With 2 out in the inning, Durham singled and then stole second on a close play. That set the stage for Hillenbrand, who singled to right to get Durham home. Hillenbrand was out on second on the play after the throw from the outfield was cut off.
The play helped the Giants win their second game in a row against the defending division champs. And Hillenbrand was so good, he achieved another first for his stint with the Giants: he drew his first walk in 20 games in the National League this season.
"It's good," Hillenbrand said. "It's a close ballgame. I think it was even bigger when Ray came through, with two strikes, and got that base hit up the middle and stole second base to give me a chance, to make it a lot easier for me."
Starter Matt Morris had some trouble at times, but pitched well overall, limiting the Padres to 2 runs, 1 earned, on 6 hits and a walk over 6.1 innings. But it was Mike Stanton, who relieved Morris in the 7th and finished the inning, that picked up the win. And the much maligned Armando Benitez picked up the save with a 1-2-3 9th.
Morris’ start continued a spectacular run by Giants starters. Brian Giles’ home run in the 6th inning was the first run allowed by a Giants starter since the 6th inning of Saturday’s game by Cain. The Giants pitching staff has only allowed 3 runs in the last 31 innings combined.
Meanwhile, rookie catcher Eliezer Alfonzo continued his strong play, going 3 for 4 at the bottom of the lineup, and raising his average to .292.SFDugout.com’s Player of the Game: Hillenbrand. Hillenbrand is still hitting only .238 since the trade, but at least the whispers of him being the newest Ricky Ledee (who went 6 for 53 for the Giants after a similar midseason trade in 2004) have subsided. He still has a long way to go to right both his sinking ship and the Giants’ sinking record, but today was a good way to help start a turnaround.
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