SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants finally got the power they've been seeking to shake up their offense. It just came from an unlikely source.
Eugenio Velez, who was recalled from the minors a day earlier, homered for the first time in nearly a year and added a tiebreaking RBI double in the sixth inning and the Giants stayed hot at home with a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night."He's got all the tools," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's been swinging the bat well in [the minors] and he brought it up here. Sometimes it takes time, playing time, for all that to surface."Pablo Sandoval, Bengie Molina and Juan Uribe had two hits each for the Giants, while Sergio Romo (3-1) pitched 1/3 of an inning for the win, the Giants' seventh in their last nine games at AT&T Park.Brian Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth for his 26th save and San Francisco improved to 20-7 at home since May 25.The Giants thought they were adding much-needed power by acquiring right-handed hitting first baseman Ryan Garko from Cleveland on Monday, but it was Velez, their diminutive utility player, who provided the big blow to break up a pitcher's duel between Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton and Barry Zito of the Giants.Velez's big night enabled the Giants to pull even with Colorado in the NL wild-card race, a significant change from when he was optioned to the minors in May when San Francisco was three games under .500. Velez wasn't around to talk about it, however, choosing to stay secluded in the trainer's room long after the game ended."He was pretty frustrated when he went down and so a bunch of us talked to him," Molina said. "He's a very young guy and he's a good player, so we tried to get him to go down there positive."Velez hit a solo homer off Morton with two outs in the second, then doubled in the sixth to drive in Fred Lewis and put the Giants ahead 2-1. It was Velez's first homer since Aug. 30, 2008.Ryan Doumit and Luis Cruz each had two hits for the Pirates, who have lost four straight and five of six.Zito pitched well but wasn't around for the decision. The left-hander, who lost to the Pirates on July 18, allowed one run and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings before giving way to Romo with two runners on in the sixth.Romo struck out Andrew McCutchen to end the threat.Morton (2-3) took the loss despite giving up two runs and six hits in six innings. The Pirates' righty, who tossed seven shutout innings to beat the Giants 10 days earlier, struck out five and walked three while throwing a season-high 107 pitches."I felt like I was aggressive at times in a way that I really hadn't been with my fastball," Morton said. "I got out of some jams but the way I got into those jams really was frustrating. Velez was a thorn in my side tonight and I just didn't get him out."Garko, who flew to San Francisco late Monday night after being scratched from the Indians lineup in Anaheim where Cleveland was playing the Angels, started at first base and batted sixth. He went 0 for 4.Pittsburgh led 1-0 when McCutchen hit Zito's first pitch of the game down the left field line for a double and scored on Delwyn Young's bloop single to right.San Francisco added a run in the seventh when Andres Torres doubled and scored on Sandoval's single.The Pirates scored a run off reliever Jeremy Affeldt in the eighth to make it 3-2.
An MRI performed Monday revealed Giants' LHP Randy Johnson has a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. Bochy said Johnson won't be able to resume throwing for at least three weeks. The team transferred him to the 60-day DL as a result. ... To make room for Garko, the Giants placed OF Nate Schierholtz on the 15-day DL with a strained left hip. ... Pittsburgh was held without a home run after hitting 17 in its previous 14 games.