SAN FRANCISCO -- The road to the win column took another crazy detour for the Giants on Wednesday.
After they blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning, Andres Torres delivered the game-winning hit to lift the Giants to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the 10th inning.
It marked the third walk-off victory on this homestand for San Francisco, which has made victory more adventurous than necessary at times.
Buster Posey led off the bottom of the 10th with a pinch hit single off Antonio Bastardo. He was bunted to second by Joaquin Arias, and he advanced to third on a wild pitch. After Brandon Crawford walked and Guillermo Quiroz struck out, Torres lined the first pitch he saw into right-center for the game winner.
Torres entered the game in the ninth on a double switch.
The exciting finish came after Sergio Romo failed to protect a 3-1 ninth inning lead, robbing Barry Zito of a deserved victory.
The Giants avoided a three-game sweep by Philadelphia, which hadn’t swept a three-game set in San Francisco since 1984.
Starting pitching report
The sight of Zito taking the AT&T Park mound usually means good things for the Giants these days, and the left-hander delivered a timely strong outing. Giants starters came in having thrown two quality starts in the past 10 games. Zito stepped up with seven-plus innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits and walking none. He had his entire repertoire working, and the Phillies managed little solid contact off him all day.
Zito now has a 0.55 ERA in five home starts this season, allowing just two earned runs in 33 innings.
Romo entered in the ninth having converted each of his last six save chances. But he couldn’t protect a 3-1 lead. Jimmy Rollins led off with a double down the right-field line. He moved to third on Kevin Frandsen’s fly out. After Michael Young walked, Chase Utley’s single scored Rollins and Delmon Young delivered a game-tying sacrifice fly.
There was another potential dark cloud, as Santiago Casilla left with a right knee injury after recording the first two outs of the eighth inning. It appeared he might have hurt himself running to cover first base.
At the plate
It was an odd-looking lineup for the Giants, with Buster Posey sitting and Gregor Blanco batting leadoff in place of Angel Pagan. But Blanco ignited a go-ahead rally in the fifth. He singled off the right field wall with two outs, then stole second and came around to score on Marco Scutaro’s bloop single to center. Blanco also was thrown out at second on an apparent hit-and-run play after he led off the ninth with a single.
Hunter Pence continues to swing a hot bat in the middle of the lineup. Hitting cleanup in Posey’s place, he launched a 2-2 pitch from Jonathan Pettibone for a second inning solo homer that put the home team on the board. Pence is 12-for-32 (.375) with three home runs and seven RBI in his last eight games. Another good sign for the Giants – No. 2 hitter Marco Scutaro is heating up. He went 3-for-5 with an RBI and has an eight-game hitting streak, during which he’s hitting .484 (15-for-31).
One baserunning blunder did not come back to haunt the Giants. Brandon Belt loafed into second base and was tagged out on a fielder’s choice grounder in which he must have thought he was either tagged or called out for leaving the baseline.
In the field
Zito was backed by a strong effort from his teammates. Not only was he in sync with catcher Guillermo Quiroz, but Quiroz threw out two base runners. With a runner on second and one out in the sixth, Quiroz fired a strike to third to nail Jimmy Rollins on a steal attempt. Then he threw out Ben Revere trying to steal second to snuff a potential threat in the 10th.
Blanco, who usually plays left field, made all the routine plays in center field spelling the injured Pagan.
A sellout crowd of 41,048 showed up and proved to be a step ahead of the action. Anticipating something good might happen, they cheered as Barry Zito walked to the plate in the bottom of the sixth after Quiroz was intentionally walked to put runners on the corners. Sure enough, Zito delivered an RBI single.
Ryan Vogelsong will try to get back on track in Thursday’s opener of a four-game home series against the Atlanta Braves. The right-hander couldn’t hold a 6-1 lead on Saturday against the Dodgers and was charged with seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. Julio Teheran (1-0, 5.08) goes for Atlanta in the 7:15 p.m. contest.