PHOENIX -- Even after flying to Cincinnati and playing in the All-Star Game, Brandon Crawford felt fresh at the start of Friday's second-half opener. The break will do that for guys who are used to suiting up every single day, and Crawford joked that at the first pitch Friday night, he felt as fresh as he did on opening day.
And after it took the Giants five hours and 11 minutes to get a 6-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks?
"Now it feels like July again," Crawford said, smiling.
This one was a marathon, but in the end the Giants walked away with a win and that's all that mattered. Manager Bruce Bochy used 10 pitchers, including two who were in the rotation when the first half ended, and played 22 of the 25 players on his roster. Contributions came from up and down the line as the Giants snapped a seven-game road losing streak.
Ryan Vogelsong pitched two innings out of the bullpen and had a big bunt single. Joe Panik and Matt Duffy combined for six hits and three runs, and Panik's outstanding double play helped put this one away. Hunter Pence had three hits and a game-tying two-run homer. The last eight Giants pitchers to take the field walked off without having allowed a run. There were many contributors Friday, but Crawford may have shined brightest in his first game since his first All-Star Game.
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The shortstop had three hits, including a hustle double that nearly brought the go-ahead run home. He ended up scoring the winning run on a Diamondbacks throwing error in the top of the 12. Crawford also made two outstanding reads defensively, getting a pair of outs at third base.
"Crawford put on a show tonight," Bochy said. "What a game he had ... What a beautiful game he had. It was fun to watch."
The winning run came home after Crawford hit a leadoff single in the 12th and advanced on a passed ball and perfect bunt by Vogelsong. With the bases loaded, Angel Pagan hit a grounder to short and Crawford broke to the plate, looking to break up a double play. Cliff Pennington's throw skipped and Crawford scored. There were no skipped throws from Bochy's shortstop, and Crawford's throw to third in the seventh helped make extra innings possible in the first place.
David Peralta had hit a leadoff triple and Paul Goldschmidt walked. The Giants played halfway, allowing Crawford and Panik to try and turn two on a grounder but also giving them the option of going home if Peralta tried to get to the plate. Yasmany Tomas hit a grounder to short and Crawford, out of the corner of his eye, saw Peralta creeping toward the plate. He threw a strike to third and Peralta was nailed as he tried to go back. The Diamondbacks wouldn't score in the inning.
Bochy emptied his bench and bullpen to keep the game going, and Vogelsong -- pulled from the rotation to clear a spot for Tim Hudson -- got the final six outs. The win was his first as a relief pitcher since Sept. 14, 2005.
"He's probably thinking it's a little easier winning this way," Bochy joked. "He came out there with great stuff."
There was nothing easy about this win, but Bochy didn't mind the journey.
"What a great game," he said as reporters walked into his office.
--- Matt Cain was charged with four runs in five innings and he has a 5.06 ERA through three starts back. Cain clearly is having trouble commanding his off-speed pitches, and really that's not that unusual for pitchers early in the year. This is, after all, April baseball for Cain.
"I don't really want to give myself that leeway," Cain said. "But in the end it kind of is the first month for me. I can't think of it that way."
Cain said he's just thinking about getting outs and making good pitches, and he mixed in too many bad ones early on. Bochy was at least encouraged that Cain's last inning was his best one.
--- Hunter Pence looked like Hunter Pence. Like the Hunter Pence the Giants locked up for five years. It looked like the break did him some good in that it was another four days of rest for that forearm that's been such an issue, but Pence said he didn't need the time off.
"I'm good," he said. "I'm ready to go."
There's one silver lining to the injuries that ruined Pence's first half.
"I'm pretty fresh," Pence said.