San Francisco used smoke, mirrors and the miscues of Cleveland first baseman Carlos Santana to grab a 4-3 win despite Giant pitching allowing seven walks.
The Indians also lost right fielder Shin-Soo Choo for up to six weeks with a broken left thumb he suffered when hit by a pitch in the fourth inning by San Francisco starter Jonathan Sanchez.
In a game that saw 16 of the 18 players in the starting lineup having batting averages below .250, the Giants tallied three times in the sixth to turn a 3-1 Cleveland lead into a 4-3 San Francisco advantage. The 3-run, 2-hit rally for the Giants began with a single by Chris Stewart and was fueled when Santana made a throwing error on Giant pinch hitter Nate Schierholtz’s ground ball that put runners at first and second. Andres Torres, who went 3-for-4, singled to load the bases.
Santana’s second error of the inning on a ground ball by Emmanuel Burriss allowed Stewart to score and cut the Cleveland lead to 3-2. Pablo Sandoval and Aubrey Huff followed with consecutive sacrifice fly balls to give the Giants the 4-3 lead.
Cleveland took advantage of the wildness of Sanchez in scoring all three Indian runs. Sanchez walked both Orlando Cabrera and Asdrubal Cabrera with one out in the first and Santana drilled a 2-run double to left center field give the Tribe the early 2-0 lead. More wildness by Sanchez in the fourth pushed the Cleveland lead to 3-0. Choo was hit by a pitch and left the game for pinch runner Shelley Duncan before Sanchez walked Lou Marson and Jack Hannahan singled home Duncan.
The 2-run double by Santana in the first and the RBI single by Hannanhan in the fourth wound up being the only hits collected by the Tribe.
San Francisco made it 3-1 in the fourth when Torres hit a solo home run. Cleveland missed a great chance to widen its lead in the fifth when Sanchez walked Orlando Cabrera and Asdrubal Cabrera with one out and loaded the bases with another walk to Duncan with two out. But Santiago Casilla who earned the win, took over for Sanchez and got Austin Kearns on strikes to end the threat.
Cleveland had one base runner against four Giants relief pitchers. Jeremy Affeldt walked Santana to lead off the eighth but Sergio Romo, taking over for Affeldt, picked off Santana for the second out of the inning.
Carlos Carrasco, (7-4) went the distance for the Tribe, giving up four runs, one earned, on six hits with four strike outs in suffering the tough luck loss. Sanchez, who left with two out in the Cleveland fifth with a 3-1 deficit after walking the bases loaded, gave up three runs on two hits with six walks and six strike outs in a no-decision. Casilla (1-1) retired all four batters he faced with two strike outs to get the win while Brian Wilson, the fifth Giants pitcher, pitched a scoreless ninth with a strike out for his 22nd save.
The Indians, who opened interleague play 6-0, slipped to 7-3 with the loss. The series continues at 4:11 p.m. EDT Saturday with the game broadcast by FOX Justin Masterson (5-5) faces Matt Cain (6-4). The Giants entered this series 0-3 at home against Cleveland when the Tribe swept a 3-game series in 2005 at AT&T Park.