video thumbnail

NYM@SF: Schierholtz launches a solo shot in the sixth

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants can consider two options in their efforts to acquire an impact hitter before the July 31 Trade Deadline.

They could take the high-profile approach and obtain right fielder Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets. The five-time All-Star would have a definite effect on the Giants' lineup.

Or San Francisco could take the If-You-Can't-Beat-Him, Grab-Him approach and send the Mets anything and anybody they'd want for Scott Hairston. At least he wouldn't be able to beat the Giants anymore.

Hairston, who seems to think every Giants pitcher throws beach balls, belted a pinch-hit home run off Brian Wilson to open the ninth inning and launched a tiebreaking, three-run uprising as the Mets conquered the Giants, 5-2, on Friday.

Faulting the Giants' bullpen would be unfair. San Francisco's relievers entered the game with a 3.13 ERA, third-best in the National League. Fretting over Wilson's third sub-par effort in his last five outings might be premature. The three-time All-Star has earned the benefit of the doubt while excelling as San Francisco's closer since 2008.

So the most convenient explanation for the Giants' latest setback is to attribute it to the Curse of Hairston, who has hit more home runs against San Francisco -- 12 in 192 at-bats, spanning 73 games -- than against any other club.

Hairston did it again before a paid crowd of 41,028, sellout crowd No. 42, as he shattered a 2-2 tie by planting Wilson's full-count cut fastball in the left-field seats. Center fielder Andres Torres' subsequent two-base error led to a pair of unearned runs, including one generated by Beltran's RBI single. But Hairston's clout sufficiently deflated the Giants.

"He's gotten some mistakes from us late in the ballgame," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Hairston. "Certain guys seem to do that against certain clubs. He's beat us more than once, I know. The ball just stayed up there and he got enough of it."

Right-hander Matt Cain, the longest-tenured Giant, has witnessed virtually all of Hairston's feats against San Francisco.

"He has a good approach," Cain said. "If you don't get him out of his approach, he's tough. He's got that swing where, if you make a mistake over the outer third of the plate and it's in a good hitting range, he's got a really good chance to put a charge into it. It seems like that's what he's done against us -- a ton. It's unreal. We all know it, the guys who have been here. It's crazy."

Wilson (6-2) quickly left AT&T Park after the game and wasn't available for comment, but Hairston enjoyed discussing their confrontation.

"When the music comes on and he comes in and the fans get excited, as a player your adrenaline kicks in," Hairston said. "I love being in that situation. It's a lot of fun."

This was Wilson's third appearance in three games. He worked three shutout innings in the previous two outings, after blowing saves on back-to-back days last Thursday and Friday at Chicago and Detroit, respectively.

"Sure, he gives up the home run, but he just made a mistake there," Bochy said. "... He just got a ball up there, that's all. I've seen him three, four days [in a row] and make great pitches. I thought he was fine today and that's why he was out there."

Before the game, the biggest fuss was generated by reports from the San Francisco Chronicle and Bay Area News Group that indicated that Beltran would waive his no-trade clause if he had a chance to be dealt to a contender -- the Giants, by implication.

"What's going to happen is going to happen," Beltran said after going 3-for-5. "I'm not really thinking about that. I'm going to wait like you guys are going to wait. ... Right now, what I need to do is come to the ballpark in a condition where I can go out there and help this team win ballgames, and that's what I'm doing."

The Giants' most effective hitters of late, Nate Schierholtz and Pablo Sandoval, remained productive on Friday. Schierholtz drove in both of San Francisco's runs with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly and a sixth-inning homer, both off Mets starter R.A. Dickey. Sandoval lengthened his hitting streak to 19 games by doubling in the fourth inning.

San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong, the first-time All-Star, matched Dickey by allowing two runs in seven innings. Vogelsong issued a season-high five walks but faltered only in the fifth inning, when he yielded Angel Pagan's two-run homer.

Vogelsong was extremely self-critical despite recording his 10th quality start in 14 attempts.

"I'm not happy with the way I threw," he said. "I feel pretty fortunate to give up only two runs."

Vogelsong lamented surrendering Ruben Tejada's single that christened the fifth, one out before Pagan homered: "I give up a hit to the eight-hole guy [Tejada] to start the whole thing. If I get him out, face the pitcher and get two outs with nobody on, facing the leadoff guy, it changes the whole inning.

"That's three pretty so-so starts in a row. the results were pretty good today, but I didn't throw the ball the way I'm capable of throwing. It affects the whole game, when you're walking guys and guys are on base every inning."

Perhaps, but Hairston's presence ultimately affected the game more. Comments