SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants turned the double play they needed to escape a sixth-inning jam Wednesday. But it wasn't the sort of sequence they simulate during infield practice.
Double rundowns involving the pitcher and questionable Pirates baserunning created a 1-6-1-5 twin killing at AT&T Park. It stifled Pittsburgh's offense and coincided with a Giants comeback that propelled them to a 7-5 victory that snapped a six-game losing streak.
"That probably saved us, there's no getting around that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It kept us out of a big inning."
Pittsburgh threatened to add to its 5-4 lead as Jordy Mercer's sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third base with one out in the sixth. Giants reliever Jean Machi walked Chris Stewart to load the bases -- but not for long.
Travis Snider, apparently believing he could advance to third base even though he hadn't been forced there, began wandering off second base. Machi noticed this and, upon receiving catcher Andrew Susac's return throw, fired the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who promptly caught up with Snider and tagged him out.
"I'm always alert of the runners on base," Machi said through an interpreter. "But in that situation, Crawford also was yelling at me. I saw Snider was off base and I said, 'We've got to get this guy in this situation.'"
Meanwhile, Gaby Sanchez edged off third base, thinking he might have a chance to score. But Crawford threw to Machi, who was in the neighborhood to back up the play. Machi ran Sanchez back toward third base, where Pablo Sandoval was waiting. Sandoval took Machi's feed and tagged out Sanchez after pursuing him toward home for only a few steps.
Snider acknowledged that he thought the bases were loaded.
"Absolutely -- 100 percent mental error," he said. Asked when he realized that he had erred, Snider replied, "Soon as Crawford started running at me. Honestly, I was just thinking about getting to third base. [I] take ownership of that mistake."
Referring to the baseball axiom stating that no matter how many games you watch, you'll continue to see things you never saw before, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, "Unfortunately, that's the first time I've seen a walk into a double play. Snider thought there was a runner on first, for some reason, and was walking to third. And Gaby tried to, I guess, help him out, and we ended up just hamstringing the whole inning."