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Giants can't get big hit in ninth

Associated Press Published: June 17, 2012
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SEATTLE (AP) — The Giants couldn't have asked for anyone else at the plate.

Melky Cabrera was up with the bases loaded and one out. This time, the National League's leading hitter couldn't come through, striking out on three pitches.

While Cabrera failed, Justin Smoak didn't for the Mariners in the bottom of the ninth, hitting a one-out single off Javier Lopez to give Seattle a 2-1 win over the Giants on Sunday.

Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen walked Pablo Sandoval on four pitches to load the bases with one out in the ninth, bringing Cabrera up. After fouling off the first two fastballs, Cabrera's foul tip of a fastball was hung on to by catcher Miguel Olivo.

"We had the right guy up, he's done it," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "The ninth inning was the difference. It was the golden opportunity, but we didn't quite get it done and they got the big hit."

Wilhelmsen (3-1) then got pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz to ground out to second to end his most pressure-filled outing since recording his first career save June 5.

"Holy cow," Wilhelmsen said. "Got pretty intense there for a little but, huh?"

That allowed the opportunity for Smoak. San Francisco reliever Sergio Romo (2-1) gave up back-to-back singles to Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero to open the ninth before being replaced by Lopez. After pinch-hitter Michael Saunders failed to bunt the runners over, Smoak lined the game-winning single to left.

A tense ninth inning finally settled what starters Madison Bumgarner and Felix Hernandez could not. Each were dominant.

Bumgarner allowed just three hits in his eight innings. He struck out four and walked one, retiring 18 consecutive batters at one point.

"I felt good after the first couple innings," Bumgarner said. "I started off a little slow, but pretty much was still able to make pitches.

"Everything felt pretty good."

Hernandez, who had been struggling, threw seven innings, allowed one run, struck out seven and walked one.

He tinkered with his mound stance during his bullpen work earlier in the week, trying to find a remedy for his recent woes. Hernandez's ERA was 6.36 over his previous six starts, during which he was 1-4.

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