Tigers' rally falls short in 4-3 loss to Giants

NOAH TRISTER - AP Sports Writer
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San Francisco Giants starter Madison Bumgarner pitches against the Detroit Tigers in the second inning of a interleague baseball game, Friday, July 1, 2011, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

DETROIT (AP) — Brennan Boesch made solid contact — and hit the ball to the worst possible place.

Shortstop Brandon Crawford caught Boesch's soft line drive near second base and quickly stepped on the bag to double off Brandon Inge, letting the San Francisco Giants hold on for a 4-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night. Detroit scored twice in the ninth and had the bases loaded with one out when the Giants escaped on the unassisted double play.

"That's just one of those freaky ones," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "For us, it was hit in exactly the wrong spot. For them, it was exactly the right spot."

Pablo Sandoval hit a tiebreaking double as part of a three-run top of the ninth for the Giants. San Francisco was coming off back-to-back losses to the Cubs — both in Chicago's last at-bat. The Giants nearly fell again.

Brian Wilson (6-1) won, but only after blowing a save for the second straight day. Wilson allowed Magglio Ordonez's RBI single in the eighth that tied it at 1.

After the Giants took the lead, Wilson started the ninth but had to be pulled with one out, the bases loaded and a run already in. Wilson slugged a cooler in the dugout with a bat after leaving the game.

"Give yourself 30 seconds to completely lose it, then come back and be a part of the team," Wilson said.

Jeremy Affeldt came on, and Detroit pulled within one when second baseman Emmanuel Burriss muffed a slow grounder for an error. Boesch was up next, and his liner probably would have scored the tying and winning runs if it had been a few feet higher.

"Great effort on our guys' part," Leyland said. "We just came up a little short."

It was Affeldt's third save of the season.

The Tigers dropped a half-game behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central.

Madison Bumgarner allowed a run and five hits over 7 1-3 outstanding innings for San Francisco. He struck out nine and walked one.

Bumgarner departed following a walk by Inge. Sergio Romo came on and got the second out of the inning, but Javier Lopez then took the mound and allowed a single to pinch-hitter Boesch.

Wilson was next out of the bullpen, and Ordonez greeted him with a single to right.

It didn't stay tied for long. Chris Stewart led off the ninth with a double, and Aaron Rowand followed with a single, reaching base as part of his broken bat went flying over the third-base dugout.

One out later, Sandoval hit a ground-rule double to left-center to make it 2-1. The Giants added two more runs when Jose Valverde (2-3) and Brayan Villarreal issued bases-loaded walks.

Rowand had three hits.

Detroit's Brad Penny allowed a run and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out two and walked two.

The Giants threatened early, putting runners at first and third with nobody out in the first. Penny got out of the jam thanks to a fantastic play by left fielder Casper Wells. Sandoval lifted a foul ball toward the seats, and Wells not only caught it amid reaching fans — but he also threw home to catch Rowand, who had tagged up at third.

"That was an extraordinary play," Leyland said.

Sandoval made the most of his next big opportunity. With Rowand on second and two outs in the fifth, he sliced an 0-2 pitch to the gap in left-center to put the Giants ahead.

Bumgarner has been excellent since being knocked out in the first inning of a June 21 start against Minnesota. In his two outings since then, he's allowed two runs in 14 1-3 innings, with 20 strikeouts and two walks.

Detroit's Lester Oliveros made his major league debut in the eighth, striking out two and allowing a hit and a walk in an inning. Oliveros was called up from the minors to replace Al Alburquerque, who went on the disabled list with inflammation in his right arm.

NOTES: Detroit 2B Carlos Guillen (left knee) is transferring from Class A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo as part of his rehabilitation assignment. ... San Francisco plans to start LHP Barry Zito on three days' rest Saturday, with RHP Ryan Vogelsong taking the mound Sunday. Zito and Vogelsong both pitched in a doubleheader Tuesday. ... Victor Martinez has been with the Tigers barely a half-season, and he's already impressed Leyland. Martinez has made the transition to designated hitter look easy. He entered Friday's game hitting .329. "I can't say enough about him," Leyland said. "He's one of the best teammates I've ever managed or been around."