Only this time, Alfonzo's pinch-hitting heroics earned the Giants a victory.
Alfonzo's two-out, bases-clearing double in the seventh inning provided the Giants the three runs they needed to reverse an early two-run deficit and put them on their way to a 6-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in front of 39,265 fans Friday night at AT&T Park.
Alfonzo was 3-for-3 in the series-opening loss to the Phillies the previous night when he spelled Bengie Molina in a rainy contest. Those at-bats proved crucial for Alfonzo, who today will start at catcher for only the fourth time this season.
"It got me focused," Alfonzo said of the game Thursday. "I felt more comfortable going to the plate today."
The Giants secured the victory with three more runs in the eighth inning, including two on a single by Omar Vizquel with the bases loaded, and a perfect ninth by closer Armando Benitez. The win allowed them to close to within 11/2 games of first-place Los Angeles.
Both Giants rallies started with walks to Barry Bonds, situations of which manager Bruce Bochy said, "It's up to us to come through, and our guys did."
Bochy also praised starter Matt Morris (4-1), who gave up two first-inning runs but blanked the Phillies over the next six.
"He's such a battler, he's a warrior out there," Bochy said.
"He kept us in the game. He gave us a chance."
Doing so required near perfection because of Phillies starter Jamie Moyer's form. The 44-year old Moyer, who entered the game with a lifetime ERA of 2.60 against the Giants, allowed only two hits through the first six innings.
The three runs charged to Moyer on Alfonzo's double were the only runs he gave up.
"Two runs was a lot to come back from the way he was pitching," Morris said.
The deficit nearly increased to three in the sixth inning, which Morris started by walking two batters. Aaron Rowand singled to center with two on and none out, but second baseman Kevin Frandsen's relay throw nailed Ryan Howard at the plate. Morris escaped the inning unscathed when he forced Wes Helms to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.
Frandsen said he was able to make the play because shortstop Vizquel alerted him to throw the ball home.
For Morris, the start was the fifth that followed a Giants loss. The Giants have won four of those games.
This one was particularly crucial, as the Giants entered the contest having lost five of their last seven and appeared on the brink of reverting to their early-season form.
The Giants bullpen was splendid, with Brad Hennessey striking out two in the eighth inning and Benitez pitching a perfect ninth.
Alfonzo wasn't the only Giants pinch-hitter to do something of note Friday. Mark Sweeney recorded the 144th pinch hit of his career to take over sole possession of fourth place, leaving behind Greg Gross. Sweeney needs one more pinch hit to tie Smoky Burgess for fifth place.
Contact Dylan Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GIANTS 6, PHILLIES 2