Nestor Molina blows save, White Sox lose to Giants, 4-3


Feb 26, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher

Nestor Molina

(63) pitches during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox were three outs away from winning their third straight game on Wednesday, but reliever Nestor Molina (0-1) struggled in the ninth, allowing two runs, giving the San Francisco Giants a walk-off win by a 4-3 final, just one day after Chicago topped Texas in similar fashion.

The Giants’ Hector Sanchez singled to center to lead the bottom of the ninth off, with his club trailing 4-3. Manager Bruce Bochy inserted Juan Perez as a pinch-runner and the move paid off immediately as Perez came around to score on a double off the bat of Nick Noonan. Bochy continued to rely on small ball, having Brandon Hicks lay down the sacrifice bunt, advancing the runner to third before Joaquin Arias lined an RBI single to give San Francisco (9-5) the come-from-behind win.

White Sox starting pitcher Felipe Paulino lasted into the fourth inning, tossing 3 2/3 frames of two-run ball, allowing five hits and striking out five. Another key in his outing was hit pair of wild pitches. Four other relievers who preceded Molina combined to throw 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, allowing a combined one hit and two walks on the afternoon.

Chicago (5-6) fell behind early after Giants outfielder Michael Morse hit an RBI double in the bottom of the first that was followed by a single off the bat of Buster Posey. The score remained 2-0 in favor of the Giants until the top of the fifth, when the Chicago offense finally pushed across its first run of the ballgame.

An RBI single by Alejandro DeAza in the fifth off Tim Lincecum made it a 2-1 ballgame before DeAza came around to score on a bunt ground ball by Leury Garcia to tie the game. The White Sox took the lead in the top of the seventh on a Tyler Flowers RBI single to center. Flowers was the only Chicago player to tally multiple hits in the contest.

Lincecum lasted 4 1/3, allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out three and walking one. His spring ERA stands at 1.93 following this afternoon’s outing. Gregor Blanco joined Posey with a pair of base hits for the San Francisco offense.