In relief of Casilla, Lopez posts rare save

Giants closer loads bases, so Bochy turns to veteran lefty

In relief of Casilla, Lopez posts rare save

PHOENIX -- Giants closer Santiago Casilla had just walked Paul Goldschmidt to load the bases with two out in the ninth inning Thursday night at Chase Field, San Francisco clinging to a two-run lead over the D-backs.

Manager Bruce Bochy then strode determinedly to the mound, surprising two pitchers: the right-handed Casilla, who was being yanked, and left-hander Javier Lopez, brought in to record a rare save.

Lopez then came on to face the lefty-swinging Jake Lamb, who cracked his bat as he grounded out to second.

Casilla gets pulled

The Giants had a 4-2 win and Lopez only the 14th save of his 14-year career and first since Sept. 19, 2013, against the Mets in New York.

"It hasn't happened too often where Boch has used me in that situation," Lopez said. "I don't have that many career saves."

Bochy said the move was a "no-brainer" because the D-backs had no right-handed hitters left on the bench and Lamb is now 0-for-3 lifetime against Lopez and 15-for-102 (.147) lifetime against left-handers.

"That was an easy one," Bochy said. "Casilla, he's emotional. He wants to be the guy out there. We have a veteran lefty. They were out of hitters. You don't mind guys being competitive and not wanting to come out, but he probably got a little too emotional there.

"He just didn't want to come out. We've got a guy out there, that's his job. He's the guy I wanted."

These chances have been so few and far between that Lopez said he got a big kick coming in for that situation. He's usually brought in to get one specific lefty hitter in the middle innings.

"I'm going to need 300 more [saves] to have a shot at the Hall," Lopez said. "It's exciting. See you in 2025."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.