Pablo Sandoval sparks Giants' rally from five runs down

CHICAGO -- Bruce Bochy wasn't tempted to take out Ryan Vogelsong when he faltered early, and the pitcher rewarded his manager's confidence with a fine finish.

Vogelsong gave up five early runs before retiring his final 10 batters and helped his cause by walking with the bases loaded as the San Francisco Giants rallied for a 7-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

"He was out of sync, even said he was having a hard time getting the ball where he wanted," Bochy said. "But he got in a good groove there after that one inning and started getting pitches where he wanted and he got in a good rhythm there."

Vogelsong (1-1) yielded eight hits and five runs in the first three innings before going on a solid run in a foggy and damp, 40-degree day to help the World Series champion Giants win their fourth straight.

"I still don't feel all that great after that," Vogelsong said. "I just was trying to throw the ball and hopefully things were going to change, and they did. We started hitting the ball and some people made some really good plays."

Trailing 5-0 after three innings, the Giants got some help in staging their comeback: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro's a two-out fielding error spurred a four-run fourth.

With runners on first and third in the fourth, Castro botched Vogelsong's grounder, allowing the first run to score. Scott Feldman (0-2) then gave up an RBI single to Angel Pagan and hit Brandon Crawford with a pitch ahead of Sandoval's double that pulled the Giants to 5-4.

"I think that one is basically not understanding that the pitcher hit the ball and you had plenty of time," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said about Castro's error. "You didn't have to overcharge the ball and overcook that whole play."

Added Castro: "It's really frustrating. I feel bad myself because that's a routine play and that's not supposed to happen. I tried to be too fast but I can learn; that play can't happen again."

Feldman allowed a single to Brandon Belt and walked Gregor Blanco after getting one out in the fifth. Hisanori Takahashi relieved and Nick Noonan singled to load the bases. Vogelsong then walked to force in a run and Pagan put the Giants ahead with a flyball to left field. Brandon Crawford then singled in a run to make it 7-5.

Feldman lasted just 4 1/3 innings and gave up six runs -- two earned -- on seven hits. He walked three and struck out three.

"We came back yesterday against the Rockies," Crawford said. "We have a lot of good guys in our lineup, so we've battled back before. We did it last year in the playoffs and we have a lot of similar players back this year, so we know how to battle back, for sure."

Jeremy Affeldt relieved Vogelsong after the sixth but he faltered in the eighth and was lifted after Alfonso Soriano doubled and Nate Schierholtz reached on a broken bat infield single. Santiago Casilla came on and got Welington Castillo to hit into a double play that scored Soriano to make it 7-6.

Luis Valbuena followed with a double to deep center, but pinch-hitter Steve Clevenger ended the inning looking at a third strike.

Giants closer Sergio Romo allowed a one-out double to David DeJesus in the ninth but finished for his sixth save.

"I feel pretty good right now," Romo said. "It's a long season and I still have a lot of work to do. I'm real happy with the way I've started, but I just try to do the best I can for my teammates."

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the third inning to give Chicago a 5-0 lead. Brent Lillibridge broke an 0-for-17 start to the season with a two-run single in the second for the Cubs.

Game notes
San Francisco is in the midst of playing five consecutive day games (including four scheduled at Wrigley Field) for the first time since April 17-21, 1996. . The Giants have now won eight of their last nine games vs. the Cubs. ... Friday's probable pitchers: Giants RHP Matt Cain (0-1) vs. Cubs RHP Carlos Villanueva (0-0). ... Former Blackhawks great and NHL Hall of Famer Tony Esposito was guest conductor during the seventh inning stretch's "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." ... Thursday marked the earliest date for the Giants to play at Wrigley Field in the team's 131-year history. The previous earliest visit to Wrigley was April 13, 1963.