SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers counterpunched past midnight into Wednesday morning at AT&T Park, Hector Sanchez's mother sat in a car in the player's parking lot for three hours, eager for the game to end. The backup catcher's daughter was waiting too, for a famous father who needed to drive her to school in the morning.

Sanchez will make that drive on little sleep, but he'll do it as a clubhouse hero after a walk-off single that gave the Giants a 3-2 win at AT&T Park and finally sent the players and coaches home, along with any fans who might have had class in the morning.

"Unbelievable," Sanchez said, shaking his head. "My daughter is still going to school, though."

Sanchez's single off Brandon League brought Brandon Crawford racing home at 12:14 a.m. It was the fourth career walk-off hit for Sanchez, who has just 159 big league games under his belt.

"He's such a confident kid," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's a little cocky, but yet humble. He wants to be up there in tight situations. This kid is not afraid. He wants to play and be up there with men on base, and he usually winds up having good at-bats."

The Giants didn't have many of them for the previous five hours. They were 2 for 13 with runners on base — including 0 for 5 with the bases loaded — and left 16 runners on base. In the ninth inning, Brandon Belt doubled off Kenley Jansen to bring Angel Pagan home as the tying run -- but Belt was stranded as Pablo Sandoval struck out and Hunter Pence flied out. The Giants left the bases loaded in the 10th, with Pagan popping up and Belt flying out against a Dodgers side that at one point brought outfielder Andre Ethier up to the dirt as a fifth infielder.


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Crawford and Sanchez finally ended the drama in the 12th. The shortstop, who had a walk-off homer Sunday, reached on a one-out single. Sanchez had come in on a double-switch that sent Buster Posey to the bench for the night, and he knew struggling Dodgers right-hander Brandon League would try to get him with sinkers.

"I was thinking about going back up the middle of the field," Sanchez said.

His liner glanced off second baseman Justin Turner's glove as Crawford headed home and then turned for Sanchez. As is the tradition, Sanchez took a beating, with Belt jabbing his backside with a few well-placed knees.

"Nobody else was there," Belt said, shrugging. "He fell down. That's what he gets ..."

Sanchez was happy to take another walk-off wallop.

"I was worried about those guys -- they kill you when you get a walk-off," he said. "But those are probably the only punches that don't hurt."

The drama came hours after Tim Lincecum put forth his best effort of the season. Even as his overall numbers plummeted the past two seasons, Lincecum could always summon his old form when the rival Los Angeles Dodgers filled the opposing dugout. Lincecum had a 5.18 ERA in 2012, but it was just 2.63 against the Dodgers. He had a 4.37 ERA last year but a 3.47 mark against the division champions.

Lincecum retired six of the first seven Dodgers he faced Tuesday, but he was living dangerously, going to a 2-0 count on three of them. He fell behind 3-0 to former teammate Juan Uribe and, after two called strikes, hung a slider that Uribe smacked 20 rows up the left field bleachers.

The homer was the fifth allowed by Lincecum in his first 12 innings of the season, but he bounced back for his most impressive stretch of 2014. Lincecum struck out the side in the third on just 12 pitches. After loading the bases with one out in the fourth, he struck out Uribe and catcher Tim Federowicz.

In five innings, Lincecum gave up just the one run on five hits. He struck out five and walked none, and through three starts has 17 strikeouts to just one walk. The starting rotation's two Tims, Lincecum and Hudson, have combined for 33 strikeouts and one walk this season.

"I'm just staying aggressive in the zone," Lincecum said. "I thin I'm trying to attack the zone a little more and guys are being aggressive off me, so I'm trying to work off that a little more."

Dodgers starter Josh Beckett struggled with his command, but he managed to keep the Giants off the board through five innings despite twice loading the bases. The Giants broke through for a run in the sixth, but that was one of few blemishes for either bullpen. Seven Giants relievers gave up just one run over seven innings.

"It was a well-pitched game on both sides," Bochy said. "We left a lot of runners stranded, but our pen did such a good job. You've got to keep fighting and that's what they did."

The win gave Bochy a chance for a rare feat. When the Giants take the field later Wednesday, they'll have a shot at giving their manager two victories on his 59th birthday. He celebrated the occasion in style, 14 minutes after the clock struck zero.

"That's a big win," Lincecum said, smiling. "Especially when you're winning in the morning."

  • Dodgers setup man Brian Wilson was brought off the disabled list just in time to face his former team, though he was not one of the seven pitchers Los Angeles used in the series opener.

    Wilson, who pitched for the Giants for seven years, made just two appearances this season for Los Angeles before going on the disabled list with nerve irritation in his right elbow. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Wilson "had a lot of late life" on his pitches during rehab appearances.

    The appearance at AT&T Park was Wilson's first since he caused a post-game scene last Sept. 26. After a Giants win that night, Wilson stormed over to the seats alongside the home dugout and confronted team president and CEO Larry Baer, demanding his 2012 World Series ring. Team officials had tried for months to set up an exchange, only to be rebuffed by Wilson.

  • The rival organizations came together before Tuesday's game for a ceremony honoring Jackie Robinson on the 67th anniversary of his MLB debut. Hall-of-Fame broadcasters Jon Miller and Vin Scully took turns announcing the lineups as the teams lined up along the first- and third-base lines. In what might have been a first for a member of the Dodgers organization, Scully received a loud ovation from the AT&T Park crowd.

  • Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt will likely be activated before Wednesday's game. Affeldt started the season on the disabled list because of a sprained right MCL. Bochy said there is no new news on the other player on the disabled list, second baseman Marco Scutaro.

    "He's still having his real good days and then days when we have to back off a little bit," Bochy said of Scutaro, who has been working out at the club facility in Scottsdale while trying to find a fix for persistent back pain.

    For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/AlexPavlovic.

    WEDNESDAY'S GAME
    L.A. Dodgers
    (Paul Maholm 0-1) at Giants
    (Ryan Vogelsong 0-0), 7:15 p.m.
    NBC Bay Area

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    bounce-back performance
    After two rough outings to start the season, Giants starter Tim Lincecum was more like his Cy Young self Tuesday against the Dodgers. Here are Lincecum's three 2014 outings:
    Date Dec. IP H ER R BB SO
    Tuesday ND 5 5 1 1 0 5
    April 9 L 4 7 7 7 1 5
    April 3 ND 6 8 4 4 0 7