Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Greatest Giants Game Ever
Starting pitcher M.C. O'Connor
OK, maybe not ever, but damn close. I'm exhausted and exhilarated by this extraordinary game, an epic 6-5 slugfest that featured seven doubles but no home runs. Where 11 pitchers gave up 11 runs. Where the Giants scored in five different innings. Where Pablo Sandoval had the biggest hit of his life and then hit into a double play on his very next at-bat. Where Juan Uribe bested Roy Oswalt with a gutty, gritty, gigantic walk-off winner.
And where Buster Posey had a game for the ages, seizing his own page out of the Big Book of Giants Lore with a 4-hit, 2-RBI night and a highlight-reel play at the plate to save a run.
Charlie Manuel said after the game: "They found a way." Yes they did. The Giants found a way to win. MadBum looked good early, striking out 6 of the first 12 batters he faced, but ran into a Phillies buzz saw in the 5th. Santiago Casilla made it worse, and the Giants found themselves down by two runs, a seemingly impossible task. They clawed back with a run from Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres in the bottom of the inning, and got another shot in the 6th with a leadoff walk from Pat the Bat. Cody Ross plunked a ball over third base that he turned into a double with some heads-up baserunning, and that set the stage for the Panda's heroics. He stroked a ball down the right-field line that was probably fair, but called foul, and looked for all the world like he'd whiff in short order. Instead he blasted a high fastball from Chad Durbin into left-center and the Giants had the lead back. Naturally, the home squad failed to score another run. Sandoval on 2nd, no outs, zip. Next inning? Bases loaded, one out, zip. I was beside myself with anguish--I knew, I just knew that the Giants would pay for those lapses, and they did. Jayson Werth drove in Ryan Howard (a big run off Lopez-Romo) to tie it up in the 8th and crank the TortureKnob™ to 11. Fortunately the local lads didn't panic. They knew they could win a Battle of the Bullpens. With Bochy wisely going to his big stud Brian Wilson in the 9th, the Phils countered with Game Two star Roy Oswalt. It's not that it was a bad move--the Phils have some issues with their relief corps and needed a stud. But Aubrey Huff spoiled things with a single to right with one out. Up came Posey, the young superstar who turned the season around for the Giants, and he delivered a memorable at-bat and a huge hit to put the winning run at third base. Juan Uribe, oozing veteran savvy clutchness, somehow roped a low, outside, off-speed pitch deep into left field for the game-winning sacrifice fly, and the magic that's been inside all season long spilled all over Mays Field. Huff crossed the plate to a wild celebration, and the Giants had a victory, a remarkable, improbable victory that puts them one win from the World Series.
Tomorrow the Giants send out their best with a chance to win the pennant at home. The Freak. The Franchise. Big Time Timmy Jim. This is it. The lads have shown the champs that they can hang with them.
Now they have to show the champs they can beat them.
Get it done! GO GIANTS!!
Chart from FanGraphs.