The Giants settle for a third-place tie with the Padres, and I settle for a headline that I stole from 'Breaking Bad.' For those of you living in a cave, the much-hyped (and quite excellent) AMC TV series ends this evening. Giants baseball, alas, ended this afternoon. At least they made it exciting. When Gregor Blanco got hurt with two outs in the top of the 9th, 40th man Francisco Peguero took his spot. Sure enough, the long-tenured farmhand blasted a game-tying homer (his first in the bigs) off San Diego closer Huston Street in the bottom of the 9th. A hit, a wild pitch, a walk, and another walk loaded the bases for the man of the hour, Hunter Pence, who whacked a 3-2 pitch into center field for the game-winner. The Padres had employed five infielders and two shallow outfielders, a scheme that you only get to see in those walk-off situations, but it was to no avail and the Giants pulled off a fun comeback win.
Barry Zito got a curtain call when Bruce Bochy summoned him with two outs in the 8th to pitch to Mark Kotsay. Bud Black played along and left in the veteran lefty, who obligingly struck out to give the home crowd a thrill. Kotsay took his final cuts today--he's retiring after 16 years in the majors. That's a hell of an accomplishment. The Cal State Fullerton grad was the 9th pick (Florida Marlins) of the 1996 draft.
The final tally is 76-86 or .469 ball. LA (92-70) wins the West by 11 games over Arizona (81-81), who just break even despite a strong showing in the first half. San Diego (76-86) matches San Francisco, but claim the high ground only on alphabetical order. The Giants won the season series eleven games to eight and thus merit the tiebreaker. You know it's been a bad season when your favorite team has to have its best month (16-11, .593) just to pass the Colorado Rockies (74-88) and stay out of the basement.
But have a good month they did, and that's something. I like ending the year on an up note. And speaking of notes, the Giants will send ninety million or so Pence's way for the next five years. It's a lot and a long time, Rowandian in scope, but I like the deal. I think he'll earn his pay. This will be an interesting off-season. We should have plenty to talk about. By the way, I put twenty on Timmy. Blog-mate JC and I have a wager: I say The Freak will be on the Giants next year, he says not. We'll see!