Sunday, October 10, 2010

Giants snatch victory from the jaws of defeat


Freddy Sanchez scoring the winning run in the 9th
As Giants fans sat completely shocked after Sergio Romo gave up the go-ahead homer in the bottom of the 8th inning something happened to the Giants offense.

They figured out how to string some hits together.

The ninth inning was a thing that will go down in Giants' lore as a game to remember.  The Giants' backs were to the wall.  They were about to go down 2 games to 1 to the Atlanta Braves with one more game left to play in Atlanta.  Not a good recipe for winning s best of 5 series.

The ninth inning started with Cody Ross popping out.  Travis Ishikawa worked a 6 pitch walk. Then Andres Torres struck out and Freddy Sanchez was down to his last strike and the Braves were just waiting to celebrate.  Then it happened.  Sanchez hit a seeing-eye single up the middle which got Ishikawa into scoring position.  Next came Aubrey Huff, who had two hits in the series so far, he stroked a single to right field which scored Ishikawa.  Huff was followed by Buster Posey who poked a grounder to Braves second baseman Brooks Conrad.  Conrad strengthened his case for the Giants' MVP of the series by totally whiffing on the grounder and letting it go into rightfield which allowed Freddy Sanchez to score the third and final run of the game.

It was quite a turn around and it showed the never-say-die attitude that these same Giants had shown so many times during the season.  All day long it appeared that the only run the Giants, or the Braves for that matter, would score would be the unearned run the Giants scored in the second inning when Brooks Conrad (more evidence he should be the Giants' MVP) dropped a medium deep popup to rightfield which allowed Fontenot to score from third after his leadoff triple.  The Giants apparently need their backs against the wall to put runs on the board when Pat Burrell isn't driving everybody in with homeruns I guess.

I would not be doing the game justice however if I failed to mention the pitching duel that led to all the theatrics in the 8th and 9th innings.  Jonathan Sanchez did his best to outdo Tim Lincecum's game 1 performance and darn near did it to.  He held the Braves hitless into the sixth inning and his 11 strikeouts broke the Giants postseason single game strikeout record that was held by Carl Hubbell in 1933!

I will admit that I thought that the Giants made a mistake by not trading Sanchez for Adam Dunn at the trade deadline.  Although I believe the Nationals wanted a little more than just Sanchez for Dunn.  But now I am glad they didn't trade him away.  This guy has been showing a lot of signs of maturity this season and he has been the Giants most consistent starter since the beginning of September with a 1.08 ERA in his last 8 starts.  Hell, he even was the team ERA leader this season with his 3.07 ERA! (technically Madison Bumgarner's 3.00 ERA was lower but he didn't throw enough innings in the bigs to qualify as the leader.)

Bobby Cox: I knew I should have retired last season
This puts the Giants in the best possible scenario.  Tomorrow's game is kind of a luxury.  The Braves backs are now to the wall and the Giants don't have to throw Lincecum on short rest.  The Braves will face the rookie Madison Bumgarner who pitches well on the road and the Giants don't have to get the win.  Obviously you want to close it out if at all possible but it sure feels good knowing that the Giants will return to San Francisco with Mr. 14k's waiting to see how many more strikeouts he can add to his total.  Derek Lowe will be going on 3 days rest because, well, the Braves don't really have anybody else who they trust to start tomorrow.

Go Giants!

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