Emmanuel Burriss strode to the plate last night leading off the 10th inning and here's what happened: he took a pitch. Then he hit a foul ball and then he took another pitch. At this point, I was encouraged. Brian Fuentes looked like he was trying to throw balls rather than strikes, and Manny looked like he was trying to work a walk. Good for him, I thought. Don't try to hit it, I thought, just beg your way on base. Manny, being Manny, then waved at a ball that looked like it might get past the catcher for strike two. Then a foul ball. Then ball three. Then two more foul balls. He worked the count, I thought, good for him. I was then prepared for the next pitch to be swinging strike three. Then something happened. Manny reached down and whacked at a ball that was inside and sinking and it shot off the bat and hit the grass about six feet from the batter's box. And it kept bouncing merrily along and through the five-and-a-half hole and into left field for a clean single. That was the Giants fourth hit in ten innings. They got their fifth hit to end it three batters later. The long, slow grind that started three-and-one-half hours earlier was mercifully over and the Giants had a win.
Bruce Bochy told the media after the game that Manny had been "swinging the bat well down there" before the call-up. So I checked it out: how's .361/.432/.470 look for 97 PA in Fresno? And 16 of 19 in stolen bases? Those are some serious "How ya' like me now?" numbers, aren't they? Yes, they are. I say "Manny, just keep being Manny."
Highlights: another fine outing by Ryan Vogelsong, who matched up beautifully with the A's impressive youngster Trevor Cahill. Cahill was pulled for a pinch-hitter after six because this is the National League and that's how we roll, dawg. Otherwise I have no doubt he would have still been putting up zeroes in the 10th. The Giants looked damn feeble against him. Tremendous work by Nate Schierholtz in right, gunning down Josh Willingham at third in the 2nd inning, and making another nifty diving catch on a liner by Kevin Kouzmanoff in the 9th. A brilliant diving stop and throw to first by Freddy Sanchez on a grounder up the middle from Conor Jackson in the 7th saved a run. Just another ho-hum 4-3 in the box score, but it was a huge play. If you don't hit, you have to pitch, catch, and throw. The Giants can certainly do that.
The Freak goes today. Let's hope they score some runs and give us all a breather. This nail-biting grind is getting to me.