Not long after the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the division, the San Francisco Giants won 3-2 in extra innings for the second straight game. Sunday’s game featured Angel Pagan driving in Ehire Adrianza in the 11th, and on Monday night Pagan scored on Brandon Belt’s line drive to left over everyone. The last time I witnessed a walk-off in person it came on a bases loaded walk and the celebration was pretty muted. After Belt’s 10th inning single, they let loose a little more.
Belt also drove in Pagan to tie the game in the eighth with a double to right. With the Giants playing relatively well since Pagan returned (they’re 6-5 since he came off the DL — remember, I said “relatively”), and Buster Posey going back behind the plate for the first time since injuring his finger and hitting his first home run since July 20, Bruce Bochy sounded pretty happy with his team.
“We played well. Buster had a nice game, threw out some good ABs, finger felt fine,” Bochy said. “Overall, we did a real nice job defensively. It was a well-played game.”
Bochy mentioned how well they played, despite a mental lapse of sorts that looked pretty bad in the second inning — Buster Posey threw out Yorvit Torrealba at first on a slow roller and Tim Lincecum stood and watched instead of covering home as Nolan Arenado came around from second and scored. The Rockies’ second run also came in an inning that included a moment where the Giants looked rather incompetent: a fly ball to shallow right that fell in between Belt, Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence.
But hey, Lincecum lasted eight innings despite not having top-quality stuff and Pablo Sandoval played outstanding defense throughout to go with two hits. Sandoval’s improved play of late is a bright spot, and these days the Giants can either focus on the positives and continue working to get better … or let the season fizzle out like warm soda. Also, the Rockies are only a half-game ahead of the last place Giants.
“I don’t think anybody ever wants to finish last. Shoot, we might be out of it in the division, but I don’t see why we can’t make a run and maybe end this thing second. Maybe just have some goals in mind, help us finish the season strong,” Belt said.
“I believe there’s momentum we can gain that we can carry into next year. Especially since we got all our guys back and almost everybody’s healthy, I don’t see why we can’t go on a run right here and end the season on a good note and take it into next season.”
Belt said he hasn’t looked at the standings in a while, which makes sense since the Giants haven’t been within a light year of the Dodgers in weeks. He’s in the midst of building momentum individually after the late-June/early-August tweaks he made to his swing, changes he’s confident he can roll into next year.
“I feel like mentally I gained that experience to face big league pitching. Then when I made those adjustments, the physical part caught up with that. And it’s something that’s easy to maintain. I really do believe it’s something I can hold onto for a while. Even more than that, it lets me know I can make adjustments during the season, and it’s not a big deal. And I’m not afraid to do that now.”
— Lincecum somehow got out of the first inning after throwing only seven of his 16 pitches for strikes and allowing loud contact to all four Rockies he faced. It was the kind of inning that we’ve seen turn into a three-spot so many times before, and when I asked him about battling on the mound he gave credit to his teammates.
“I was getting some help from some big plays,” Lincecum said. “Pablo making great plays over there and getting that timely ground ball when I needed it.”
— Belt on Lincecum: “He pitched his butt off tonight. I think he did a great job. There were times when he struggled just a little bit to get that first pitch strike, but every single at-bat he battled back. Even with people on base he battled his butt off and it paid off for him in the end.”
— Posey really one-armed that home run over the left field wall, didn’t he? This GIF would please Walt Hriniak:
It was Posey’s second home run since July 1, and both have come at AT&T Park.
— Belt on the Dodgers: “They kind of did the exact opposite of what we did. We kind of went one way, and they just took off. “
— Remember when Gregor Blanco’s son got in the middle of a postgame media scrum when everyone was crowded around Barry Zito? It happened again tonight on two occasions.
The first time occurred near the end of Lincecum’s postgame interview.
“Kids just gravitate to my feet, I guess. I don’t know. I swear he’s not mine,” said Lincecum, who then gave his thoughts on the upcoming game between the 49ers and Seahawks (hint: he probably considers himself a member of that “12th man” thing they do up north).
Then it was Belt’s turn a few minutes later.
“He likes to hide in my locker sometimes,” Belt said.
“Hi,” responded Blanco’s son, who turned three a couple weeks ago.
“I love having my son at the park before the games. He came on the field with me before batting practice. He likes to throw the ball – and he lifts his front leg already like he’s seen all our pitchers do,” Blanco wrote in his blog back in July.