First things first. Jonathan Sanchez? Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Sanchez has often been a wild card, never really knowing what you’re going to get from the southpaw (especially in big games), but did he ever come through. Dirty tossed a two hit, eleven strikeout masterpiece in 7 and 1/3 innings before giving way to Sergio Romo who unfortunately tarnished Sanchez’s chance for a win by giving up a pinch hit two run homer to Eric Hinske, allowing the Braves to take a 2-1 lead going into the 9th.
The Braves however were without Billy Wagner, so Bobby Cox had to empty his bullpen seemingly to hopefully get out of the top half of the ninth with a victory. And although the Braves had the Giants down to their last strike, they couldn’t do it. A walk by Travis Ishikawa got things going and he advanced to second after a clutch basehit by Freddy Sanchez to keep the game alive. The next batter was Aubrey Huff, who had struggled mightily in the first two games. But you can only keep a solid hitter down for so long. Huff hit a hanging rope into right field which appeared to be catch-able in normal circumstances by Braves right fielder Jason Heyward seemed to be playing a few steps deeper than normal to prevent any extra base hits. It cost em.
Huff’s line drive dropped a step, maybe two infront of Heyward who came up firing to the plate, but the throw way wayward and late. The Giants had came back from death’s door to tie the game. Buster Posey stepped in, the chants of “Hey-Ward’s Bet-Tar” ringing throughout the crowd (the same Heyward who is 0-12 with 7 k’s so far…just sayin’) trying to give the Giants the lead. Posey hit a hard ground ball to second (although very much playable) that skipped through the wickets of Braves reserve infielder Brooks Conrad, his THIRD error of the day. I’m not sure one was justified, but either way…it’s hard not to feel bad for the guy, especially since his error in Game 1 also cost the Braves a chance at a win. Don’t get me wrong – I’m thrilled the Giants won, but, to be in his shoes….
As for the Braves, with a hat tip to Baggs, they were an astounding 73-3 this season when leading after 8 innings. You can now make that 73-4.
Madison Bumgarner gets the ball for the potential clinching game tonight, which has been moved up an hour to 4:37 Pacific time thanks to the Twins/Yanks closing things out….so take note.