The San Francisco Giants have won two games in a row by scoring in the ninth inning to take the lead and hanging in there to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, but it’s not the only time they have won two consecutive games in the last frame of the game.
They did it in 2003, winning the first of the two games exactly eleven years ago today, a season in which the Giants went on to the playoffs, and lost to the Miami Marlins in the first round. In the first of the two walk-off wins, on a Thursday night, none other than Barry Bonds hit a home run leading off the bottom of the ninth, against Mike Meyers of the Arizona Diamondbacks, to send fans home with a 3-2 victory.
The Giants were in first place, 27 games above the .500 mark, and eleven games ahead of the second-place D-backs. The most provocative element to this game was that Bonds not only hit the winning big fly, he also threw out Craig Counsell at home plate in the top of the inning, preserving the 2-2 tie, and setting up the winning theatrics for the bottom of the ninth.
Other names in the Giants starting lineup included Ray Durham, J.T. Snow, Marquis Grissom, Jose Cruz, Rich Aurilia, Pedro Feliz, and Yorvit Torrealba. Durham accounted for both of the Giants‘ runs before Bonds won it in the ninth by hitting two solo home runs himself.
The formula worked so well on Thursday night, that the Giants employed it again the following night, when facing the San Diego Padres. With the score again tied at 2, Pedro Feliz came to bat with Neifi Perez and Jose Cruz aboard via the walk, and sent a line shot into the bleachers off of Jay Witasick, to win in the ninth for the second consecutive game.
Earlier in the game, in the bottom of the third, Edgardo Alfonzo had lined a double to deep right field to plate both Ray Durham and J.T. Snow, while in the top of the ninth, Neifi Perez started a double play by stepping on second base to get the lead runner and throwing on to first to get the batter, Miguel Ojeda.
Featuring almost the identical starting lineup as the previous night, with Kirk Rueter starting and Joe Nathan securing a hold, the Giants were obviously functioning at a high degree of consistency, a trait the Giants of 2014 need to acquire.
Having said that, the Orange and Black are currently holders of the best record in the National League, two games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and have just won back-to-back games with bases-loaded doubles.
And that’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, as my dear father used to intone.