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Matt Duffy heroics bring the San Francisco Giants two games out of first place, with victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks

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Sep 17, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman

Buster Posey

reacts in the dugout prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This was not one of those games where you felt from the beginning, “we’ve got this”. The Arizona Diamondbacks had runners on all over the place, the San Francisco Giants couldn’t get the clutch hit. The drama and the stakes were high. On a day when the Giants saw the Dodgers score before the 1st inning in their favor, they knew they had to win this game to capitalize on another Coors Field special at the hands of the Rockies. The photo above of Buster Posey describes this game perfectly.

The Giants were hitting the ball hard early, which looked to be promising. After Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval both hit balls hard to Cody Ross in Right Field, Andrew Susac drew a walk with 2 outs to keep the inning going. Brandon Crawford Doubled to center and scored Susac for the Giants first run of the game.

The D’backs would come back an answer with a run in the bottom of the second. Bumgarner walked Cody Ross after he hit a towering shot that ended up being foul. Tuffy Gosewisch singled to right which got Ross to 3rd and the rookie pitcher Andrew Chafin singled in the run with 2 outs. Bumgarner got into trouble again in the 3rd when he walked Aaron Hill to put runners on 1st and 2nd and Cody Ross up to bat. Ross struck out to end the inning.

Another lead off hit got things started in the 5th as Brandon Crawford continued his hot streak. In a heads up baserunning effort, Crawford stole second after Gosewisch blocked a ball in front of the plate and couldn’t locate it. Juan Perez then took a 4 pitch walk.

To bunt Madison ‘Big Country’ Bumgarner or not to bunt? Of course you let him swing away with 2 on and no outs. At least for the first 2 pitches. And then you have him show bunt. Just scare them a little right? Bumgarner got the bunt down and Blanco came up with a perfect safety squeeze to score Crawford and give the Giants a 2-1 lead. More small ball, please.

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Still looking for the shutdown inning, Bumgarner came out for the 5th and retired the 1st batter of the inning before giving up a triple to A.J. Pollock. Mark Trumbo struck out on a ball in the dirt and threw to first for the out, meanwhile Pollock broke for the plate despite Susac looking him back and was safe on the wide throw. Bumgarner was mad about this. Real mad. A ground out to 3rd ended the inning but not before weird things happened and tied the game 2-2.

It took 6 innings and 101 pitches but Bumgarner finally got the shutdown inning and retired the D’backs in order. This just shows you what a great pitcher he is. Great pitchers limit the damage and get batters out even without their best stuff. This would end up being the only inning in which the Giants would retire the Dbacks in order.

Machi came on to pitch the 7th. He gave up a hit and a walk with one out. Machi got Pollock to fly out for the 2nd out and then Trumbo to strike out to end the inning. Romo got 2 quick outs in the 8th but gave up a slow rolling infield hit to Gosewisch. He got Nick Ahmed to strike out to end the inning. Nothing would come easy in this game.

Extra innings are not a great idea this time of year so it was really do or die time in the 9th. Pablo walked and Crawford got another hit to put runners on 1st and 2nd for the return of Brandon Belt and his first game since August 6th. He worked the count full and drew a walk in a HUGE moment in this game. Very encouraging at bat from a guy who we all hope will be key to any postseason run the Giants try to make. 

The Giants turned to rookie, Matt Duffy, who came through in the best possible moment after a wicked bat toss into the stands and working the count full. He drove in 2 runs to finally break the 2-2 tie. Thank you Matt Duffy. Thank you, so much. Santiago Casilla came in for the save and struck out 2 batters for save number 17 on the year.

Keep it rolling, guys. National League West or bust, I say.

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