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SF Giants: 3 key decisions in Bruce Bochy’s path to 2000 wins

SF Giants manager Bruce Bochy reacts as he reached his 2,000th career win. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
SF Giants manager Bruce Bochy reacts as he reached his 2,000th career win. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
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SF Giants manager Bruce Bochy earned his 2000th win in  September

In 1995, a season shortened by the players’ strike that began a season earlier, Bruce Bochy stepped onto the field as a major league manager for the first time. In 2007, he took over as skipper of the San Francisco Giants, the team with which he truly made his name.

And last September, he earned his 2000th win when the Giants beat the Red Sox on Sept. 18 at Fenway Park.

Bochy retired at the end of the year, after winning 2,003 games during his career. It would be easy to say three of his biggest wins ever would be the ones in 2010, 2012, and 2014 — all resulting in World Series victories for the Giants.

Giants fans may never see a greater manager of their team.

But we thought we’d look a little beyond that to a couple more memorable games.

Still, you have to begin with a World Series win, right? So let’s start there.

Brucy Bochy’s decisions in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series

We only recently learned that Jeremy Affeldt, who pitched 2-1/3 innings in the deciding game of the 2014 World Series, couldn’t see straight.

What’s even more remarkable is just how Bochy used his staff in the game: quickly pulling the plug on Tim Hudson after he gave back a two-run lead, getting exactly as much as he could out of Affeldt, and letting Madison Bumgarner go the final five innings of the game to bring home a 3-2 victory, on the road in Kansas City.

The Royals got as close as Alex Gordon standing on third base in the ninth inning before Bumgarner got Salvador Perez to pop out to clinch the title — and the Giants’ dynasty.

“As long as he was throwing the ball the way he was, I wasn’t even thinking about the bullpen,” Bochy said after the win. “In fact, I stayed away from him because I didn’t want him to go ‘eh, I’m getting a little tired’ and have to make a change. He wasn’t coming out. We just got on his horse and rode it.”

Bruce Bochy manages Matt Cain’s perfect game

On June 13, 2012, Matt Cain threw the first perfect game in Giants history. Of course, he gets the bulk of the credit for this one.

But managing a perfect game? That’s pretty stress-inducing as well.

Cain threw 125 pitches in the game, the most in perfect game history. While he dominated — he really, really dominated — all it takes is one slip-up for things to start to unravel. Fortunately, the game wasn’t close, but NBC Sports Alex Pavlovic noted last June the role that Bochy played in that game and the other no-hitters.

"With Cain and the Giants leading the Houston Astros 10-0 on that June day seven years ago, Bochy replaced second baseman Ryan Theriot with the rangier Emmanuel Burriss. An inning later, Crawford took Sandoval’s spot in the lineup.“I was in my own spacey world out there with all that going on,” the retired right-hander said. “Usually I notice if we’ve got certain guys in or out, but for some reason, I don’t think it really registered. But you always know that that’s what Boch does. I remember talking about it later on.”"

The move paid off on the final pitch of the game, when Arias ranged back on a ball off the back of Jason Castro. Arias made the long throw and time almost dramatically slows up until the ball lands in first baseman Brandon Belt’s glove a split second before Castro touches the base.

"“I’m glad we got Theriot out of there,” [Cain later] cracked."

Bruce Bochy calls out Dodgers manager Don Mattingly

If we can’t get a win against the Dodgers in here, well, what good are we to you, anyway?

The Giants were trailing the Dodgers 5-4 in the top of the ninth inning on July 20, 2010, in Los Angeles when LA manager Don Mattingly needed to come out to give his pitcher a breather. One little brain-fart later and Bochy pounced.

Mattingly accidentally took two official trips to the  mound at the same time when he came out to buy closer Jonathan Broxton a breather after the Giants loaded the bases with one out. Mattingly took a few steps back toward the dugout, turned around one last time, and doomed his team.

Bochy reminded the umpires of Rule 8.06 — when you step off the dirt the mound visit is over — so Mattingly actually took a second visit when he turned back. Broxton, by rule, had to be removed from the game.

George Sherrill came in and gave up a double to left field to Andres Torres two pitches later, and the Giants went on to win 7-5.

"“It’s an easy mistake to make,” Bochy said (via Harry Schulman of the SF Chronicle). “I saw it. Once he went back to say a few more words, I was sitting in a pretty good position, that’s all. What’s important is that Torres came through with that double. He delivered big-time.”"

So did Bochy, again, and again, and again.

"San Francisco Giants: The rarity of a manager winning 2,000 games"

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