Back when I first started drafting a recap for this game, here’s how it started:
Ryan Vogelsong went a solid six innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk, and striking out eight, including a fantastic mow-down of the Mets 3-4-5 after a leadoff double to Daniel Murphy. With the game tied at 1-1 in the seventh, Manny Burriss (somehow!) on second, and Mets sinkerballer Mike Pelfrey beginning to reach the upper bounds of his pitch count, Vogelsong was removed from the game for Brandon Belt. Belt fought off a couple of tough pitches and came through with a single to score Burriss. A bullpen conglomeration of Daniel Otero, Javier Lopez, and an extremely well-rested Santiago Casilla closed out the game, giving the Giants a hard-fought 2-1 win against a resurgent Mets squad.
At least, that’s how things went in my own private universe.
I thought that the joke there would be that the Giants didn’t pinch hit for Vogelsong, and he gave up two runs in the seventh, and the Giants quietly expired in a 3-1 loss. That…that wasn’t what happened. As it turned out, Brandon Belt did pinch hit in a key situation and get a clutch “hit.” It’s a hit in the box score, anyway. Unfortunately, to get Belt that at-bat, Bochy had to sacrifice Brett Pill to get a rightie into the game, which meant that Aubrey Huff played second base in the bottom of the ninth.
Because occasionally baseball does exactly what you expect baseball to do, Aubrey failed to cover second – like, at all – on a double-play ball to short, which resulted in the bases being loaded with one out. The next batter hit another potential DP grounder to Belt at first, but runner on third Scott Hairston (figure 1) clipped Buster Posey sliding into the plate, spoiling his throw back to first and giving the Mets the win. It was essentially a clean, legal play, good ol’ hard-nosed baseball, and I can’t really fault Hairston (figure 2) for it. He can sleep peacefully at home (figure 3) tonight.
Really this was just a bizarre game. There were good points. Buster Posey is a wizard from another planet; with runners on first and second and nobody out, he picked off one and caught the other stealing, giving Dan Otero the easiest relief appearance ever. Buster also went 2 for 4 with two loud outs, and didn’t get injured on Hairston’s slide. (Figure 4) Manny Burriss got a clutch RBI single, which is about his offensive upside. Brandon Belt hit a “double”!
In the end, this game was really too bizarre to be angry about. “That’s how baseball go,” says Ron Washington. Fair enough; but if Aubrey Huff starts tomorrow, then we can maybe get angry. He was absolutely dreadful tonight at the plate and in the field (he made a key error at first before his adventures in the middle infield), and it’s sad to watch his career come staggering and wheezing to an end before our eyes. Thanks for 2010, Aubrey. You can rest now.