Oct. 8, 2010RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPOSTSEASONRayRatto
SANFRANCISCO -- Brian Wilson gritted his teeth, stared off into space for a moment, exhaled the way you do right before the dentist starts looking for canals to root, and then did what big-time closers are supposed to do at times like these.Own the blown.I mean, if were going to cheap rhymes here that fit well on the even the scrawniest T-shirt, why not this?Wilson, the games best closer this year by acclamation, was asked to get two saves in one game by going through the eighth and ninth innings of Game 2 of the National League Division Series against Atlanta with a 4-1 lead . . . and he didnt.In fact, he didnt in a big way, allowing the Braves to tie a game they looked like they were light years from reaching. Indeed, the Braves turned Wilsons first brush with marathoning into a 5-4 11-inning victory because of Rick Ankiels nuclear test into McCovey Cove.The only good thing for Wilson, really, is that he isnt Atlanta closer Billy Wagner, who damaged his oblique muscle in the 10th inning on a throw to first on Andres Torres sacrifice bunt, and looks doubtful for at least the rest of the series.That, though, is small consolation for the Giants guy, who was handed a difficult situation in the eighth and was ensnared in the collateral damage of Sergio Romos scuffy start.I wasnt thinking about the six-out save, he said after enduring a throwing error from Pablo Sandoval and then surrendering a screaming two-run one-out double to Alex Gonzalez. My job was to concentrate on getting the first three, and worry about the next inning when it comes up. It didnt happen, and I take full credit.It wasnt so much what he said, though, as much as it was that he said it. Closers are supposed to face the music when things go bad, and this was damned bad. Romo gave up two quick singles to Derrek Lee and Brian McCann, putting manager Bruce Bochy in that neat little crawlspace between rock and hard place, and he decided to take the road less traveled, which also happened to be the safest route.Game was on the line there, Bochy said. They had some good pinch hitters there, and once you got a couple of guys on, we got a day off tomorrow. Wilson hasnt pitched in awhile, and weve got five outs, but at that point we want to stop them.The five outs to which Bochy referred take into account Brooks Conrads sacrifice bunt, which Gonzalez made moot two pitches later by bullying a 97-mph fastball into the left-center field gap.I saw he was struggling with the heater, and its my best pitch, Wilson said. He just got a piece of it.Well, a hunk, more like. And Ankiel got even more of one in the 11th, crushing a 2-2 Ramon Ramirez fastball into the drink 10 years and four days after he blew up against the Braves in the NL Division Series and then twice in the NLCS against the Mets to essentially end his pitching career. He became a cautionary tale, then a baseball nomad, and ultimately a Brave when he and winning pitcher Kyle Farnsworth were traded to Atlanta at the deadline from Kansas City.Of course it ended that way. The entire game was played that way, with all the odd feints and bizarre twists that Game 1 did not. Freddy Sanchez and Buster Posey got MRIs, and Wagner will be examined when he returns to Atlanta. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox got run in the second inning, though he managed to manage the entire game from a post not far from where he would normally be. Both benches were emptied except for the backup catchers, and the best pitcher of the night was someone most folks have never heard of but should know very well, Craig Kimbrel.And now the series has been thrown into the kind of delicious chaos the Giants knew all too well. They were on the verge of closing the series for all intent and purpose, and they may still. But they will do it, or not, as they do everything face-first and at high speed.And the series is now the most interesting one by far, because anything is not only possible, but most of what is possible has already been seen.And Brain Wilsons six-out save that wasnt was only the start.