Clubhouse comic Theriot misses parade to handle personal matter

929385.jpg

Clubhouse comic Theriot misses parade to handle personal matter

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was one of the main themes that Hunter Pence touchedon during his first spirit session of the postseason.

Sure, he wanted to play one more game with his teammates,and he didnt want to go home. But he mentioned one more thing: I want to see whatJerry is going to wear tomorrow.

Jerry is second baseman Ryan Theriot -- apparently because hecalls everyone by that name in the clubhouse.

Unfortunately for Pence and his teammates, they didnt getto see Theriot at the World Series parade. He was the only member of theplayoff roster unable to attend because he was called away to deal with apersonal matter, Giants CEO Larry Baer said.

His absence was felt -- especially by teammates who werewondering how his victory parade getup would top the wild duds he wore allseason.

Heading to the park for Game 4 of the World Series, Theriotmatched a camel hair coat with a beanie.

It was beautiful, he said.

Shortstop Brandon Crawford could only shake his head.

Hell wear sort of plaid jacket that doesnt match hisshirt, Crawford said. He pulls it off somehow, though.

The Giants pulled off their second World Series in threeyears, and it was beyond fitting that Theriot scored the winning run in the 10thinning Sunday night. He was the designated hitter for the first time in hiscareer, leading to all kinds of guffaws from teammates when they saw thelineup.

As he stepped in the box in the 10th, Theriot hadno idea that Tigers left-hander Phil Coke had struck out all seven hitters hedfaced in the World Series.

Really? Wow, Theriot said. I just know I didnt want toget to the breaking ball. When I face a guy with a legitimate strikeout pitch,I think one pitch and thats what Im going with. It was a fastball up and Iput a good swing on it. I didnt want to get to the slider.

Theriot ripped the pitch into right field. It was just hissecond hit in 18 in World Series at-bats, counting last years experience withthe St. Louis Cardinals. He advanced on Crawfords sacrifice, and after Angel Paganstruck out, a vibe washed through the Giants dugout as Marco Scutaro stepped tothe plate.

Well, Theriot is always talking about how he scored thewinning run in the College World Series, Hunter Pence said. So when he got tosecond base, that lifted our spirits. When Scutaro was up to bat, we were all, 'It has to happen.' And it did.

Scutaro, the guy who took Theriots starting second base jobin August, got Cokes slider. He shot it to right field, as hes done so manytimes since joining the team from the Colorado Rockies.

A throw never came home. And Theriot became that kid from LSU adozen years ago. (Watch this if you care to compare.) He took no chances, slidinglike he was colliding with an imaginary pair of shinguards.

I didnt know it was necessary, Theriot said. But you've seen thehighlights when guys didnt slide. And I, 100 percent, was not going to letthat happen to me.

The dugout is going to erupt any time someone scores ago-ahead run in the 10th inning of a clinching World Series game.But it might have been a little more raucous because it was Theriot who scored it, roaringin a sumo wrestlers pose after flinging himself across the plate.

He was the Giants' daily comic relief -- the guy who wore muckboots to the shower, who dressed to impress and who started throwing sunflowerseeds, bubblegum and even protein bars during the pregame rally throngs.

Youve got to be careful, those bars are hard, Theriotsaid. I did think about getting a couple hundred bucks in 1s and making itrain. That was my plan. Didnt happen, though.

While were on the subject of dollars, it might be worthmentioning that Theriot is the answer to a trivia question: He was the Giantsmost expensive free-agent acquisition last winter, at 1.75 million. Thatsexactly 212.25 million less than what the Tigers gave Prince Fielder, who went1-for-14 in the World Series with no walks and four strikeouts. And its a lotless than the dead money the Dodgers absorbed to get Adrian Gonzalez from theRed Sox.

Its hard to pin a value on what Theriot provided to theseWorld Series champions Giants while winning his second ring in two seasons. Butthose who were around him every day understand what he was worth.

What Scutaro did all season is unbelievable but I dontthink people saw what Theriot did for us, Cain said. He was such an asset forus in the clubhouse. It wasnt an easy spot for him, but when we needed him, hestepped up. And now hes the DH and ends up scoring the deciding run. Thatsjust awesome.

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO -- At some point over the next four days, Madison Bumgarner will pick up a baseball, stand a few feet across from a member of the training staff, and simply play catch. It'll be a huge step in Bumgarner's rehab, and should it go well, a boost to the psyche of a struggling team.

In the meantime, another lefty is making sure the Giants don't suffer too much without their ace, as improbable as that first seemed.

Ty Blach took a shutout into the eighth Saturday night and in true Bumgarner fashion, he added a pair of hits and an RBI. The Giants beat the Braves 6-3. They've won Blach's past three starts, and even with a 10-run outing in Cincinnati mixed in, he has a 3.71 ERA since taking the spot left open by a dirt bike accident.

"Because of what happened he's in the rotation," manager Bruce Bochy said, "And he's taking full advantage."

Blach has shown that long term, he might be a big part of this rotation. It's been years since the Giants locked a young, cost-controlled starter in, and Blach has backed up his big cameo last year. It's possible -- likely even -- that at some point the Giants will need to trade a veteran, perhaps Johnny Cueto, for young bats. Blach provides needed insurance. 

Short term, he's providing a huge boost to a team that doesn't have much going right. Blach has thrown at least seven innings in his past four starts. He has allowed just eight earned runs in four starts since the one in Cincinnati, throwing 28 2/3 innings. 

"I feel good," Blach said. "I've always been a starter, so it's been a pretty easy transition to make. I feel comfortable."

The Giants are comfortable behind him, as evidenced by a half-dozen strong defensive plays Saturday. 

"He's been consistent and he works quickly," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "He's just a great guy to play behind."

Blach even joined in at the plate. He had an RBI single in his first at-bat -- his first big league hit off Not Clayton Kershaw -- and later roped another single. Blach even showed off his wheels, busting it from first to third on Denard Span's ball to the corner before Phil Nevin held him up. 

"I worked into some good counts and I was able to get fastballs," Blach said of his night at the plate. "It's definitely a big confidence booster when your spot comes up and you're able to drive in runs."

The night was straight out of Bumgarner's playbook, and it was needed. The Giants had dropped five of six, but Blach was backed by homers from Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt. It got a little hairy late, but the bullpen held on, clinching Blach's third win of the season. He looks poised for many more, and Bochy is happy to keep running him out there.

"I'm not surprised by what he's doing," the manager said.

 

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This spot in the rotation is the one reserved for the stopper, the pitcher who takes a game by the throat when his team really needs it. 

Ty Blach took the mound Saturday for a team that had lost five of six, and just as Madison Bumgarner often has, Blach ended the skid. The young lefty was dominant into the eighth and the bats finally provided enough support. The Giants won 6-3, tying this weekend series with the Braves.

Here are five things to know from a night we were reminded that Emilio Bonifacio is in the big leagues … 

--- Blach pitched 7 2/3 innings. He has thrown at least seven innings in his last four starts, and five of seven starts overall. Jeff Samardzija (6) is the only Giants starter who has gone that deep more often. Blach is tied with Johnny Cueto for second-most seven-inning starts on staff, and Cueto has made three additional starts. 

--- Blach’s RBI single in the fourth was -- at the time -- the fourth hit of his career, and the first against a pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. The ball had an exit velocity of 101 mph. Blach tried to score from first on Denard Span’s double, but Phil Nevin held him. Still, the way he was moving, it makes you wonder if Samardzija really is Bruce Bochy’s best pitcher-pinch-running option. In the seventh, Blach picked up a second single. 

--- Blach’s only bad start has been the one he made in Cincinnati, where the Giants played like a Double-A team. If you take that one out, Blach has a 2.21 ERA since taking over Bumgarner’s rotation spot. 

--- Even though he gave up just two earned in 7 2/3, Blach’s home ERA actually went up. It’s 1.75, which ranks seventh in the National League. The sellout crowd gave Blach a standing ovation when he was pulled in the eighth. 

--- Blach had a season-high five strikeouts. When he got Nick Markakis to end the first, Blach ended a streak of 37 left-handers faced without a strikeout. He later struck out another lefty, Matt Adams. The new Braves first baseman came up as the tying run in the eighth but Derek Law got him to ground out to first. 

--- Bonus sixth “thing to know” ... on Blach of course: His first name is Tyson, not Tyler. It’s Tyson Michael Blach.