SAN FRANCISCO So what happened to Cincinnati Reds rightfielder Jay Bruce on that final play Sunday?
A speck of dirt in the eye? A gust of wind? Seagulldroppings?
"I was not as close to the wall as I thought I was," said Bruce, who whiffedon Angel Pagans double that hit the track, giving the Giants a 4-3, walk-offvictory. "I missed it. It's really, really embarrassing. I missed it. Itshould be an error. I pride myself in my defense. That's justembarrassing."
Bruce picked up the ball off a bounce and let his chestthump the wall, knowing the gravity of his sin. Long after the Giants hadfinished celebrating and were already off the field, Bruce was still walking,ever so slowly, back to the losing side.
"It is a tough play," Bruce said. "Butthat's not an excuse. You've got to play here and so does everyone else. My jobis to catch the ball and I didn't. It's embarrassing. It's really a tough way tolose."
Giants manager Bruce Bochys view: I was just hoping itdreach the wall. Once I saw him camped under it, I thought hed catch it. Thisis a tough right field and we caught a break.
We know it. Well take it.
In the hours prior to Sundays game, Buster Posey was makinga case for closer Santiago Casilla to make the All-Star team.
Hopefully Casilla is in a little bit of the discussion,Posey said. Hes been solid for us all year.
Posey stumped for Casilla again after the game.
BAGGARLY: Snubbed Vogelsong -- 'People don't take me seriously'
Gosh, he did a great job, Posey said. Hes probably theunsung hero of that game.
That isnt usually how you describe a closer after he blowsa save. Casilla entered after Javier Lopez gave up a leadoff single to JayBruce, then served up three hits of his own.
They werent really bad pitches, Posey said. They werentsmoked.
The Reds tied the game when .140-hitting Miguel Cairosingled with the bases loaded. But Casilla didnt break down. He threwstraight-up nasty stuff to strike out Ryan Hanigan and pinch hitter WilsonValdez, then got Zack Cozart to hit a spinning line drive to first base.
When the Giants won in the bottom of the inning, Casillabecame the winning pitcher.
What a job by Casilla to settle down and strike out thenext two hitters, Bochy said. Bases loaded, tie ball game, nobody out toget out of that and win, thats a great feeling.
Buster Posey might not be the best player in the National League. But I'm not sure that there's a better two-strike hitter.
Heres Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo on those brushbackpitches to Ryan Vogelsong:
I played with Ryan a long time," Arroyo told reporters."I called over there and talked to him. He had every right to beirritated. You can't get up near a guy's head. I hit (Buster) Posey up near hishead (earlier in the game)
"They've got every right in the world to be irritated.
"I knew it wasn't going to get out of hand. Ryan knows me well enough toknow there wasn't any malice. In the heat of battle, man, obviously guys aregoing to get frustrated and have allegiance to their club."
The Reds and Giants dont have a feud. The Reds andCardinals? Now thats a skirmish with some deep-seated hatred.
Reds manager Dusty Baker (who wore a Giants uni earlier inthe day as part of the 2002 World Series team reunion) let it be known that hethought NL manager and former Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa was being pettyby leaving off Brandon Phillips and Johnny Cueto. Both players were at thecenter of some pretty heated back-and-forth with the Cardinals over the years.
La Russa shot back by saying Baker was questioning myintegrity and that he might have named Cueto to the team if he wasnt pitchingfor the Reds next Sunday.
This one isnt over.
In case you were wondering, Melky Cabrera wasnt followingorders when he sacrificed in the seventh inning. Bochy said he wouldnt ask aguy with a major league leading 111 hits to lay one down.
He saw the third baseman back, Bochy said. He was buntingfor a hit there.
It still put Ryan Theriot in scoring position forPosey, who brought him home with the tiebreaking run.
Theriot is hurting. He already had a pretty bad rash on hisleg from sliding. It seemed he was in the dirt all day Sunday. The day offcomes at a good time for him.
Hell take a little more ribbing on the plane, though. Heswearing his plaid sportcoat again. Wimp Sanderson should figure out that itsmissing from his closet any day now.
You knew theyd be tweaked over in Flushing about PabloSandoval starting the All-Star Game in front of David Wright. Theres littledoubt that Wright is more deserving.
But theres a difference between stewing and venting,especially if youre a high-level official like Mets GM Sandy Alderson.
Alderson, who is smarter than you and will make sure you areaware of it, decided to go to his Twitter account for the first time sinceApril 12. And this time, he wasnt posting about his dog, Buddy.
Wright vs.Sandoval: A city of 8 million was outvoted by acity of 800,000.
Well have to teach Mr. Alderson a little something aboutthe definition of metropolitan area. But since his rip was just as directedat Mets fans as Giants fans, well leave him to the local fallout.
Matt Cain was reminded that he couldnt pitch in theAll-Star Game in either of his first two years on the club. Once, he pitched onthe Sunday before the game. The other time, he was hit on the elbow by a linedrive.
Tim Stauffer, said Cain, recalling the San Diego Padresbatter. Pitchers are mean.
Every single Giant on the ballot finished in the top five at their position except for Aubrey Huff, who was 14th among outfielders. I wonder if any smart alecks wrote him in at second base.