Kruk and Kuip: 'That's a feel-good victory'
SAN FRANCISCO -- Say what you want about the 2013 Giants, who could finish the season in the NL West cellar, but don't call them quitters.
Marco Scutaro embodied the team's resiliency by forcing his way into the lineup on a scheduled off day and delivering during the game-winning, eighth-inning rally in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Rockies.
[RECAP: Giants 4, Rockies 3]
The Giants entered the game having squandered a 6-0 lead in what manager Bruce Bochy called "one of our worst games" on Tuesday. They entered the eighth inning having squandered a golden opportunity to tie things up in the seventh after Josh Outman walked the bases loaded. But far from cede defeat, the Giants stormed back before a raucous AT&T crowd seemingly indifferent to the standings in an inning that was reminiscent of the meaningful September baseball of years past.
Between the fourth- and fifth-place teams in the NL West, the eighth inning felt like playoff baseball.
"It did," Bochy said. "We're trying to do all we can to win a game. … It worked out today."
Bochy sent three consecutive pinch hitters to the plate in the inning, displaying active coaching that other last-place managers might not have employed.
It worked out primarily because the Giants finally came through with hits when they needed them. They entered the eighth inning 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. But in the eighth, Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt lashed opposite-field singles with ducks on the pond, knocking in the tying and winning runs.
"We scored at the right time," Belt said after collecting the game-winning RBI on his only hit of a 1-for-3 day with two walks. "Marco made it easy on me."
"As long as you hit 'em at the right time," Crawford said, "that's what we did last year."
Last year, the Giants won the World Series. This year, they won't reach the postseason, but there's no quit despite the disappointment.
"We're a competitive bunch," Crawford said. "We want to win no matter what the standings say."
It's a shame that the Giants weren't able to get their clutch hits earlier in the game, as starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit did not factor into the decision.
"I thought he was good again," Bochy said. "It wasn't like he was hit hard.
"It's hard to be as sharp as he was last outing."
Last outing, of course, Petit came within an out of authoring baseball's 24th perfect game. This time, he settled for coming within an out of a quality start, but the 28-year old's goals going forward won't change.
"My goal is to finish as strong as possible," Petit said through a translator. "It's going to be up to the team if I have a role here (in 2014), but I want to finish as strong as possible and make that happen."
Petit, who is unsure if he will return to Venezuela to pitch in the winter league as he has done every year of his major league career, already received a vote of confidence from the manager prior to his outing against the Rockies.
[RELATED: With 2014 role secure, Petit sets sights on rotation]
"I don't know what he'll do (Wednesday), but he's already made enough noise," Bochy said before the game. "This guy can help us next year."
And according to Belt, he already is.
"I really believe we can take that confidence (from finishing strong) into the offseason," he said.
Wednesday's eighth inning went a long way toward lifting the team morale and building that confidence.
"It was frustrating, the way it was going" Bochy acknowledged. "If we had lost this one, this would have been a hard one to take with all the chances we had.
"I think we left a battalion on base today."
Indeed, Pablo Sandoval and Hector Sanchez each left eight runners on base, and the team stranded 13.
They are numbers you might expect from a last place team that is tanking while playing "meaningless" September baseball, but not from a last place team that continues to fight to the final out in search of posterity wins.