Kruk and Kuip: 'A night of frustration'
Buster Posey said facing his former battery mate was "Fun."
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LOS ANGELES – As Brian Wilson stormed through the bullpen gate, a visage in black and blue, and got Marco Scutaro to pop up, and blew 94 mph to Brandon Belt, and outdueled former batterymate and celebratory hug partner Buster Posey, and walked off the mound after a scoreless 10th inning only to cavort back onto the field as the winning pitcher in the Dodgers’ 3-2 victory Thursday night, you had to wonder:
What was Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti thinking? Did he maybe regret those two free coaching sessions he gave to Wilson at USF at the end of July, just a week before he bolted for the archrivals?
We’ll have to save those thoughts for another day. We’ll have to save Wilson’s thoughts, too.
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“I didn’t do anything,” said Wilson, who blew off Bay Area reporters before the game and Los Angeles reporters afterward.
Sure, he didn't do a thing. Nothing except make his first career appearance against his former team – and cap off that appearance by becoming the winning pitcher.
“Well, he got us out,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He did his job. He did a good job for us and I appreciate what Brian did for us. He’s with another club, and we were trying to score off him there.”
Wilson tripled up on sliders to retire Scutaro, then his backdoor attempt on a 3-2 pitch to Belt just missed. He pitched around the walk, though, by getting Posey to reach while hitting a fly out to right field. Then Wilson jumped off the mound to field Hunter Pence’s nubber, and fired a falling-away throw to first base to end the inning.
[RELATED: Brian Wilson blows off Bay Area reporters]
Scutaro and Pence only experienced Wilson as an injured teammate when he deigned to show up for the postseason last October, knowing the cameras would be trained on him. Belt played with him for four months in 2011 before the right-hander’s elbow buckled on him one August night in Atlanta.
It was the matchup with Posey that held the most intrigue. These were the two guys who will be immortalized in that embrace after Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz to clinch the Giants’ first World Series in five-plus decades of major league baseball in San Francisco.
What did Posey think of facing Wilson?
“Well, it was fun,” the Giants’ catcher and reigning NL MVP said. “You look forward to challenges against good pitchers and he’s one of them.”
Posey said it felt like a normal at-bat once it started. He swung through a 1-0 cutter/slider, took a high fastball, fouled off another slider middle in, then Wilson threw the same pitch on the outer half.
Posey said the stuff was similar to what he remembered catching from Wilson before he had Tommy John surgery to rebuild his right elbow in April of last year.
“It’s a lot different hitting, but just looking at the velocity of the cutter and the fastball, it’s pretty close to where he was,” Posey said. “He didn’t give in. I got in a couple good hitter’s counts and he still kept the ball down and away.”
“Pretty close,” the manager said. “He hit 94. He had his sinker, his slider. It was pretty close to what he was throwing for us.”
Until Gregor Blanco singled in the ninth inning to send the game to the 10th, the Giants had little visible interaction with Wilson. There were many more hugs, hellos and handshakes from players and coaches in Toronto back in April for outfielder Melky Cabrera, who left on extremely sour terms after he was suspended 50 games for flunking a drug test last year.
Relievers are on a different pregame schedule than hitters, in fairness. And the Dodgers and Giants typically hold fraternization to a minimum. This is a rivalry, after all.
Thursday night, Wilson was on the winning, blue-tinged side of it.