Humble Posey reaches historic milestone in Giants' 6-0 win

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Humble Posey reaches historic milestone in Giants' 6-0 win

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SAN FRANCISCO Bruce Bochy set a career-high in RBIs with22 on Sept. 8, 1986. Six months later, Buster Posey was born. Twenty-five yearslater, Posey became just the third Giants catcher since 1900 to drive in 100runs in a single season.I didnt know that; thats pretty cool, Posey said whentold he joined Walker Cooper, who drove in 122 in 1947, and Dick Dietz, whoracked up 107 RBIs in 1970. Posey also became the first Giant since Barry Bondsin 2004 to reach triple digits.Bochy, a man who often put on the tools of ignorance, knowshow hard it is to accomplish that feat as a catcher.Its quite a milestone, especially for a catcher, Bochysaid. Those guys have to take a lot of time off. They get banged up prettygood back there.Posey took "banged up" to another level when his season was cut short on May25, 2011. But that collision at home plate, replayed so many times on everysports television program across the country, is now a distant memory.Despite the long odds for Posey to be as productive as he has been for the 2012Giants, Bochy is not surprised that his catcher joined the century club. Heexpected it, in fact.I did, to be honest. Thats how good I think he is. Itsbeen really pretty incredible how hes bounced back from that injury. We reallydidnt know how much we could play him and hes a special talent. Im notsurprised at what hes done.As expected, the hyper-humble Posey deflected most of thecredit for his milestone. I think an accomplishment like that cant be done withoutyour teammates, without guys getting on base, Posey said. The speed of guyson our team getting into scoring position, moving runners, its something thatI think is only accomplished when you have help from your teammates.The three hitters in front of Posey, Angel Pagan, MarcoScutaro and Pablo Sandoval, combined to go 4-for-12 Wednesday in the Giants6-0 win over the Diamondbacks. Even Matt Cain, who technically bats in front of Posey at No.9, collected two hits and scored the Giants first run.
RECAP: Giants 6, D'backs 0
You get lucky every once in a while, Cain explained.Luck was hardly a factor in Cains seven shutout innings, however. Despitethree inning-opening errors behind him, the longest tenured Giant needed just91 pitches to set a new career-high in strikeouts (he racked up six for 191 onthe season) and add to his career-best win total (he now owns 16).Posey, always so reserved when talking about himself, gushed (by comparison)about Cain.It seemed like he was really effortless tonight, Poseysaid. The ball was coming out good. He moved the ball around to both sides ofthe plate. He did a nice job.Cain said the errors, two by Brandon Crawford and one byBrandon Belt, motivated him more on the mound.Thats what you want to do as a pitcher when funky playshappen behind you if guys make errors, which is going to happen, Cain said. Itsthe same thing as when we make bad pitches -- were looking for guys to pick usup. I think we just have to put our head down and worry about getting guys out,not worry about letting an error affect anything.Bochy elaborated on how his unflappable starter stays sofocused on the mound.He doesnt get distracted.; if anything, he tries to pickthem up, Bochy said. He knows theyre trying out there. He never makesexcuses and thats what you hope a pitcher does when you make a few errors likewe did tonight.While Cain deserves plenty of praise for his outing and season-longperformance, the night was all about Posey. He received a standing ovation fromthe fans after his milestone RBI and got the ball back, even if he doesnt knowwhere to put it yet. While Posey may have a hard time patting himself on theback, Cain had no issue talking about how important his battery-mate is.I think his numbers show that. But I think what fans dontget to see is what he does in the clubhouse, and the way he prepares for games,the way he talks to guys. Hes really been an unspoken leader and hes beenthat way since day one. I think that shows a lot of his character.

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

SAN FRANCISCO — With the winning run on second and a bat in his hands, Cory Gearrin allowed himself to dream. He was a second baseman at Mercer University years ago and he entered the night with a 1.000 batting average in the big leagues. Why couldn’t this be his night on the mound and at the plate?

Gearrin stopped on the way to the plate and told Buster Posey that he was going to walk it off. He dug in against right-hander Chad Qualls and waited for the first sinker. He swung over the top of it, but he felt it was a quality hack. And then he missed the next sinker, and then the next. 

“I felt good going into that at-bat,” Gearrin said. “It was fun getting that opportunity. I’ve never faced a sinker like that. I felt like I missed it … by a lot.”

Gearrin can take solace in two facts. First, using his own sinker, he pitched three shutout innings, more than earning his keep, and he was a well-deserved winning pitcher in a 4-3 win over the Rockies that became official one minute after midnight.

Second, perhaps he gave the next hitter, Denard Span, a better view of an opposing pitcher’s repertoire. 

“Yeah ... he gave me a lot of information during that at-bat,” Span said as he laughed. 

Okay, so maybe Gearrin’s contributions were limited to the mound, but oh what a job he did against one of the best lineups in the National League. Span didn’t glean anything from Gearrin’s brief battle, but he didn’t need to. He spat on a changeup and then ripped a sinker into right, allowing Gorkys Hernandez to race home for a 14th-inning victory. 

Span, who is open about his distrust of birds, had spent nearly two hours standing under a circling flock of seagulls. Between pitches, he often dropped his hands onto his knees, looking more eager than anyone for the night to end. 

“Those birds were dropping stuff all around me,” he said. “I was like, you know what man, I don’t got time for this.”

The single gave the Giants back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. It validated so much good work, from the five relievers who got the ball to Gearrin, to the Brandons who turned a snazzy double play in the 11th, to Buster Posey, who twice threw out runners at second in extra innings. Gearrin shouted out the defense in his post game media session. 

“It’s not news to us that we’ve got gold glovers all over the field,” he said. 

The Giants trailed by a pair after Matt Cain hung a curveball to Mark Reynolds, but they chipped away. The Rockies were the jumpier team in extra innings, but every rally was cut down by stellar defense and quality pitches. Gearrin threw 34 of them. 

The veteran right-hander had never before recorded more than six outs in a big league game. He got nine outs Tuesday, giving Bochy one extension after another as he battled to make it through a game shorthanded. With Conor Gillaspie headed to the DL, the Giants had just three position players on the bench. That meant Ty Blach was used as a pinch-runner. Jeff Samardzija pinch-hit in the 11th. Bochy thought of using Matt Moore in the 14th when the pitcher’s spot came up. Hunter Strickland was warming up to pitch the 15th, but …

“I could have hit Moore — I probably should have,” Bochy said, smiling. “But Cory is a pretty good athlete and had a pretty good average going into that at-bat. The numbers swayed me.”

Gearrin got his first career at-bat last season and singled. He has not even taken batting practice since that day, but he was fired up when given the opportunity. He was still so fired up after the Giants chased Span into the outfield that he didn’t mind the fact that his shiny 1.000 batting average has been cut in half. 

“I got to use that line for a year,” he said. “But I’ll gladly sacrifice the 1.000 average for a walk-off win.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

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SAN FRANCISCO — This, at long last, is a winning streak. A modest one, but still. 

Denard Span hit a walk-off single to right in the bottom of the 14th inning, giving the Giants a 4-3 win that became official one minute after midnight. The Giants have back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. 

The Giants led early, fell behind on a three-run dinger, and then chipped away until the game went to extras. Buster Posey twice gunned runners down at second to help keep the score tied and the bullpen held tough, with Cory Gearrin throwing three scoreless innings. 

Gearrin had a chance to win it for himself in the 14th, but he struck out with Gorkys Hernandez on second. Span promptly singled. If you’re just waking up for work, here are five things to know from a night when the seagulls outnumbered the humans … 

--- Matt Cain needs an assist on the first run of the night. With Gorkys Hernandez on first, he got a sacrifice bunt down on a two-strike curveball that was headed for the dirt. Hernandez went to second and promptly scored on Denard Span’s single to right. The curveball wasn’t so kind in the sixth. With a runner on, the Giants intentionally walked lifelong nemesis Nolan Arenado to get to Mark Reynolds. Cain hung a curve and Reynolds crushed it to left for a three-run homer. 

--- The Giants got a run back in the sixth when Brandon Crawford’s deep fly allowed Buster Posey to trot in from third. Crawford leads the majors with nine sacrifice flies. He also turned a ridiculous double play that can’t adequately be described, except to say that he should expand his trophy case. 

--- Kelby Tomlinson came off the bench to tie it in the bottom of the eighth. His single to right brought Brandon Belt in from third. Tomlinson is 9 for 27 as a pinch-hitter this season. That’ll keep you on the chartered jets. 

--- Sam Dyson, with a fastball that reached 97 and an infield defense that was just as firm, pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings in extras. What a find. 

--- With the go-ahead run on first and no outs in the 13th, Nolan Arenado put down a sacrifice bunt. That's one of the five best moments of the Giants' season.