Aug. 7, 2011
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This would have been the day for the little gremlin at the back of Tim Flannerys head to get his own way. A lot. And with predictable result.
Yeah, hes the part of me thats completely irrational, the Giants third base coach said. Hes the one I know will always get me in trouble.
And Lord, did he speak up Sunday. Loud, and often. The Giants, who have avoided third base like it was smeared in plague the last three weeks, turned it into a bus station Sunday in their face-saving 3-1 victory over Philadelphia.
Yes. Third base was very crowded indeed, on a day the Giants rolled up three entire runs. This is how they do, this is who they are. They even managed what seems to be a preposterous feat to get three hits in one inning with men in scoring position and score one run.
RECAP: Lincecum, Giants avoid sweep; hold of Phils 3-1
News which only makes Flannery and the voice inside his head laugh.
You should be in here after the games when we just look at each other and wonder how we do that, he said. Its amazing.
The Giants had been in a free-fall for more than a week, having lost eight of nine before Sundays game and holding first place in the National League Weak (cq) by the skin of Flannerys head. Sunday, though, they broke out, and kept breaking out, and kept breaking out against Philadelphia starter Roy Oswalt. They just couldnt break through, and as many times as Flannery could have sent runners, his good angel shouted down his bad one.
To the great consternation, it must be added, of another full house at the Thing On King.
Oh, I heard them every time, he said of the three noteworthy opportunities he had to send runners home on coin-flip plays. I wanted to, but I knew better. These were actually no-brainers when you remember they were all lower-half of the order, and they (the Phillies) have two of the best outfield arms in baseball in center (Shane Public Enemy No. 1) and right (Hunter Pence).
Indeed, Flannery and Victorino are good friends from Hawaii, and text each other over moments like Sundays: Ill let him know if I got one by him, and hell text me if he got one of ours, Flannery said.
But I always tell people its not where the ball is hit, its how we react when the ball is hit. We didnt get great looks right away, and knowing who was out there and who we had running, it wasnt close. I know the fans wanted it, but I knew.
The first such moment came in the bizarre fourth inning, when Pablo Sandoval led off with a double, couldnt advance on Aubrey Huffs bloop single behind shortstop Jimmy Rollins and then had a shot when Nate Schierholtz lined a single to Pence.Giants Insider gallery: Small ball rules the day
The ball was kid of hit behind Pablo and he didnt get a great jump, Flannery said, and I knew pretty quickly I had to hold him. When youre struggling like we have been, you want to take chances, you want to make things happen, but if I get him thrown out there, thats a real mood-killer.
The others, with Huff and Chris Stewart, seemed less troublesome but still had that element of Oh, go ahead and give it a try to them. Huff was held on Stewarts RBI single to center and was forced out at home on Tim Lincecums failed bunt, and Stewart was held on Andres Torres single to left-center.
Stewart didnt get a great jump either, but it worked out because we got him home (on Jeff Keppingers sacrifice fly), Flannery said. Again, it was one that you wouldnt even think about, but the way weve been going, you have to be careful not to try to take some chances.
As a result, the Giants managed to convert 13 hits, four with runners in scoring position, and four walks spread throughout the lineup into three runs. It was a day made for Tim Flannerys bad voice, only Flannery decided to be no fun at all.
To the Giants benefit, as it turned out. They needed the win more than they needed the boldness, and Lincecum muzzled the Philadelphia lineup well enough to save Flannery from the kind of alcohol-driven secondthirdfourth-guess that makes days like Sunday so deliciously maddening.
Yeah, he smiled. It worked out today. Fortunately, the players understand that if Im holding them up, they know theres a good reason.
The day ended with hundreds of kids running around the bases, as is the typical Sunday tradition. None stopped at third, none needed to be held up, none were stranded. Tim Flannerys bad voice was ringing loudly in all their ears: Go! Make a break for it! Make the imaginary outfielder make a play!
The little show-offs.