The San Francisco Giants knew that they needed more than one run to win most nights. They knew that a Tim Lincecum like performance every night is not going to happen. The San Francisco Giants lineup did not have a repeat weak performance on Friday night in playoff game two. This was great news for Matt Cain and Giants fans. There was one problem. That problem was the Braves would not stay down. However, they did get some help from poor decision making by Bruce Bochy. The best of five series is now tied at one heading to Atlanta.
The team wasted little time putting a crooked number on the board. Freddie Sanchez would single and Buster Posey would walk to put two men on with two out. Pat Burrell would then take a Tommy Hanson pitch deep into the night for a three run bomb. Burrell looked great with two hits. However, Bruce Bochy made a huge mistake. He would remove Burrell for a pinch runner in only the sixth inning. His logic was sound, but way too early with only a four run lead. This early support took the pressure right off Cain. Cain was so dialed in and relaxed he managed to single in a run himself in the next inning by driving in Cody Ross.
The four nothing lead was all Cain would need. The supported and relaxed Cain would just pitch freely. One result was Cain would dance out of runners on base all night in his 6.2 innings of work. He would strike out six to offset his seven hits and two walks that he gave up. The only blemish was an RBI single by Brian McCann.
Cain would turn the game over to the dominant bullpen. For once they would disappoint. Javier Lopez got his job done getting out of the seventh. Sergio Romo faltered in the eighth allowing two singles. No need to fear Brian Wilson showed why he is the most underrated/ dominant closer in the game. Right? Sorry, but Wilson would take an inning to get dialed in. Wilson would falter after an error and the Braves would tie the game at four with Alex Gonzalez supplying the game tying two run double. Wilson would redeem himself by striking out four of his last five batters to send the game into extra innings. However, the damage was done.
This is where Bruce Bochy’s taking of Burrell out became huge. Could Burrell have provided the big hit to put this series at 2-0? I do not know, but Scheirholtz defense is not worth losing Burrrell’s bat until the game is real close to being decided. The Giants despite not having Burrell were real close to winning this game off Kyle Farnsworth in the bottom of the tenth. After taking over for Billy Wagner, kyle Farnsworth would load the bases with one out. Buster Posey was up and hit a smash to thirdbaseman Troy Glaus. Glaus would calmly turn the inning ending double play. A tough break for the young Posey.
The eleventh saw Ramon Ramirez give up the winning bomb to Rick Ankiel. Ankiel’s bomb for the 5-4 win gave the Braves life in this series. The Braves found a way to overcome a four run lead by taking advantage of Bochy’s defensive managing. Why would Burrell ever come out of a game until the eighth inning? Especially with a team that struggles to score runs. Also why a six out save? Play the matchups and maybe give Wilson a four or five out save. Bochy went to the well too often and finally came up dry.
The are still looking good in this series with Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Lincecum/ Madison Bumgarner, and Matt Cain challenging the Braves. The Braves are a solid team, but the Giants pitching staff is a buzz saw. If this pitching holds up, then never mind the Braves, the Phillies will have their hands full as well. However, game three is on the road. This is a new test for another first time in the postseason Giants ace. The Giants have their hottest pitcher in Jonathan Sanchez going. My money is on this series being 2-1 Giants.