There are a few plays that a baseball fan sees so seldom that when they occur they are like little gems that any fan worth his peanut shells enjoys savoring over and over. The Giants, who defeated the San Diego Padres 4-3 in 11 innings yesterday at Petco Park, pulled off two of these beauties in one inning.
In the top of the final inning, the Giants scored what proved to be the winning run on a brilliantly executed suicide squeeze bunt by Catcher Chris Stewart that scored Emmanuel Burris.
Then in the bottom of that frame, with Brian “Fear the Beard” Wilson in relief playing his usual “let’s make this win as dramatic as we can”,. Stewart provided the first half of a sparkling 2-5-4 double play that pulled the peanuts out of the fire, as it were.
The suicide score was a thing of drama and beauty. Burris had set things up when, after singling to get aboard, he stole second and then ended up at third when the Padres throw to second scampered into center. Padres Manager, former Giants pitching ace Bud Black, suspected the the Giants’ skipper, Bruce Bochy, might call for the squeeze, so he thwarted it with a pitch-out. Burris stayed solidly at third. Black then ordered reliefer Chad Qualls to pitch to Stewart. On the pitch, Burris took off for home and Stewart laid down a perfect bunt on the third-base side for the easy score.
Kyle Phillips, the Padres’ catcher, tried to move two runners along in the bottom of the 11th, only to fall victim to brilliant heads-up defense by the G-men. Stewart pounced on the bunt, which traveled down the third-base line and not quite far enough to be effective, and fired the ball to Pablo Sandoval, who made a quickl-thinking throw to first and got Phillips for the back end of the double play. Burris covered first on the play.
The Giants broke form to win this one, stealing a team-record-tying six bases in the game.
The win kept the Giants up by 3-1/2 in the NL West over the Diamondbacks as the rest of the division fades from view. The orange and black have won seven of their last nine.