MLB: Torres delivers, survives celebrations for Giants
By Andrew Baggarly
San Jose Mercury News
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants' 6-5, 10-inning, come-from-behind victory arrived with all the euphoric accoutrements Sunday afternoon: grown men rushing the field, surrounding the hero, slapping his helmet and bouncing around him like soda bubbles.
But when Buster Posey tried to join the celebration, wizened veteran Aubrey Huff interceded. Faster than you can say "Kendry Morales," Huff dropped his forearm like a railroad crossing gate and separated the golden boy from the scrum.
The Giants sustained a few injuries in the making of their celebration, but none during it. Torres, the hero in the middle, took some wear but was no worse for it.
"They punched me. They hit me. I was trying to cover up," said Torres, whose line single to right field scored Juan Uribe to win it. "It was a lot of fun."
Torres also scored the equalizer in the ninth as the Giants rallied from a two-run deficit. Uribe, Eli Whiteside and Torres hit consecutive two-out singles in the 10th as the Giants frolicked away with a three-game sweep over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"Actually, you do have to watch it," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, fully aware of Saturday's freaky finish in Anaheim, when the Angels' Morales broke his leg celebrating a walk-off grand slam.
"You get that euphoric feeling and guys go wild."
The feeling extended to the stands. The sellout crowd buzzed with energy while delighting in Posey's second consecutive three-hit game. The prized prospect hit two doubles and a single in his first three trips while receiving more applause breaks than a State of the Union address.
Posey is 6 for 9 in two games. And although he doesn't approve when teammates call him nicknames with religious overtones, it's clear his promotion is having a halo effect on the club.
The Giants have scored 18 runs and pounded 31 hits in 19 Posey-ized innings.
"You hear 40,000 fans going nuts for him, and then you see him keep rolling with it," Giants closer Brian Wilson said. "It gets the energy going in the dugout, that's for sure."
Bochy said he wouldn't shy away from starting Posey Monday against the Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez, who might be the best pitcher in baseball at the moment.
"Oh yeah," Bochy said. "He'll be in there."
So will Torres. The 32-year-old leadoff man didn't have a rocket trip through the minor leagues or a top-prospect pedigree, but he continues to maximize this everyday opportunity.
With the Giants down to their final two outs in the ninth against Arizona closer Chad Qualls, Torres followed Travis Ishikawa's pinch double with a line single that set up the tying rally.
Torres' speed continued to form a perfect combination with Freddy Sanchez's bat control in the No. 2 spot. The duo executed a perfect hit-and-run, with Sanchez's single scoring Ishikawa and moving Torres to third.
Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds made a diving stop on Pablo Sandoval's grounder that nearly resulted in a game-ending double play, but Sandoval beat the wide relay, and Torres scored to tie it.
"Believe me," said Bochy. "That would've crushed us."
The Giants sustained two casualties. Shortstop Ryan Rohlinger almost certainly will go on the disabled list after pulling his left hamstring while getting thrown out at the plate in the seventh inning. And left-hander Jeremy Affeldt could join him after acknowledging his strained hamstring "didn't hold up as well as I would've liked."
Affeldt, pitching for the first time in a week, threw four consecutive balls to Adam LaRoche with the bases loaded to force in the tiebreaking run in the eighth. Affeldt's trouble began when Kelly Johnson rolled an infield single, and Uribe, who had just entered cold in place of Rohlinger, sailed an off-balance throw into the Diamondbacks' dugout.
"I don't exactly want to tank it so we can come back for a big win," said Affeldt, smirking. "But you want to feel you're always capable of coming back. A few days ago, we couldn't make anything happen."
Then Posey arrived with the buzz. And Torres had the last sting.