In a postseason script where Giants talisman Buster Posey hits nothing but singles, even the most delusional Giants fan could rightly predict an unhappy October by the Bay.
This is a 27-year-old All-Star catcher who embodies the Giants’ glory years of the present – the stoic leader who has built a growing legend by hitting unforgettable home runs in two separate World Series triumphs for San Francisco.
Who could forget Posey’s grand slam in the climactic triumph over the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Division Series two years ago?
Well, this October, Posey has hit nothing but singles for an entire crazy postseason – 13 in all.
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And tonight, the Giants can reach their third World Series in five years with a win over the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park.
There were more unusual occurrences Wednesday night to deposit the Giants at the doorstep of history in a stirring 6-4 win over the St.Louis Cardinals.
But Posey-as-a-singles-hitting hero says as much about the incongruous way the Giants are winning this October because, as always, they go as Posey goes.
“When you get down like we were, you need somebody to come through for you, and (Posey) did tonight,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
Yes, yes, yes. The chatter today will be how the Giants took the lead against the Cardinals – how they overcame what had been a 4-1 deficit – without hitting the ball out of the infield in the early stages of a momentous sixth inning.
People will talk about how the Giants made their move toward a 3-1 series lead over St. Louis when Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams made two straight nightmarish throws that went awry and resulted in Giants runs.
They will talk about how the Giants scored three runs on Wednesday without a hit and how they’ve scored 10 runs without a hit in the last five postseason games.
They will talk about how Cardinals manager Mike Matheny burned his bullpen too early Wednesday and had no left-handers left to face the Giants’ big right-handed hitters late.
They will talk about how the Cardinals’ pitchers issued six walks and surrendered 11 hits.
“Yeah, we still found a way to score a couple of weird ones there,” Posey said.
None were weirder than those scored in the sixth, when Adams threw too late to get a charging Juan Perez at home for the run that made it 4-4. And then Adams threw wide of second base, squandering a chance to end the inning and letting Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford off the hook for freezing down the third-base line when he should have been running.
Crawford scored when Adams’ throw went wide. It was a public humiliation for a gifted first baseman who has lifted the Cardinals with his big bat and a deft skill set for a big man.
Then Posey drove in the Giants’ sixth run with a single, severely wounding the spirit of a spirited St. Louis team.
“It’s hard to watch,” Matheny said. “(We) have a great deal of respect for the caliber of player he is. We know in big situations, he doesn’t scare and he’s going to answer the bell.”
Posey hit two more base hits on Wednesday to manufacture the margin of victory.
Along with a sacrifice fly, Posey drove in three of the Giants’ six runs. But what about the long ball? What about an extra-base hit? What about how baseball success has been framed in the shadow of the steroid era?
Buster Posey doesn’t do fads. He is a timeless star – rigid, focused, and completely uncontroversial.
He won’t give you the quote you want. Before Wednesday’s win, Madison Bumgarner said what he most admired about Posey was that he would not allow anyone to change him.
So the team marketed with Bay Area sensibilities is ruled on the field by a fierce Southern ethic of no nonsense and no excuses.
The beauty of Posey is for the beholder: His swing is pure Joe DiMaggio – a perfect center of gravity, head totally still, eyes locked on the target, a follow through as clean as his Pepsodent persona.
When asked about his relative power outage, his answer was pure Posey.
“Yeah, I’m aware of it,” he said.
“I mentioned I like homers, like Bochy… Again, you know what, if we keep winning, it will all be fine.”
Call the Bee’s Marcos Breton, (916) 321-1096.