Ray Durham is an awful bunter. That’s a good thing for the Giants.
Durham failed to put down a sacrifice bunt with 2 men on and nobody out in the bottom of the 9th with the Giants down two runs. With 2 strikes, he swung away instead and hit a walk-off, 3 run home run to give the San Francisco Giants the 8-7 dramatic victory over their cross-bay rival Oakland Athletics.
"It was huge for me," Durham said. "They walked Barry twice. My job is to protect him, to come through like I did…It was an overwhelming feeling."
It was also the second baseman’s first career walk-off home run, and redeemed him after a rough 0 for 4 the rest of the day.
With the Giants down two, Mark Sweeney led the 9th inning off with a single. Oakland closer Huston Street then pitched around Bonds and walked him to set up the dramatic moment. "I was trying to go after Barry, but I was just missing. ... I just didn't do what I'd been doing, which is going after people,” Street said after the game.
The game was the 2nd in a row where a star closer blew a save. On Friday night, it was San Francisco’s Armando Benitez giving up 2 runs in the 9th to take the loss.
The late rally overshadowed one of Barry Bonds’ best performances of the year. Bonds, who stole a base and scored the would-be winning run on Friday night, hit a 2 run homer (Number 719 for those counting) in the first and an RBI double, going 2 for 2 with 3 walks, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. It also took the pressure off of Jamey Wright, who was roughed up for 7 runs, 6 earned, in 5.1 innings.
Bonds wasn’t even in the starting lineup at first, after his strenuous Friday night, but Bonds ‘demanded’ to play and Manager Felipe Alou acquiesced.
Wright’s problems were forgotten after a very solid bullpen group appearance. Jonathan Sanchez came in with 2 runners on base and promptly gave up a single, which scored both runners (credited to Wright) and was the first hit Sanchez had given up in his brief major league career so far. That would be the last hit of the game for Oakland, as Kevin Correia, Steve Kline and Tim Worrell combined with Sanchez for 3.2 innings of relief.
SFDugout Player Of The Game: Frankly, it should be Bonds, who had a strong game overall. But hey, Ray Durham hit the walk-off, which is the most important single moment of the game. So Ray-Ray, you’re the Player of the Game!
Notes: The disabled list might get a little more crowded for the Giants. Outfielder Moises Alou missed his 6th straight game, and may be placed on the DL by Tuesday (retroactively, of course) if he’s not back. Meanwhile, Benitez complained of tenderness in his right elbow after blowing his 4th save of the year…Oakland starter Danny Haren became the 425th pitcher to give up a home run to Bonds.
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