Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 9, 2010

MLB: The other Mets’ catcher beats Giants with homer

By Andrew Baggarly
San Jose Mercury News

NEW YORK — Remember that scene in "Field of Dreams" when Kevin Costner's character recites a passage from a work by Terrence Mann?

"There comes a time when all the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place and the universe opens itself up for a few seconds to show you what's possible."

Well, Giants catcher Bengie Molina rejected the New York Mets' one-year offer last winter. So the Mets signed Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco to split time behind the plate.

And the tumblers keep on tumbling.

A day after Barajas hit a walk-off home run to beat the Giants, Blanco duplicated the feat. His leadoff shot in the 11th inning against Guillermo Mota gave the Mets a 5-4 victory on a breezy Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

Molina was a spectator for the final eight innings. The Giants removed him as a precaution because of a sore left hamstring that had sustained several deep bruises in recent days.

But before anyone in the Bay Area rigs a bat signal with Buster Posey's profile, manager Bruce Bochy said the injury was not serious and no roster moves will be necessary. In fact, Bochy said Molina probably would catch Tim Lincecum in the series finale Sunday.

The Giants must win behind their ace to avoid a sweep and clinch a winning trip. They almost did both Saturday.

They came back from a three-run deficit against former Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, tying it on Aubrey Huff's single in a two-run eighth inning. Huff also had a sacrifice fly and lifted two more drives that were caught at the warning track, including a sky-high shot amid the fluttering hot dog wrappers in the 10th inning. It might have been a three-run homer if not for a wind that was downright Candlestickian.

"I was shocked it didn't go," Bochy said. "Really, we hit some balls hard and didn't have any luck, I think, when it'd make a difference."

The bullpen was full of difference-makers, giving the Giants an opportunity to rally with five-plus scoreless innings after Todd Wellemeyer's wildness put the club in an early hole.

Brandon Medders might have righted his struggles with 22/3 scoreless innings. Jeremy Affeldt had movement on his sinker and command of his breaking ball in his two innings, too. Mota tossed a perfect 10th before Blanco took him deep.

"I don't think you can frown on our bullpen," Affeldt said. "We're just giving up that home run on the road, when it's a walk-off scenario. "I think we're fine. We're doing our job. We've just got to eliminate those badly timed home runs, myself included."

The Giants are 7-7 on the road, and three of their losses have come on walk-off home runs. Another loss at Dodger Stadium resulted from Manny Ramirez's two-run shot in the eighth.

The long ball didn't hurt Wellemeyer. He allowed only three hits in 41/3 innings, but all four runs charged to him reached base via walk or hit batter. He walked five in all.

Bochy's critique didn't spare Wellemeyer. He called the right-hander "his own worst enemy" but reiterated that Wellemeyer would remain the No. 5 starter for now.

Wellemeyer is beginning to earn a reputation as a pitcher in the Brett Tomko mold — fantastic stuff but a wandering mind — and he acknowledged he might have defeated himself between the ears Saturday.

"I don't know if it was a lack of focus or what," Wellemeyer said. "I hate to say it was, because I was battling. I just wish I could've gone longer in that game."

So did Molina. He gave a couple of interviews to New York reporters about his disappointing free-agent experience but hadn't considered the cosmic ramifications of the two walk-off homers.

"I don't think or ask for anything different. I am very happy to be a Giant," Molina said. "And over there, with those two guys, let me tell you, they're well covered. They've got a good team. They are not thinking about Bengie Molina, you know?"