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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, May 10, 2010

MLB: Giants’ Wilson weathers win, whips Mets

By Andrew Baggarly
San Jose Mercury News

NEW YORK — San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson entered this world too late to pitch at Candlestick Park. Now he might just hop the fence in the dead of night.

Color him curious after Sunday's virtual Candlestick encounter in which he preserved the Giants' wild, wind-whipped 6-5 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field.

Papers and plastic bags swirled. Nearly every pitcher struggled to grip the slick baseball. Outfielders stood unsteadily beneath fly balls as if balancing spinning saucers on poles.

Wilson weathered it all. He was handed a five-out assignment and a one-run lead, courtesy of Aaron Rowand's two-run shot in the eighth. And Wilson knew that any ball in play could turn into a windblown calamity.

He took control when nobody else could. After Jason Bay led off the ninth with a bloop double that fell between two fielders, Wilson simply decided to avoid contact. He struck out David Wright, Ike Davis and Jeff Francoeur to preserve a wild victory and clinch a winning trip.

"It's not part of my job description to be concerned with wind or garbage," deadpanned Wilson, who also struck out both batters he faced in the eighth to strand an inherited runner at second base. "It was a must-win regardless of how many outs it takes."

It was a dominating appearance in a game that turned instantly when Rowand's home run plowed through a cross wind.

Could Wilson have thrived at blustery Candlestick?

"I'm not sure," he said, with an impish grin. "We'll have to test it out. . . . It's still there."

The Giants like their current waterfront ballpark, thank you very much, and they'll be happy to come home after taking four of six on a heart-stopping trip to Miami and New York that featured walk-offs, comebacks and tension galore.

The finale was the wildest of the bunch.

Mets starter Oliver Perez walked seven, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch in 31/3 innings. He needed 98 pitches to record 10 outs. But the Giants couldn't mix in a big hit to blow it open.

Tim Lincecum got a much better handle on the elements but ran plenty of deep counts. His workload might have caught up to him in the sixth, when he gave up half of his 4-0 lead. The Mets completed their comeback against relievers Dan Runzler and Sergio Romo in a wind-aided, three-run seventh.

Romo gets absolution this time. He couldn't have prevented Bay's two-run single to left field—a fly ball that seemed to hit an invisible wall before falling in front of a hoodwinked Andres Torres.

"It was ... amazing," Torres said. "The ball just kept going and going."

After winning his first four starts, Lincecum has no decisions in his past three games — even though he left with the lead in each of them.

"The whole point is to get a win for the team," he said. "I felt in the sixth, I gave in. I put the motivation on their side."

Rowand wrested it back. He couldn't have directed the flight pattern of his home run better if he were in the control tower at neighboring LaGuardia Airport. The shot to right-center skirted the full force of the wind and slipped over the fence.

"I crushed it, wind or no wind," Rowand said. "That's all I've got right there. ... But I honestly thought it'd be caught. I play in San Francisco."

The home run followed a walk to John Bowker and preceded one to Torres, which was the 11th issued by Mets pitchers and the Giants' highest total in almost a decade—Sept.2, 2000, against the Chicago Cubs.

Yes, 11 walks for the free-swinging Giants. We told you it was a weird afternoon in Flushing Meadows.