It wasn’t just the Dodgers and Giants at AT&T Park on Friday. It was the Dodgers and Giants and Metallica, one of the world’s most famous rock and roll bands ever.
Metallica? Just the net worth of lead singer James Hetfield is estimated at $175 million, a not so quiet fortune. He and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett both hail from the Bay Area. And Hammett is a Filipino American to boot–from the city’s Mission district.
“18th and South Van Ness,” he said to me. “I played Little League for St. Charles.”
St. Charles? Oh ,yeah. I’m a few years older than Hammett. But I was a Dolores Park guy back then, and I remember those guys with the gray khakis and the red sweaters and our teams (me and Marcelino Dumpit) used to whip up on all the St. Charles teams we played.
Except, clearly we would have been trounced if they had a CYO heavy metal team and we had to jam with the likes of Hammett.
I mean how could I compete with my effing clarinet.
Hammett, big league axe in hand, did a version of the Star Spangled Banner that had shades of Jimi .
It should have set the tone for one heck-of-a-rocking-game. Even the scoreboard had the Giants’ pictures in Metallica drag.
And it did set a tone, but the game was more like an acoustic fantasy for the Giants.
So did the park rock? Nope. The Giants bats were unplugged.
The Dodger’s Clayton Kershaw had the Giants stymied with a perfect game through the first third of the game, and a no-hitter until the Giants’ Marco Scutaro tripled in the 6th.
Kershaw would go from 74 mph to 94 mph and back in one sequence to show how it kept batters off balance all night.
The Giants Barry Zito was almost as good, but with more key defensive help. In the 3rd and 4th innings, Dodger rallies died because of timely variations of the Arias/Scutaro/Belt double play.
But it looked like Kershaw would beat them again with his arm and his bat when he doubled to lead off the 5th. A sac bunt moved him to third where he should have stayed, but a ground ball to Arias was too deep to start a double play. But that allowed Kershaw to score the only run he might need–he was going that well.
A better ground ball came from the next batter, the dangerous Kemp, and this time, the Giants turned a DP to end the inning and limit the damage to just one run.
One run down? That’s just the beginning of the game for the 2013 Giants, who came into the game tied with the Pirates for most comebacks in the National League (9).
In their half of the 6th, the Giants woke up with the Scutaro triple, and scored on a Buster Posey double.
With the game tied, Hunter Pence singled to center. Posey, running on contact with two out, rounded third and was waved on home to get the go-ahead run.
For Posey, it was nearly a reverse déjà vu moment that produced that heartbreaking moment Giants fans never forget from 2011.
Only this time Posey was the runner, not the catcher. Would Posey score? Would he barrel into Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis for the dramatic and courageous go-ahead?
Kemp’s throw to the plate was perfect and beat Posey without question. He slid sensibly into the tag and saved the big splash for later. He was instinctively saving the passion and the drama for later.
Posey had another scenario in mind.
In the bottom of the ninth, game tied, facing the Dodger’ reliever Ronald Belisario, and a 3-2 count, Posey knew exactly where to put the exclamation point in this game.
You need a shot in the arm? There’s nothing like a walk-off home-run against your dreaded rivals.
Metallica? On the very last play of the game, AT&T was finally plugged-in and rocking, another game that adds to the legend of the Giant-Dodger rivalry.
UPDATE: A GUILLERMO WINS ONE FOR THE GIANTS IN SECOND GAME OF THE SERIES
Another win for the Giants (five straight), all comebacks, and the second in-a-row with a walk-off home run.
This time the hero is Guillermo Quiroz, the third-string catcher and minor league careerist, who lives for moments like the bottom of the 10th. As a pinch-hitter, Quiroz was the last position player available to Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy.
No one expected what would happen next.
Quiroz hit a beleagurered Dodger reliever’s pitch into the left field bleachers, just as Buster Posey did the night before, to give the Giants a 10-9 win.
It was another classic Giant/Dodger game, a highly offensive affair that featured 19 runs and 30 hits between the two teams.
The walk-off home run for the Giants was the 12th in the LA/SF series since the two teams moved west in 1958.