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Busting loose: Posey shines in playoff debut

Busting loose: Posey shines in playoff debut

SAN FRANCISCO -- The first postseason game of Buster Posey's meteoric career featured what one might expect: A couple of hits, including a double to the wall, and a brilliant night behind the plate working with Giants ace Tim Lincecum.

It also included a slide that, shall we say, will not go into the video scrapbook of his most athletic and graceful plays during a spectacular rookie season.

That slide for his first career stolen base not only caused a stir -- replays showed and Posey confirmed that Braves second baseman Brooks Conrad might have tagged him in time -- but it turned into the only and therefore the winning run in a 1-0 Giants victory that gave San Francisco a 1-0 edge over Atlanta in the National League Division Series.

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"It was a beautiful slide, wasn't it?" Posey said, breaking out of his usual stoicism with the bright smile of a 23-year-old in his element on the October stage.

Oh, sure. Beautiful. Catch your back foot on the base, pop up in the air and land with your backside on the bag -- just like they teach it in Spring Training.

"The slide was nice. Did you see it? Oh jeez, it was bad," said veteran first baseman Aubrey Huff.

Leave it to Huff and the rest of the Giants who have been around for a while to find something, anything, that Posey hasn't done well this season. Then again, he's not batting cleanup for the Giants for his speed.

The rest of what Posey did was pretty much vintage stuff you'd expect from the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Award co-front-runner with the Braves' Jason Heyward, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his first foray onto the October stage.


Posey hit into a fielder's choice in his first at-bat, singled sharply through the left side of the infield to lead off the fateful fourth and doubled to the wall in center to lead off the sixth, taking third on an error by center fielder Rick Ankiel, only to be left stranded.

Oh, and along the way, he received all 118 of Lincecum's pitches in a two-hit shutout.

Overall, it was nothing short of a debut that fits right in with what Posey has done all year.

"We came out on the side we wanted to," Posey said. "[It was a] pretty special first postseason game for me. And just to be a part of what this guy did tonight, it's a good one."

"This guy" was Lincecum, who had just joined Posey in the postgame interview room, and the ace thought a lot of what he did in his 14-strikeout performance was with Posey's steady influence.

Suffice to say, the battery making its first collective postseason appearance was on the same page, and that page was a winning one.

"It's great, just a relaxed feeling, telling each other, 'We've done this before, no big deal, come out and play the game,'" Lincecum said. "Throwing to Posey has been great for me. The guy is a student of the game. Like I've said before, he just wants to get better and help us get better. So those two things put together, it works well."

As it turned out, Posey helped Lincecum on the offensive side as well. Granted, he also might have gotten a little help from second-base umpire Paul Emmel, who called Posey safe at second on his ... interesting slide. Afterward, Posey didn't miss a beat in his response to a question of whether he was safe.

"I guess it's a good thing we don't have instant replay right now," Posey said.

Posey scored the game's lone run on a single by Cody Ross, and then went about the business of guiding Lincecum to one of the most dominating starts in postseason history.

Posey's first foray into the postseason not only had the best outcome he could have asked for, it had the atmosphere to go with it.

"The fans were behind us the whole game, and there was a lot of electricity out there," Posey said. "And when you throw a complete-game shutout with 14 strikeouts, it's going to get pretty loud, I guess."

One ugly slide doesn't take away from the electricity provided by the Giants' battery Thursday night, and Posey continued to deliver the type of power that doesn't go unnoticed by players like Huff who have been around the game awhile.

"You know, the kid, he's been such a a great addition since he's come up," Huff said. "His approach at the plate is just something I haven't seen in a young player and it didn't seem like the big game bothered him one bit."

John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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