The same could be said of this four-hour, 34-minute game, the Giants' longest of the season. It provided thorough entertainment for the paid crowd of 43,485, which set an AT&T Park regular-season record for the second game in a row. Barry Bonds' two RBIs helped the Giants overcome a 4-1 deficit. Manager Bruce Bochy was ejected in a lively argument. Alex Rodriguez's 28th home run denied the Giants a nine-inning triumph. Each team used six relievers. And had the game lasted longer, the Giants might have faced Roger Clemens, who began warming up in New York's bullpen during the 13th inning.
As much of a treat as this game was for spectators, the Giants derived even more from it, given the repeated setbacks they had endured.
"I think that game is going to bring a lot of enthusiasm and motivation for the days to come," shortstop Omar Vizquel said.
"It probably saved some sanity around here," Bochy said.
Klesko grounded a leadoff single to open the Giants' winning rally off Scott Proctor (1-4). Bengie Molina's sacrifice bunt moved Klesko to second base. Pedro Feliz flied out, but Vizquel, after lining two balls up the left-field line that sliced barely foul, grounded an infield single up the middle. Vizquel punctuated his sprint to first by diving headfirst into the bag.
Schierholtz, playing in his eighth Major League game, blooped Proctor's first-pitch curveball into left-center field, in front of onrushing Melky Cabrera.
"I had a good feeling it was going to drop," said Schierholtz, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and stayed in the game to play right field. "I put a good swing on it. I was a little out in front and got it off the end of the bat. Luckily, they were playing 'no doubles' and playing deeper."
Even before its conclusion, this saga featured enough drama to serve as a fitting sequel to the 1962 World Series, the last time these teams played meaningful games in San Francisco.
Trailing, 4-2, the Giants scored three runs in the seventh inning, a rally that began against Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang with Pedro Feliz's 100th career homer and ended with Bonds' bases-loaded walk against reliever Brian Bruney that forced in the go-ahead run.
But Rodriguez, who rapped four hits for the second consecutive game, clobbered a titanic homer off Brad Hennessey to christen the ninth and force extra innings. Hennessey, who replaced the traded Armando Benitez as closer, blew his first ninth-inning save opportunity in three tries. It also was Hennessey's first save chance since June 12, reflecting the Giants' recent inability to generate late leads.
The Giants' emotion might have been stoked in the sixth inning, when Bochy argued first-base umpire Phil Cuzzi's "out" call on Ray Durham. After Randy Winn's bunt single opened the Giants' sixth, Wang deflected Durham's smash up the middle, which trickled to shortstop Derek Jeter. Television replays indicated that Jeter's throw pulled first baseman Miguel Cairo's foot off the bag, but Cuzzi declared Durham out. Incensed by what he saw and perplexed by the Giants' recent struggles, Bochy concluded his rant by flinging his cap aside. Once Bochy departed, Bonds delivered Winn with a single to left.
"[Cuzzi] said what they always say -- they got it right, and I disagreed with him," Bochy said. "Sure, there's frustration built up with the tough losses we've had."
The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the 11th inning, but Steve Kline escaped by striking out Hideki Matsui and coaxing Robinson Cano's groundout. That mirrored the woes of the Yankees, who outhit the Giants, 17-12, and left 16 runners on base.
That wasn't the only time the Giants stifled the Yankees' offense. Durham made a diving catch of a sharp Cabrera ground ball and a leaping grab of a Bobby Abreu line drive in the first inning. Winn threw out Jorge Posada, who was trying to stretch a single, to open the second inning.
"Our defense probably saved us early in the ballgame," Bochy said.
The Giants received plenty of help from other sources later.