SAN FRANCISCO -- Closer Brian Wilson tends to make every ninth inning interesting enough, whether he's blowing by batters or walking a tightrope by giving up a run like he did Thursday afternoon. But somehow, Pablo Sandoval found a way to add even more flair to the last out of the Giants' 2-1 win in AT&T Park.
After walking Alexi Casilla, Wilson gave up a run on Michael Cuddyer's double to left-center, cutting San Francisco's lead in half. He struck out Delmon Young and got Danny Valencia to line out to Cody Ross. With two outs and Cuddyer still waiting at second, Luke Hughes knocked a ground ball at Sandoval. The third baseman chose to pass up the forceout at first, instead hauling toward second base and flinging himself at Cuddyer, tagging his backside and preserving the win on a bizarre final play.
"That's a new play. We didn't work on that this spring, but he broke it out in that situation," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, barely suppressing a laugh. "I didn't know what he was doing either, to be honest. I guess he wanted to show off some speed there.
"But you take it. You take the last out any way you can get it. Like I said, sure, we made a couple of mistakes in tight games. Sometimes they come back to get you, but today they didn't because of Wilson finding a way to get it done."
Sandoval smiled when asked about the diving play afterward, chalking up the decision to being caught in the moment and wanting to take matters into his own hands to end the game.
"That's the emotion we play with. It's part of the game," Sandoval said. "You get so excited, so pumped up, that you want to do all the things to win."
Much was made about Sandoval's offseason workout and training regimen, as the so-called "Kung Fung Panda" came to Spring Training looking more fit and athletic than in years past. Even after spending nearly two months on the disabled list after surgery to remove a fractured right hamate bone, the conditioning must have been worth it.
"He got faster," Tim Lincecum said.