Molina delivers clutch RBI vs. Phillies

Molina delivers clutch RBI vs. Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- Bengie Molina doesn't think of himself as a warrior. But everyone in the Giants clubhouse does. Molina won't grouse about the pain that shoots through his right leg every time he walks, let alone runs. He can barely stand sometimes without wincing. Just imagine what it must be like crouching for 20 innings over two days. You won't hear anything about it from the Giants' veteran catcher.

He trudges forward. Won't ask to be removed from the lineup. Won't grope for an excuse. That's just Molina.

Coming up with a big hit in a crucial spot with the game on the line -- that's Molina, too. Like Saturday night, when Molina roped a one-out single to left off Phils reliever Rudy Seanez, sending home the winning run in a 3-2 Giants victory in 10 innings at Citizens Bank Park, before a frigid 43,804.

Molina's game-winning hit made a winner out of Jack Taschner for the first time this year and it came as sweet redemption for closer Brian Wilson, who finished the Phils for his 10th save, easing the sting of the blown save opportunity Friday night on a walk-off homer in the 10th by Pat Burrell.

It's ironic that Burrell was the first batter Wilson faced in the 10th. Wilson walked Burrell -- but preserved the victory.

"I wanted to go after Burrell again and locate my fastball in and out," Wilson said. "I was just a little smarter locating it. I wanted it bad, though. I didn't want to wait until Tuesday to come back out again. I wanted to play a doubleheader Friday night. I came back and got it going."

Just as Molina did. He had a torrid night, going 3-for-5 with an RBI.

"If we lose a game, Bengie probably takes it harder than all of us in here. Because he's the catcher, he feels responsible, even though he never is," Wilson said. "He works hard and makes all of us work harder just to keep up with him."

Molina hears the praise some of his teammates have for him, and he just grins and shakes his head. He won't take any credit, even though this time, it was well deserved.

"Nothing comes easy for me," Molina said. "I have constant problems with my legs and people boo me because I can't run. It hurts every time I run. But I try to erase the pain and play the game."

Prior to Molina's 10th-inning heroics, the teams combined to score three of the first four runs off homers. Fred Lewis smacked his third homer of the season for the Giants, while the Phillies' Chase Utley and Geoff Jenkins each homered off Giants starter Matt Cain.

Jenkins' homer got a little boost, hugging the right-field line in the fifth. Jenkins' blast answered Lewis' solo shot in the top of the inning, which gave the Giants a momentary 2-1 lead.

The game-tying homer ultimately wasted a fine effort by Cain. He's had quality starts now in two of his last three outings. Against the Phils on Saturday night, he pitched into the eighth. At one point, from the first through the fourth inning, he retired eight straight, before Utley broke up that streak in the fourth with his 13th homer.

Cain went seven innings, giving up just three hits and two runs. He struck out a season-high eight and walked a season-low one.

Cain came out in the eighth with a tight right hamstring, after yielding a leadoff walk to Chris Coste. Carlos Ruiz came in to pinch-run for Coste and was sacrificed to second by Eric Bruntlett. But Tyler Walker closed the inning by getting pinch-hitter Jayson Werth to ground out to second and Shane Victorino to fly to center.

"I didn't want to come out," Cain said. "You never want to come out. My hamstring was just getting a little tight. It started to get a little tight in the seventh inning. I just wanted to come at them and get them in a defensive mode. It was nice to find a groove. But Utley beat me. He hit a backdoor curveball that stayed down and away. The guy's just locked in, like a certain guy who played many years here used to be."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy wasn't about to take any chances with Cain continuing, especially the way the Giants' bullpen has pitched. Walker, Taschner and Wilson threw three hitless innings in stymieing one of the most potent offenses in baseball, in one of the most hitter-friendly parks.

"Our pitching staff doesn't get the credit I think that they deserve, they throw zero after zero after zero; I can't say enough about those guys," Molina said.

Just like they can't say enough about their catcher.

Joseph Santoliquito is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.