“They’re taking torture to a new level.”
Such were the words of Giants manager Bruce Bochy after his team's exhilarating 10th inning 2-1 walkoff win versus the visiting Houston Astros on Saturday night. Although it might not have been the best fielded game or the offensive show of force the Giants have been longing for, the team escaped with a win thanks to the bat of trade deadline acquisition Jeff Keppinger.
But before the night’s climactic finish on the field, a different kind of celebration took place, just off it. It was Tim Lincecum Bobblehead Day at AT&T Park.
Giants fans impatiently lined up for their chance to get a miniature model of their beloved freak. Thousands of fans dressed in orange and black crammed their way into lines that surrounded every inch of the ballpark.
The 25,000 bobbleheads available vanished within minutes of the gates being opened. If you didn’t line up at least two and a half hours before the game, you probably missed out on the action.
One of the die-hard fans anxiously waiting his opportunity to receive his figurine was Robert Novoa. A 52-year old San Francisco native, Novoa has been a Giants fan since 1963 and has memories of the Giants teams of the ‘60s and legends like Willie Mccovey and Willie Mays. He arrived in front of the Willie Mays gates six hours before the start of the Saturday night’s ballgame, but he was still all smiles at the prospect of scoring his one-of-a-kind Tim Lincecum bobblehead. “[Lincecum’s] the best there is right now. He’s got a unique way of pitching the ball. You have to watch him,” he said.
But though the pregame chaos was pure Lincecum, the night’s on-field spotlight shined on another Giant. To a roaring, sold-out crowd, left handed pitcher Eric Surkamp took the mound, making his major league baseball debut. Prior to Saturday night’s game, Surkamp played for the Giants’ minor league team Richmond Flying Squirrels.
“It was awesome. You dream about it your whole life. And for it to finally come true, is amazing,” he said.
The rookie pitched six solid innings, striking out four and allowing just one earned run. Surkamp, who admitted that he couldn’t feel his legs at the beginning of the game, was able to rid himself of the pre-game jitters and put on quite a performance in front of his friends, family, and 42,000 Giants fanatics. “The kid was impressive tonight,” said Bruce Bochy. “He comes in a packed house, pitching his first game. Believe me you’re nervous, you’re amped up, but he never showed it and looked very comfortable out there. I thought he did a great job.”
With the ups, come the downs. Outfielder Nate Schierholtz was placed on the 15 day disabled list with a bone fracture on his right foot; adding to the never ending list of injury ridden Giants. This marks the twenty-fifth time the Giants have used the disabled list, the most in the majors.
The win versus the Astros was the Giants second straight consecutive victory, something they hadn’t done since August 13th. However, they still remain three games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks who beat the San Diego Padres 3-1.
“Hopefully we’ll get on a roll here, keep this thing close, and get this offense clicking”
The Giants will look for production from right fielder Carlos Beltran to provide some offensive prowess for the ball club. Since returning from the disabled list and missing thirteen games, Beltran has been impressive; going 7-for-16 with a .438 average. Beltran went 2-for-4 on Saturday with a run batted in during the first inning.
Up next the Giants look to capitalize on a three game series against the struggling Chicago Cubs, and then will await the arrival of the Arizona Diamondbacks for a crucial weekend series.
Game Note: On Sunday The Giants lost to the Astros 4-to-3 in eleven innings, and are now four games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West Division.