Gonzalez’s double off Wilson helps Braves rally to send Game 2 with Giants to extras tied at 4

By Josh Dubow, AP
Friday, October 8, 2010

Braves rally to send Game 2 with Giants to extras

SAN FRANCISCO — Alex Gonzalez hit a tying, two-run double off closer Brian Wilson and the Atlanta Braves’ bats woke up just in time to send Game 2 of their NL division series against the San Francisco Giants to extra innings tied at 4 on Friday night.

After being held to one unearned run in the first 16 innings of the series, the Braves erased a 4-1 deficit in the eighth inning of Game 2 as they tried to avoid falling into a 2-0 series hole.

Derrek Lee started the rally with a leadoff single against Sergio Romo and went to third on Brian McCann’s single. The Giants then called on Wilson, who has never had a six-out save in his career, according to STATS LLC. Wilson did lead the majors this season with 10 saves of longer than an inning but he couldn’t come through in his first career postseason appearance.

He got Melky Cabrera to hit a slow roller toward third that scored Atlanta’s second run. Pablo Sandoval’s throw to first pulled Aubrey Huff off the bag for an error, but Cabrera looked as though he would have beaten the throw anyway.

After a sacrifice bunt by Brooks Conrad, Gonzalez tied it with his double to left-center. Gonzalez had just two hits in 41 at-bats over his past 12 games before coming through against Wilson.

The Giants’ bullpen had thrown 24 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings since late in the regular season before the eighth-inning meltdown.

Braves manager Bobby Cox wasn’t around for the rally, having been ejected in the second inning for arguing a call at first base. It was the third career postseason ejection to go along with a record 158 in the regular season for the 69-year-old Cox, who is retiring after the season.

The latest dispute came after Gonzalez was called out by umpire Paul Emmel after Giants shortstop Juan Uribe made a diving stop and threw to first base in the second inning. The throw beat Gonzalez, but replays showed that Huff’s foot might have been pulled off the bag.

Emmel was the umpire at second base in Game 1 who called Giants rookie Buster Posey safe on a stolen base when replays showed he was out. Posey later scored the only run of the game.

Cox did not argue in the opener, but this time he came out of the dugout after first-base coach Glenn Hubbard started protesting. Cox argued for a bit and then was ejected by Emmel immediately after throwing his hat to the ground.

The Braves already trailed 3-0 at that point after Pat Burrell hit a three-run homer in the first inning off Tommy Hanson. Giants starter Matt Cain added an RBI single in the second and that looked as though it would be enough the way Braves hitters were struggling.

Atlanta managed just two hits and struck out 14 times in a 1-0 loss in Game 1 to Tim Lincecum. The Braves managed only an unearned run in 6 2-3 innings against Cain on an RBI single by McCann. An error by Burrell in left field earlier in the inning helped score that run.

Cain allowed seven hits and two walks, striking out six. He also became the first Giants pitcher to drive in a run in the postseason since Johnny Antonelli on Sept. 30, 1954, in Game 2 of the World Series against Cleveland.

Hanson had a rough start in his first trip to the playoffs. He hurt himself when he hit a ball in batting practice that bounced off the plate and hit him in the area of his right eye Thursday night. Hanson allowed four runs and five hits in four innings.

The Giants wore their traditional Friday night orange jerseys as they have all season at home. San Francisco is 9-4 on “Orange Fridays” but lost the previous four times in the uniform. Despite the recent slump, the players chose to wear them for this game. It was a sea of orange at the game with many fans dressed in that color and others waving pompoms.

The fans got an early scare when Posey collided with third baseman Sandoval on a foul popup in the first inning. Both players fell to the ground in pain after the jarring collision, but Posey managed to hang onto the ball. They both remained in the game after being checked out by the training staff.

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