Gonzalez helps Braves rally and Game 2 with Giants tied at 4 after 10

By Josh Dubow, AP
Saturday, October 9, 2010

Braves rally late as Game 2 of NLDS tied after 10

SAN FRANCISCO — Alex Gonzalez hit a tying, two-run double off San Francisco closer Brian Wilson in the eighth inning and the Atlanta Braves and Giants were tied at 4 after 10 innings in Game 2 of their NL division series 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.

The Braves bullpen was sharp, throwing six scoreless innings after Tommy Hanson got knocked out early. Rookie Craig Kimbrel struck out four while retiring all six batters in the eighth and ninth innings.

After Ramon Ramirez pitched a perfect top of the 10th for San Francisco, Atlanta closer Billy Wagner came on to start the bottom half.

Wagner, who plans to retire after the season, had a brief outing in what could be his final game. Pinch-hitter Edgar Renteria reached on a bunt single to open the 10th. Wagner first grabbed at his side after chasing that bunt. He fielded a sacrifice bunt by Andres Torres and grabbed at his left side and got the out at first.

After the trainers came out to the mound, Wagner was replaced by Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworth hit Freddy Sanchez with a pitch on the left elbow and then walked Aubrey Huff to load the bases.

Farnsworth escaped the jam by getting rookie Buster Posey to hit into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. Omar Infante made a sharp turn at second and Derrek Lee pumped his fist after completing the play at first.

Braves manager Bobby Cox wasn’t around for late-game drama, 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 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 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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