Nifty one-liners from Monday, Aurilia bats cleanup
SAN FRANCISCO — Rich Aurilia, king of the one-liners among the Giants, spun another good one as he described the odd eighth-inning play that was instrumental in San Francisco’s 5-4 victory Monday over the Dodgers.
After fielding Aurilia’s nubber up the first-base line, Dodgers right-hander Ronald Belisario gloved the ball and unwisely flipped it home — while positioned smack dab in front of Aurilia and directly over his head.
“I ‘Matrixed’ him,” Aurilia joked.
Right-hander Merkin Valdez, who earned Monday’s decision, delivered a perhaps unintentionally witty response when asked how he felt on the mound upon pitching for the first time since April 16.
“Fresh,” Valdez said.
Aurilia also made a funny remark referring to Barry Bonds’ presence in the park Monday. “It felt weird hitting cleanup with that guy here,” Aurilia said.
Certainly Aurilia hasn’t been the offensive dynamo that Bonds was in the middle of the order. But Aurilia wasn’t a slouch in his limited appearances batting fourth, either.
With Cincinnati in 2006, Aurilia accumulated 227 at-bats as a cleanup hitter, sometimes with Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn surrounding him and sometimes when either one of them needed a rest. Aurilia hit .269 — not bad for a so-called bench player — with 11 home runs and 33 RBI. His slugging percentage was .485.
For his career, entering Monday, Aurilia’s .835 slugging percentage in 77 games (including 68 starts) at cleanup is his best from any spot in the batting order, except for leadoff (a spot he has occupied only 10 times and just once as a starter). His lifetime batting average at cleanup was .295 (84-for-309) with 12 homers and 43 RBIs.
– Chris Haft