May 2009

More from Sunday: Ishikawa explains “4-strike” AB; Winn’s OK

SAN FRANCISCO — Word quickly spread that Travis Ishikawa received four strikes during his ninth-inning at-bat in which he struck out looking. Ishikawa claimed this wasn’t the case, and two others in the press box who are paid to scrutinize each pitch — the official scorer and a game-tracker — supported his explanation.

Differences arose over a pitch that Ishikawa appeared to tip foul. But what apparently happened was that the ball grazed Colorado catcher Chris Iannetta’s glove.

“I never touched it, so I don’t know where the confusion was,” Ishikawa said. “I know I checked my swing, so I wasn’t sure if they called it a strike or if [the Rockies] were going to appeal or not. I asked after the third ball what the count was and he [plate umpire Casey Moser] said 3-0.”

Obviously, however, the umpiring crew wasn’t on the same page at that point.

“I took the next one for a strike,” Ishikawa added, “and that’s when Bill [Hohn] came down from third base [to double-check on the count].”

***

Randy Winn, strained right side and all, pinch-hit in the seventh inning and remained in the game to play left field. After the Giants’ 1-0 victory, Winn insisted he was fine, bolstering manager Bruce Bochy’s hopes that he’d need just a day to heal.

“I felt outstanding when I woke up,” Winn said, “and I feel great right now.”

Winn said this moments after having an ice pack removed from his side as part of his postgame treatment. His tone of voice also indicated that he was being ever-so-slightly humorous. But overall, he seemed sincere, so I’d bet that he’ll be in Monday’s starting lineup.

***

Manager Bruce Bochy on the National League West, now that the Giants have played each division foe:

“Nothing’s changed as far as my impressions,” Bochy said. “Going into this, I think we all felt that L.A. would be the club to beat in this division. But Arizona’s playing well now. That’s not a surprise. They have a lot of talent there. Colorado’s playing better and swinging the bats better. So I see it getting bunched up.”

Meanwhile, Bochy agreed — how could he not? — that the Giants have met expectations by relying on their superior starting pitching.

“I don’t think anything’s changed with how you look at teams within this division,” Bochy repeated.

***

If you felt confident as Rich Aurilia batted in the 10th inning, you weren’t alone. “He’s the best two-strike hitter we’ve got,” a Giants coach said.

Aurilia often will hack early in the count. But with two strikes, he widens his stance, tightens his swing and sharpens his skills.

“My approach changes with two strikes all the time,” said Aurilia, who singled to drive in Steve Holm with the game’s lone run. “I try to use my hands a little bit more and fight off tough pitches until I get one that I can do something with.”

Aurilia works on this technique during batting practice while others are swinging for the fences. No wonder he has stuck around for 14 big-league seasons.

– Chris Haft 

 

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