Defining moment for Kontos

Tuesday, Oct. 2

LOS ANGELES — George Kontos became a Major League relief pitcher Tuesday night.

Admittedly, that’s a bit of an overstatement. Kontos must repeat what he did to end the seventh inning — preserving the Giants’ one-run lead by striking out the formidable Matt Kemp with Shane Victorino on third base — to establish himself further.

But this moment accelerated Kontos’ growth.

He learned to trust his stuff. He struck out Kemp on a 2-2 slider. There’s no way he was going to use a different delivery.

“My slider’s my best pitch,” he said. “I’m not going to change for anybody.”

He realized he can perform under more pressure than he faced in any of his previous 42 appearances with the Giants. Kontos spoke of his need to channel his adrenaline when facing Kemp and “just go after him like there weren’t 40,000 people yelling at me.”

He showed himself that he doesn’t necessarily have to overpower hitters. “I think one of the big things I’ve learned is not to try to do everything at 110 percent. Sometimes a little bit less is better,” he said.

If Kontos continues on this path, less definitely will be more for him and the Giants.

Chris Haft

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