SAN FRANCISCO -- For an example of a team "knowing how to win," as the saying goes, refer to the Giants' 5-4, 13-inning victory Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park over the Cubs, which ended with Buster Posey's two-out RBI single.Ignoring the apparent inevitability of the game extending to another inning,
SAN FRANCISCO -- For an example of a team "knowing how to win," as the saying goes, refer to the Giants' 5-4, 13-inning victory Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park over the Cubs, which ended with Buster Posey's two-out RBI single.
Ignoring the apparent inevitability of the game extending to another inning, Brandon Belt drew a two-out walk to prolong the 13th against Cubs right-hander James Norwood, who was in the second inning of his Major League debut.
Batting .194 in nine July games entering Wednesday, Andrew McCutchen summoned the skills that made him a National League Most Valuable Player and smartly slapped his second single of the afternoon.
Up came Posey, who had collected three RBIs in his previous 27 games. It was the kind of situation that he has thrived in so often during nine Major League seasons. He demonstrated his expertise by driving Norwood's 2-2 fastball to the opposite field. The ball caromed off the right-field wall for what was officially ruled a single, and Belt scored easily.
"It's all about how bad you want it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Referring to Posey enduring the rigors of catching, Bochy added, "We had the right guy up. Buster wanted to end the game as much as anyone."
All of this was made possible by Dereck Rodriguez, a starter who was installed as a reliever to consume innings. That he did, working three hitless frames to earn the decision. Blessed with his baseball pedigree, the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez felt comfortable occupying a foreign role.
"You go after them like any other guy I've faced," said Rodriguez, downplaying the novelty of his performance.
San Francisco secured its Major League-leading eighth walk-off victory while improving to 10-0 with two ties in its past 12 home series.
To set up this triumph, Posey spent the 12th inning studying Norwood. "Nothing more than trying to follow what he did," Posey said. His summary of Norwood: "Good stuff, 97-98 [mph], kind of a crossfire [delivery] with a good split."
The confrontation was anything but one-sided. "With two strikes, you're in battle mode at that point," Posey said.
Obviously, Posey won the fight. "He's probably one of the best hitters in baseball with two strikes," Bochy said.
Much earlier, the Giants jumped ahead with a four-run first inning off Cubs starter Mike Montgomery. Chase d'Arnaud's first career leadoff homer began the outburst, which continued with Gorkys Hernandez's two-run double and Steven Duggar's RBI single, his first in the Majors.
Chicago ponderously but powerfully pulled even with three home runs, the first two off Giants starter Johnny Cueto. Jason Heyward went deep to open the third inning and Kristopher Bryant hammered a two-run long ball in the fifth inning, Cueto's last. Javier Baez's seventh-inning leadoff drive tied the score against Giants reliever Tony Watson, whose Major League-high 18-inning scoreless streak dissolved.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
San Francisco's bullpen excelled before Rodriguez came upon the scene. The Cubs totaled one hit in the final six innings. For the series, Giants relievers allowed two runs in 15 2/3 innings. That's a 1.15 ERA.
Posey recorded his fifth career game-ending hit. His last was on May 12, 2017, when he beat Cincinnati with a 17th-inning homer.
BELT LOSES ASG FINAL VOTE
Belt remained classy in defeat after Wednesday's announcement that Milwaukee's Jesus Aguilar had won the Camping World All-Star Game Final Vote for the National League.
Without prompting, Belt approached a gaggle of reporters and profusely congratulated Aguilar and Seattle's Jean Segura for capturing the last spots on the NL and AL All-Star teams, respectively. "They definitely deserved it," said Belt, the 2016 NL winner.
Belt also expressed gratitude to the Giants' social media staffers who directed the club's efforts to get out the vote on his behalf. "Without them, I might have had three or four votes," Belt said.
Belt saved special mention for teammates such as Hunter Pence, Derek Holland and McCutchen, who taped videos to support Belt's cause.
"That was one of the coolest things to see, having your teammates behind you," Belt said. "They already have so much stuff to do. To take time out of their schedules to promote me meant a lot."
Always quick with a quip, Belt jokingly remarked, "I was told that Russia interfered with this election."
Thursday will mark the Giants' first scheduled off-day since June 25, giving them a chance to energize themselves for a three-game weekend Interleague series against their cross-bay rivals, the Oakland A's. Madison Bumgarner (2-3, 3.09 ERA) will receive the starting assignment for the Giants in Friday's series opener, which is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. PT. Edwin Jackson (1-0, 2.45 ERA) will start for the A's.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.