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SF@SD: Posey gets hit in the throat, remains in game

SAN DIEGO -- Buster Posey provided a vivid reminder Friday night that actions speak louder than words. So do scars, bruises and indentations.

Posey absorbed the impact from a Ryan Vogelsong curveball that skipped once in the dirt before striking him in the throat. The catcher was in obvious pain but remained in the game to play all nine innings and help the Giants outlast the San Diego Padres, 3-1.

If ruggedness counts among the qualities of a Most Valuable Player, Posey strengthened his candidacy for the prestigious award by enduring this mishap.

Vogelsong delivered a graphic account of the wicked pitch's effect on Posey: "When I got there, I could see the seam mark on his Adam's apple, so I knew it got him good."

The Padres had two on and two outs when Vogelsong's 0-2 pitch to Everth Cabrera bounced in the dirt and hit Posey just below his face mask. Posey knelt virtually motionless, in obvious pain, as head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner and manager Bruce Bochy ran out to check on him. For a fleeting moment, it was May 2011 -- when Posey sustained his extensive left leg injuries in a home-plate collision -- all over again.

Posey probably would have been willing to discuss the incident. However, he couldn't speak, due to his mashed vocal cords.

"Sorry," he croaked.

Having tripled and scored in the top of the second inning, Posey doubled in the fifth and finished 2-for-4 to lift his National League-leading batting average to .334. Though Posey's still closely pursued by Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen (.330), he came one day closer to becoming the first player whose primary position is catcher to win the NL batting title since Ernie Lombardi of the 1942 Boston Braves. But observers were more impressed by Posey's grit.

"It does show you how tough he is," Bochy said, revealing that Posey also vomited before the game. Bad food was suspected as the cause.

"I know he's a tough son of a gun," Vogelsong said. "Because I think if I got hit in the throat while I was catching, I'd probably be laying on the training-room table."

Meanwhile, Vogelsong (14-9) heightened the intrigue surrounding the Giants' postseason pitching plans by working six effective innings.

Vogelsong, who established a personal single-season high for victories, stranded four runners in the first two innings but blanked the Padres until Will Venable singled leading off the sixth, advanced to third on first baseman Brandon Belt's throwing error and scored on Yonder Alonso's single. Vogelsong escaped a first-and-third, one-out jam by coaxing Cameron Maybin's double-play grounder.

"It took me the first two innings, really, to adjust to the mound," Vogelsong said. "I think the slope's just a little bit different. I had to make some adjustments."

Vogelsong, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum are perceived to be competing for starting assignments in Games 3 and 4 of the Division Series. It's widely assumed that 16-game winners Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner will pitch the first two games.

Rather than dwell on his unknown fate, Vogelsong remained content with his ability to pitch out of difficulty and put his recent seven-start slump further behind him.

"That's what I was doing the whole first half and into August," he said, referring to his success with marooning baserunners. "To be able to do that tonight feels better."

Posey wasn't the only Giant under physical duress. Second baseman Marco Scutaro left the game with head and chest congestion before the Padres' half of the fourth inning. In the top of the fourth, Scutaro beat out a dribbler to second base for a single, extending his Major League-high hitting streak to 16 games.

Bochy gave the night off to right-hander Sergio Romo, who threw 21 pitches Thursday. The Giants thus entrusted the ninth inning to Santiago Casilla, who yielded a pair of one-out, pinch-hit singles before coaxing Jesus Guzman's popup and Carlos Quentin's groundout to secure his 25th save.

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