Not acting his age: Vizquel lifts Giants
Shortstop drives in three on two triples; Bonds belts No. 729
CHICAGO -- Some may call Giants infielder Omar Vizquel a freak of nature; a man who mocks time itself, still has the energy of a rabbit even in September and seems to have an endless supply of hits and defensive tricks up his glove.The 39-year-old Vizquel keeps his body trim by quickly scooting by fast food restaurants and greasy foods, and doesn't do anything to excess, except perhaps play the game better than any shortstop in history. That's what's freaky, how his watch always is fully wound, how he punches a single off Father Time in every at-bat and stays perennially upbeat and playful nearing 18 seasons in the Majors. Vizquel showed all his skills Sunday in San Francisco's 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, going 3-for-5 with two triples and three RBIs, spurring the club to its fifth victory in the past eight games, and keeping the Giants viable in the expected down-to-the-wire Wild Card chase. Oddly enough, manager Felipe Alou thought briefly of giving Omar a day's rest Sunday, just to keep him fresh, then changed his mind. "He's indispensable," said Alou of the venerable shortstop, who's batting .309 overall with four homers, 50 RBIs and a team-high 24 stolen bases. "He woke up the team today with that [fifth-inning] triple to tie the game." The first of Vizquel's two three-baggers came moments after Cubs pitcher Angel Guzman (0-5) was pulled from the game, having put two runners on then cramping in his right forearm. Vizquel then ripped the ball to the right-field corner off reliever Michael Wuertz for two runs, and outfielder Shea Hillenbrand followed with his seventh homer of the season. Barry Bonds later hit his 21st homer of the year and 729th lifetime, and Vizquel added a third RBI with his second triple in the ninth. The shortstop's heroics gave Giants starter Jason Schmidt (11-8) a cushion to work with after the right-hander struggled through the first four innings then settled down to last seven frames. "Incredible," said Schmidt of Vizquel. "I've heard over the years how good he is, and then you get him on your team. Last year he was pretty good ... this year [the same] -- it's amazing. He gets better every year.
|"He's indispensable. He woke up the team today with that [fifth-inning] triple to tie the game."|
|-- Felipe Alou, on Omar Vizquel|
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.