LOS ANGELES -- Buster Posey isn't just talented. He's also observant.The Giants rookie may have helped prompt an eighth-inning ruling Monday night that ended a Dodgers rally before it started. With two outs and Matt Kemp on first base, Ronnie Belliard apparently reached base safely by striking out on what seemed to be a wild pitch by Giants left-hander Jeremy Affeldt. This would have brought the potential tying run to the plate for Los Angeles. But Posey quickly alerted plate umpire Mike Everitt about what caused the ball to carom oddly off his catcher's mask.
"I just said that the ball hit [Belliard's] foot," Posey said Tuesday.
Because the pitch struck Belliard, it was a dead ball and not a wild pitch, though Posey admitted, "I wasn't 100 percent certain on the rule."Everitt apparently suspected that Posey was correct about the ball hitting Belliard, because he met briefly with the other umpires before making the out call that ended the inning.
Giants give Huff a break vs. Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Keeping his eyes on the big picture, Giants manager Bruce Bochy rested Aubrey Huff, the team's hottest hitter, on Tuesday.Huff, who ranked second to Pablo Sandoval with 90 games played, owned a .301 batting average with team highs in home runs (17), RBIs (54) and slugging percentage (.534). The first baseman-outfielder began Tuesday hitting .371 (10-for-27) with a seven-game hitting streak. But the presence of Los Angeles left-hander Clayton Kershaw on the mound gave Bochy an opportunity to allow Huff, a left-handed batter, to preserve some energy. "We're trying to keep him fresh," Bochy said, adding that he has given similar breaks to various players and will continue to do so.
Giants try to avoid fifth straight day for Wilson
LOS ANGELES -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy hoped Tuesday to avoid using closer Brian Wilson, who appeared in each of the previous four games.Wilson, whose 26 saves tied him for the National League lead entering Tuesday with San Diego's Heath Bell, did not throw an excess of pitches during his consecutive-game span. He threw 17 and four last Friday and Saturday, respectively, while recording saves against the Mets. He then uncorked 20 during the 10th inning in Sunday's loss to New York. Wilson threw 24 pitches while saving Monday's series opener against the Dodgers.
"Rags [pitching coach Dave Righetti] and I thought he had his best stuff of the four games," Bochy said.Wilson agreed. "I felt like I was throwing the same speed to every hitter," he said. But Bochy pointed out that the Dodgers created a high-stress inning for Wilson, who struck out the side yet loaded the bases.
Schierholtz succeeds by hacking
LOS ANGELES -- Nate Schierholtz has decided to take a sensible approach to his plate appearances when he receives a start in right field.He'll pretend that he's pinch-hitting. In Schierholtz's case, why not? He began Tuesday batting .429 (6-for-14) as a pinch-hitter, the second-highest average in the Major Leagues. Usually, a player in the lineup will take pitches and try to work the count. A pinch-hitter often can't afford to do that, because he's typically facing a reliever who possesses a devastating out pitch. "When you haven't played in a while, you need to jump on the first good pitch you see and be aggressive," Schierholtz said. "I've taken both approaches in my starts and I figure that being aggressive is better than falling in the hole two strikes every at-bat." This strategy worked Monday night for Schierholtz, whose two-run, fourth-inning homer broke a 2-2 tie and provided the standup runs in the Giants' 5-2 triumph over Los Angeles. "I kind of tried to separate every at-bat, because you can't plan on having four more at-bats the next day, necessarily," said Schierholtz, who has started 37 games yet entered Tuesday having appeared in all but 12 of San Francisco's games.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.