PHOENIX -- Giants reliever Santiago Casilla threw a 63-mph down-the-middle strike on Wednesday night. Of course, he didn't intend to.
Casilla, attempting to intentionally walk Adam LaRoche in the eighth inning of his club's 3-1 loss to the D-backs, looped his first pitch over the heart of plate, and umpire Bill Hohn didn't hesitate raising his right arm.
"I said, 'Oh, my god.' [LaRoche] didn't swing, thank you," said Casilla, who has walked four batters on purpose this season, but had never before accidentally thrown a strike. "It was unbelievable, crazy."
Casilla explained that he was so intent on hitting catcher Buster Posey's glove with the soft toss, that when Posey didn't immediately stretch his glove hand away from home plate, he stuck with the original target.
Casilla did rebound to throw his next four pitches, all a few mph faster, well out of the strike zone for the ol' five-pitch intentional base-on-balls. Soon after, he induced Mark Reynolds' 6-4-3 double-play to end the frame.
No harm done.
Lopez continues to dominate lefty hitters
PHOENIX -- Javier Lopez's on-the-fly decision to drop or raise his left arm during a bout with a batter is an informed one. Call it smart spontaneity.
"It's definitely something that I do go over on video, to see what I've done in the recent history of what I've done against most of these guys," the Giants relief pitcher said, "and just change up the looks a little bit, keep them as uncomfortable as I can."
The D-backs haven't been able to settle in against him in this week's series. In Monday's opener, Lopez retired all four batters he faced -- Gerardo Parra, right-handed Ryan Roberts, Stephen Drew and Kelly Johnson. Lopez also struck out Johnson, a three-hole hitter, in Tuesday's eighth inning.
Arizona's batters all saw a rather ordinary fastball, which peaks at 88 mph, but they also witnessed variations of a slider thrown from a variety of arm slots.
"The deception is something I have to rely on; I don't have the velocity that most lefties are bringing -- especially in this bullpen," Lopez said. "Now it's trusting not only my stuff, but the arm angles, even going side-arm and getting a little lower sometimes and a little bit higher."
Simply put, it's worked thus far. Lopez (4-2, 2.30 ERA), acquired from Pittsburgh, has allowed just two hits in 31 matchups with left-handed hitters since joining the Giants via trade on July 31 in exchange for John Bowker and Joe Martinez.
All told in 2010, he has held lefties to a .149 average (13-for-87), the best mark of any National League lefty reliever. Conversely, right-handed hitters are batting .300 in 100 at-bats this season.
"A lot of it has to do with just the way the 'pen sets up here," Martinez said. "That is the reason I came over [to San Francisco], to get those lefties. Knowing that I have some good righties following me up, that makes the fine focus easier on me."
The Giants' bullpen had its scoreless streak snapped at 16 2/3 innings on Wednesday night when Jeremy Affeldt allowed a run in the seventh on a walk and Miguel Montero's RBI double. ... Cody Ross, manning left field and batting eighth, replaced Pat Burrell in Wednesday's starting lineup. Manager Bruce Bochy said he considered two factors when making the switch. Burrell went 0-for-3 with a strikeout against D-backs starter Daniel Hudson in their last matchup, and Giants starter Barry Zito is a fly-ball pitcher, and Ross has more range. Ross went 0-for-3 with a walk. ... Bochy penciled catcher Buster Posey into the cleanup spot on Wednesday. "You know me, I'll tweak it, but I like him there," said the manager. Posey, who went 0-for-4, has batted fourth four of the last five games. ... Recent callup Darren Ford is looking forward to not having to take Minor League bus trips. "We fly [in the big leagues]. That's a great help for sure," he said. "Just being here is a great opportunity. A lot of people would like to walk in my shoes." ... The Giants welcomed the 13-year-old boy who was struck in the head with Posey's flying bat on Monday back to the ballpark on Wednesday. The boy -- who was seated Monday in the fourth row on the third-base side behind home plate, an area unprotected by netting -- was due to be in the stands for San Francisco's series finale at Chase Field. Where were he and his family sitting? Section 122, which, not so coincidentally, is situated behind the screen. ... Bochy said he was able to communicate with his former Padres closer, Trevor Hoffman, after he recorded his unprecedented 600th save for the Brewers on Tuesday night. "You got to have the talent, but you've got to stay healthy," said Bochy, who managed in San Diego from 1995 to 2006, during which Hoffman recorded 457 saves. "That's 50 saves for 12 years. That's not how he did it, but that gives you some perspective on what he has accomplished."
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.