Saturday, April 03, 2004

For the sheer sake of rubbing it in...

Musings and San Shin enter the final game of the season tied. Winner goes to the playoffs. Loser... well, loses.

Mark Mulder does not bring his A-game and the Musings fall back 8-0 after just 4 innings.

But Larry Walker and Gary Sheffield crank home runs in a 5-run fifth inning for the Musings. 8-5 San Shin.

Steve Reed comes in to pitch the seventh for MM and promptly gives up a walk, a single, a walk and a balk. 9-5 SS with three frames to play.

Bottom of the seventh. Chris Capuano on the mound for SS. He retires Gary Sheffiedl on a liner to second. Frank Thomas singles. SS pulls the plug on Capuano and brings in Tim Spooneybarger who pops Bret Boone up to left. Two out. J.D. Drew comes to the plate. Two-run home run. 9-7 San Shin.

Top of the eighth. Mariano Rivera enters the game to face the demon-bats of San Shin's Murderer's Row. Melvin Mora grounds weakly to first. Edgar Martinez draws a walk. Barry Bonds flies out to center. Two out. Mike Lowell singles, and Edgar hustles to second. Rivera blows his magic cutters by Magglio Ordonez for the strikeout. Still 9-7 San Shin.

Bottom of the eighth. B.J. Ryan replaces Spooneybarger. He gets Jose Reyes to ground to second but walks the heavyweight Brad Ausmus. (What's the manager thinking?! Mike Lieberthal's sittin' on the bench, for crying out loud!) SS pulls Ryan and brings in closer Matt Mantei to finish off the Musings. Larry Walker flies out to center. Wildness still plagues The Shin as Eric Chavez draws another walk and Ausmus advances to second. Next up: Gary Sheffield, who's 1-3 on the evening with a walk and solo homer. He doubles to left. Ausmus blazes around third and scores. 9-8. Chavez is right behind him, the tying run. Here comes the throw from Bonds. Mora takes the cutoff. Here comes Chavez around third. Mora turns a seamless relay, firing home. Chavez is out at the plate to end the inning! 9-8 San Shin.

Top of the ninth. Rivera K's Andres Galarraga. Fonzy Soriano lines out to first. Jason Phillips singles, and it's back to the top of Shin's killer lineup. Carlos Beltran follows with another single, as the Shin look for an insurance run. But Rivera retires Mora on a fly to right. 9-8 San Shin.

Bottom of the ninth. Big Hurt Thomas leads off and coaxes a walk from the still-wild Mantei. Tony Graffanino comes in to pinch run. Boone pops out to the shortstop. One down. Mantei just can't seem to find the plate as J.D. Drew, who homered in his last at bat, draws yet another base on balls. Up strolls Vernon Wells with two on and one out. A drive to the gap could score both runners, win the game and send Musings to the playoffs. Wells has also grounded into more double plays than any other hitter in the Musings lineup. You can't script drama like this.

Mantei paces around the mound. He takes off his cap and wipes the sweat from his brow. He's not looking too confident. Wells taps the dirt from his cleats as he gets the signs. He digs into the batter's box and sucks in a deep breath. The runners take their leads.

Here's the pitch from Mantei. Wells swings and drives it deep... deep to left center. Bonds and Beltran give chase... and watch the ball sail over the fence! The Musings are going to the playoffs! The Musings are going to the playoffs! Vernon Wells has just blasted a dramatic walk-off three-run homer, and the Musings send the Shin home 11-9. The Musings overcome an early 8-run deficit to win the most important game of the season!

My, oh my!

(God, I'm getting desparate for real baseball.)

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