DETROIT -- Brian Wilson's emotional outburst in the Giants' dugout Friday night seemed to parallel the team's apparently imminent meltdown on the field.Fortunately for Wilson and the Giants, Jeremy Affeldt induced Brennan Boesch's soft line drive that shortstop Brandon Crawford turned into an unassisted double play to halt the Detroit Tigers' ninth-inning rally and seal San Francisco's 4-3 Interleague victory. Until that instance of baseball luck, the Giants appeared destined to absorb their third consecutive loss in an opponent's last at-bat. Instead, they escaped with an improbable triumph that was made that much more entertaining by Wilson's tantrum. The source of Wilson's frustration wasn't just his second straight blown save, which was forged in the eighth inning when he yielded Magglio Ordonez's two-out RBI single that tied the score, 1-1. Wilson's anger escalated in the ninth inning, after Pablo Sandoval's second RBI double and bases-loaded walks by Nate Schierholtz and Crawford put San Francisco ahead, 4-1. Detroit's ninth began with singles by Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta off Wilson. Ryan Raburn forced Peralta at second base before Wilson walked Alex Avila to load the bases. That set up Brandon Inge's RBI single and prompted Giants manager Bruce Bochy to replace Wilson with Jeremy Affeldt. What happened then was maddening enough. Second baseman Emmanuel Burriss mishandled Andy Dirks' grounder for an error, scoring Raburn and keeping the bases loaded. Up came Boesch, who hit what initially appeared to be a single up the middle that almost certainly would have scored two runs to win it for Detroit. But the ball traveled to Crawford as he converged on second base, making it simple for him to make the catch and step on the bag to end the game. "I knew [Boesch] didn't hit it that well," Crawford said. "I thought he got jammed a little bit. Then I saw Inge come off the bag and I knew we had a shot." Affeldt briefly considered the worst.
"He hit it and I turned around and looked and went, 'Please no -- I mean, yes,'" he said.Detroit manager Jim Leyland summarized the conclusion succinctly. "For us, it was hit in exactly the wrong spot, and for them it was hit in exactly the right spot," Leyland said. "That's a tough one. You don't have to be very far off [the base]. I mean, you're trying to score. There's nothing you can do about it. Just a freaky play." That was nothing compared to Wilson's escapades. He strode from the mound after Bochy removed him and, after briefly stalking around the dugout, picked up one of the two large plastic orange beverage containers and flung it to the floor. He grabbed a bat and, with a running start, used it to pummel the defenseless container. Still furious with himself, Wilson briefly resumed pacing the dugout before he flung the bat and swiped at a tray bearing bubble gum and sunflower seeds, which explained why television cameras showed him flexing his pitching hand later. In an unintentionally hilarious act, Wilson returned the beverage container to its proper place. "I was [angry] about what happened. That's it," Wilson said. "It's not that enjoyable to go out and give up two runs." Asked whether his temper had ever erupted so physically, Wilson replied, "I don't know. Mentally, yes. ... I gave myself 30 seconds. It passed. I came back to reality." Told that ESPN's "SportsCenter" likely would replay his display endlessly, Wilson said, "I don't watch 'SportsCenter.'"
As for his hand, Wilson said, "My hand is fine. Ask the wall."The Giants threw their support behind Wilson, who has blown save opportunities in two consecutive games just once previously: Sept. 9-10, 2008, against Arizona. This squandered chance offset another solid performance by Madison Bumgarner, who struck out nine in 7 1/3 innings and left with a 1-0 lead. "You're going to have snaps and frustration," Bochy said. "There's a lot of intensity going around with these guys. That's how they play, so they have to let it out. Willie does. What's important is that he keeps his poise on the mound." It also was just the second time this season that Bochy had inserted Wilson in the eighth inning. Bochy reasoned that Wilson was mostly fresh, despite pitching Thursday and allowing Aramis Ramirez's ninth-inning home run that forced extra innings. "He made some good pitches," Bochy said. "They just got enough of it to get base hits." Affeldt put matters in perspective by citing Wilson's body of work for the Giants: "He's picked us up so much in the past, he deserves for us to pick him up." Particularly after Wilson throws inanimate objects down.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.