Bochy takes no risks in managing 'pen
Giants' manager doesn't hesitate to use Wilson in Game 1
SAN FRANCISCO -- With "Jump Around" streaming out of the AT&T Park loudspeakers on Wednesday night, closer Brian Wilson made the short stroll from the Giants' bullpen to the mound. There was a Game 1 lead to hold, all right. And it was hardly of consequence that the lead stood at seven runs.
Showing no hesitancy to run through his relievers liberally, Giants manager Bruce Bochy summoned Wilson as San Francisco's seventh pitcher of the night -- the 12th used between both clubs. Bochy made no attempts to play this one conservatively, ensuring that on a night in which his offense broke out for more runs than it had in any of its previous 44 games, there would be no risk of squandering this one away late.
"It's the postseason, and it doesn't matter if it's a save opportunity or not," Wilson said, adding that he wasn't surprised to be summoned in such a situation. "I want to lock the game down. I respect Bochy's decision. I have no qualms about coming into today's game. It's a World Series game."
Three runs scored in the process, but Wilson did, indeed, lock down San Francisco's 11-7 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night. His 11-pitch appearance capped off a night that fell far short of the predicted pitchers' duel and one in which the Giants' bullpen, even with a commanding lead, proved key.
"We can't let them inch their way back in," said Wilson, the anchor of a relief corps that finished the season with the National League's second-lowest ERA (2.99). "They're a team that you have to pitch all nine to. We can't let them back into the game because they have a very potent offense."
Critical in that was a five-pitch sequence by Santiago Casilla in the sixth. One of the Majors' best at inheriting baserunners -- he stranded 41 of 47 this year -- Casilla entered into his most critical such situation yet with two outs in the sixth.
Out was Tim Lincecum, after allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings and watching the Rangers creep back to within four. He left runners on first and second.
After falling behind, 2-0, to shortstop Elvis Andrus, Casilla followed with three straight fastballs. Andrus swung through the last one to end the threat.
"He's a guy that has electric stuff and is going to go out there as confident as ever," teammate Sergio Romo said of Casilla. "He was able to get a big out for us."
It was plenty significant a step, too, as Casilla hadn't been so lights-out this postseason. Each of the previous five runners he had inherited had scored.
Casilla posted a scoreless seventh before handing the ball to Romo, as he often did during the regular season. Romo teamed with Javier Lopez to get through the eighth, and when the lead swelled to seven, Ramon Ramirez was called to start the ninth.
Ramirez -- who allowed two of three hitters to reach -- gave way to Jeremy Affeldt, who was out after issuing a walk. The bases now loaded, Bochy had no interest in leaving his closer standing down the left-field line as a spectator.
And in an odd sort of way, Bochy actually welcomed distributing the workload.
"We've had some time off, and I think a couple of them have some rust on them," Bochy said. "It's tough for relievers at this time of year, because you're getting a lot of days off. I was actually happy that they got in the game and got some work, and it didn't go well there in the ninth, but Wilson has had some time off. It was probably good for him to get a couple of outs there."
This marked just the sixth time this season that Wilson had entered with a lead of at least four runs. And though the bullpen's string of 9 2/3 scoreless innings was snapped during Wilson's appearance, the end certainly seemed to justify the means in which Bochy got it there.
"It's a team effort," Romo said. "We kind of all expect to get a chance to contribute at one time or another. Today, it just happened to be quite a bit of us."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.