SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Crawford has played with Buster Posey for a decade, and during that time he has never missed an opportunity to take a good-natured dig at his friend about his speed. That held true late Friday night, too, in the Giants' 3-2 win over the Dodgers.
With Posey on second base as the free baserunner in the bottom of the 10th inning, Crawford bounced a single up the middle. There aren't many singles to the outfield that would have Posey scoring easily with no outs, but third base coach Ron Wotus never hesitated. Posey raced home to tie the game.
"I felt like I hit it just slow enough to be able to score him and hard enough to be able to get through," Crawford said later, smiling. "It was just really good bat control by me there."
Posey has never been fast, and at the age of 34, in his 12th season as a big-league catcher, he ranks 523rd out of 537 qualified big-league hitters in sprint speed. But when the Giants needed him to turn the jets on, he did. Posey busted it down the line with two outs in the 11th even though his grounder to second looked routine.
Trea Turner's throw to first was wide and Will Smith couldn't find the bag, but if Posey had packed it in after four and a half hours of baseball, Smith could have gotten back to first in time to extend the game. He didn't, and his manager appreciated it.
"He's not the fastest dude, but he's a good baserunner," Kapler said. "He's not fast so you don't think of him that way, but he has come up big in big moments with heady baserunning plays and good hustle plays. You can tell that when he needs to turn on his best, he does it.
"The best example of that for me is balls out in front of the plate -- he's lightning-quick on those balls. If he needs to move with a quick burst to go throw a runner out at first base, it's as quick as it gets. It's not, like, top-end speed, it's just like, 'Wow, all that happened really fast and he jumped on that ball and got to it very quickly.' I think that's the best example of his sense of urgency when it's necessary."
Posey got down the line in 4.75 seconds on the final play of the game, his sixth-fastest sprint to first this season. Four of the five best times came in the first two months of this season when he was at his freshest, but the fastest actually occurred in the third inning Friday when he hit a potential double-play grounder to third with the bases loaded. He got down the line in 4.62 seconds but the throw went home for the force.
In the biggest game of the year, it was clear Posey had a little extra energy in his legs, but his teammates weren't surprised.
"When he needs to move, he can move," Crawford said. "I wouldn't call him fast, but when he needs to, he can run. I think he was as ready as anybody for that game to be over and go home."