Barry Zito expressed it best: “He has that young fire in a veteran type of mentality. It’s a great mix. He wants it really bad. That’s what we need right now, some guys stepping up and having that hunger to get to October.”

Last Friday against the Atlanta Braves, Pat Burrell drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly. On Monday, against the Chicago Cubs, Burrell drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly.

Yesterday night, in the third game of the four game set against the Cubs, Burrell hit an eighth inning home run to win the game. The count was 1-2 when rookie Justin Berg delivered the pitch that Burrell hit for his 10th home run.

An amazing statistic is the Burrell sees 4.19 pitches per plate appearance. He is nothing like the free-swinger who has averaged 157 strikeouts a season.

Pat is now a disciplined free swinger, and that is not an oxymoron.

The San Francisco Giants signed Burrell as a free agent on May 29. They assigned him to the Fresno Grizzlies, who sent Buster Posey to the big team. On June 4, Burrell joined the Giants.

In his 52 games, Burrell is batting .293, has a .385 on base average, and is slugging .520. He has struck out 37 times in 179 plate appearances.

In last night’s game, Barry Zito failed to protect a three run lead he was staked to in the first inning. Burrell contributed a two run single to that rally.

In the top of the second, the Cubs threatened.

Blake DeWitt beat out an infield single, bringing up eighth place hitter Welington Castillo. Zito was not as sharp as he has been in many of his games this season.

Castillo hit a line drive to left field. Burrell fielded the ball, fired to shortstop Juan Uribe, and Uribe’s relay to Buster Posey nipped DeWitt at the plate.

The Cubs scored once in the fourth inning on Marlon Byrd’s 11th home run.

In the sixth, Xavier Nady doubled home Starlin Castro to cut the Giants lead to 3-2, and Nady scored the tying run on an Alfonso Soriano single.

The game didn’t remain tied long. Aaron Rowand hit a two-out home run in the bottom of the sixth, but it was the attitude that Pat Burrell has brought to the Giants that will be remembered.

His exuberance when Rowand, a former Philadelphia Phillies’ teammate, put the Giants ahead, was similar to that of a teen-ager whose mother has told him that he can have the keys to the car and that she has removed the car’s tracking system.

Zito gave the lead right back in the seventh inning. After retiring pinch-hitter Carlos Zambrano, left-hand batting Tyler Colvin hit a home run to right field.

Bruce Bochy had seen enough. Sergio Romo replaced Zito and got out of the inning.

Brian Wilson took over for Romo in the ninth.

After getting Micah Hoffpauir on a swinging third strike, pinch-hitter Kosuke Fukudome singled on a soft ground ball back to the mound to put the potential tying run on first.

Tyler Colvin grounded out to first, moving Fukodome to second, but Wilson reached back for a little extra and struck out Starlin Castro on three pitches, tying Heath Bell for the league lead in saves with 33.

The Giants trail the first place San Diego Padres by two and one-half games, which they hope to make up this week end when the teams play each other.

San Francisco leads the wild race by a single game over both the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds.


Giants Beat Cubs, 5-4

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