I let myself imagine it, almost as a counter to what I knew was coming. I didn't think it would really happen. I thought for sure Lincecum would get that last strike, and walk off the mound triumphant. He certainly deserved it, as those things go, given the brilliance of his entire outing.
I let the words play in my mind as Ethier stood at the plate with two strikes on him --- line drive single, and Furcal around third, and the throw is ... NOT IN TIME! Dodgers tie it! When Ethier hit a ball down toward first base, I thought that imaginary call was as close I would get to that sweet tying single, but no, it was foul. Still alive. I'm reminded of a much more important at bat, Kirk Gibson's duel against Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series, when Gibson fouled off a pitch down toward first base that just went foul. In that moment when you think the ball might be fair, and an easy final out, the game is OVER, if only for a moment, in the mind. It's a weird feeling to come out of.
When Ethier actually singled and drove in Furcal I was shocked. I'm still shocked, right now, as the Dodgers turn a double play to finish off the Giant rally in the ninth inning and send the game to extras. Though I expect I'm not as shocked as Giants fans. If the Giants go on to lose, they will only have their own bad offense ( and some bad luck ) to blame. Sure, the Dodgers threw out an effective patchwork of relievers, but I have to think the Giants will look back and feel that they should have scored more than two runs in their nine innings. How could the Dodger backup squad battle the Giant ace and reigning Cy Young to a draw?
Whatever the outcome of this game, I feel that the Dodgers reasserted their alpha status in the NL West. That is a welcome feeling after the way the Braves series ended.