The most important at-bat Wednesday was …
Actually, it wasn’t really an at-bat at all, but a plate appearance by Brian Giles during the sixth inning of the Padres’ 4-2 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday.
The Padres were clinging to a 3-2 lead and had a runner on third with one out after Josh Bard doubled and moved to third base on Chris Young’s sacrifice bunt.
That brought up Giles to face lefty Jamie Moyer who might have been running on fumes at this time but is still, well, left-handed.
Giles, who has a single and a double to this point, falls behind 0-1 before getting two balls. He then fouls off a change-up to make it 2-2. Giles then lays off a close pitch, fouls another pitch away before Moyer walks him on a ball in the dirt.
Giles would be the last batter Moyer would face, as Tadahito Iguchi got to face a right-hander instead in Chad Durbin, who promptly served up the third of Iguchi’s four hits, allowing Bard to score easily for a 4-2 lead.
The Giles at-bat is huge because it got Moyer out of the game — he might have been anyway with the right-hander Iguchi up — and because it set up with really amounted to the only clutch hit of the night by the Padres, who stranded 14, a problem that has presented itself often this season.
That hit also gave the Padres a little wiggle room, which proved especially important as relief pitchers Joe Thatcher, Heath Bell and closer Trevor Hoffman each allowed one base runner and faced the tying run at some point.
Anyway, the home runs are nice but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find an at-bat that changes the face of the game.