David Eckstein is 5'7", weighs 175 pounds, and both those figures might be generous. One of his affectionate (possibly not) nicknames is "Just Enough."
In other words, you do NOT expect him to hit a walk-off home run against one of the filthiest relievers in baseball, Jeremy Affeldt. This goes for just about every yard in Major League Baseball, which means it carries treble truth when Eckstein steps to the plate and stares into the yawning expanses of Petco Park.
Of course, baseball keeps a full stock of unlearnable lessons—don't swing at the high fastball, never make the first or last out at third base, always burn it out of the batter's box, always call the fly ball, etc.
God's decided to remind Giant fans of yet another in the 10th inning of San Francisco's opener with the San Diego Padres.
That is, if there appears to be no danger of a particular occurrence at a particular time, that's when you should be most concerned.
And so, Mr. Eckstein yanked the southpaw's 1-1 pitch right down the left field line for the game-winner.
For the second game in a row, the Gents normally suffocating bullpen surrendered the winning margin via the long ball. For the second game in a row, it wasted a fine performance from the bump. For the second game in a row, it blowtorched another heroic four-bagger from Juan Uribe.
That's a whole lot of coincidence of the wrong variety.
When Sergio Romo served up the Manny Ramirez gopher ball on Sunday, it erased Barry Zito's 7 1/3 innings of shutout chicanery and probable win. It also erased the adjective "game-winning" from Uribe's solo shot off Bum lefty Clayton Kershaw.
In San Diego, the victimized pitcher was Matt Cain.
The big man wasn't quite as good as Baked Zito, but he blasted away with his fastball well enough to keep a hot team at bay for six innings. The Fathers coasted into the series fresh off a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in which San Diego never failed to score less than five runs.
Consequently, Cainer did very well by only allowing two earned runs on seven hits and a walk while fanning four.
Unlike Zito, the youngster wasn't in line for the win. In fact, the Kid was on his way to eating his first loss of the season after Bengie Molina led off the Orange and Black ninth by fouling out to right field.
Enter Juan Uribe.
The utility infielder brought his club back from the brink of defeat by tying the game in the top of the ninth inning. He launched a no-doubt-about-it bomb off Padre closer Heath Bell and seemingly gave momentum to the visitors while taking starter Matt Cain off the hook in the process.
The dugout exploded when Uribe's laser left the bat as you'd expect it to in the wake of a disappointing three-game series against the loathsome Los Angeles Dodgers. Tim Lincecum exuberantly pumped his fist while Jonathan Sanchez looked like someone stuck a coat hanger in his mouth.
You could almost see the relief washing away memories of Manny Ramirez' two-run big fly the day before in Dodger Stadium that wrenched the three-gamer from los Gigantes' grasp.
Alas, Petco has been a house of horrors over the years for the fellas and it would be again on Monday.
Translation: the euphoria was short-lived.
Fate would use David Eckstein to inflict ironic cruelty only eight outs later.
When the more traditional culprit did it on Sunday, I wrote that the Baseball Gods owed San Francisco one.
The count is now at two.