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The scene summed up the Giants 2-1 10-inning victory over the Reds perfectly: a gimped-up Hunter Pence on second base, too far away to score, Sergio Romo at bat and the Giants clinging to slimmest of leads in the top of the 10th.
Romo was there because he had to close out the game in the bottom of the frame, and he did just that, pitching six scoreless innings as San Francisco stunned Cincinnati in what the Reds hoped would be a chance to close out the National Divisional Series.
It took Ryan Vogelsong 30 pitches and a full inning to settle in, but he did just that, and pitched splendily for five innings.
Romo was also there because there wasn't anyone left on Bruce Bochy's bench: Hector Sanchez was the only option for Bochy to plug in for Romo, but he wanted the slider machine there to close the game out. Tim Lincecum was available, but only the hair-pullingest of Giants fans -- and there should be plenty -- wanted to see the Freak try and close out his first playoff game.
The bullpen's a fantastic story here too, as they allowed just one hit over five strong innings from Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Romo. They needed to show up big, too, because Homer Bailey was absolutely on fire for the Reds.
At one point Bailey, who took a no-hitter into the sixth, struck out six-straight Giants batters and looked prepped to close out San Francisco and ease any of Dusty Baker's concerns about who will start in Game 4 of the NLDS.
And Romo was there because the Reds bullpen had been stupendous as well -- only the rarest and luckiest of circumstances allowed the Giants to pick up an extra run in the top of the tenth. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence led off with back-to-back singles against Jonathan Broxton. But Broxton recovered to strike out Brandon Belt and Xavier Nady, leaving Joaquin Arias to knock in a run and keep hope alive. One Broxton wild pitch later, Posey and Pence advanced to second and third and, with Sanchez taking swings on deck, Broxton induced an Arias ground out to third ... that Scott Rolen flubbed.
Posey scored and trusting Romo to take a couple cuts and shut down the Reds made more sense than gambling on Sanchez and really gambling on Lincecum learning how to close on the fly.
It's a whacked-out way to get there. And it was perfectly Bochian and Giants-esque. But in the end it doesn't matter how many times Romo had to stand in that batter's box, because the Giants managed a win and kept the slimmest of hopes alive for beating the Reds in the NLDS.