Tomlinson's dazzling defense key in victory

Tomlinson's dazzling defense key in victory

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' 3-2, 12-inning victory Monday night over the Dodgers ended with Los Angeles employing a five-man infield, the better to gobble up any ground ball.

The Giants didn't need to resort to such tactics to enhance their defensive coverage. They had Kelby Tomlinson.

The rookie second baseman assisted on four putouts, but this was an example of quality superseding quantity.

"You usually don't get that many opportunities to make that many plays," Tomlinson said. "It seemed like every one was kind of stretching me out a little bit. But it was fun."

Among Tomlinson's plays was a sixth-inning gem which forced him to extend himself fully as he flung himself to his right for Corey Seager's would-be base hit up the middle. Tomlinson also adeptly handled Chase Utley's tricky-looking bouncer in the 11th inning to start a double play.

Strickland induces double play

"I was trying to make sure just to catch it first," Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson also was an integral part of San Francisco's offense. He singled and scored ahead of Trevor Brown's two-run double off Zack Greinke in the second inning. Tomlinson lined another single in the 12th inning that advanced Marlon Byrd to third base and set up pinch-hitter Alejandro De Aza's game-winning sacrifice fly.

But it was Tomlinson's defense that most directly helped the Giants sustain their faint postseason hopes and improve their home record against Los Angeles this season to 7-0, representing their longest single-season home winning streak against their archrivals since they won eight in a row at Candlestick Park in 1961.

Tomlinson on walk-off win

Giants manager Bruce Bochy certainly appreciated Tomlinson's wizardry with the glove.

"We saw what defense can do, especially in [last year's] World Series with [Joe] Panik's play."

That, of course, was a reference to Panik's stop of Eric Hosmer's scorching grounder and gloved-hand flip to shortstop Brandon Crawford to start a double play. Though this wasn't as big of a stage, Tomlinson relished the chance to excel. He was still nagged by the memory of an Aug. 7 game at Chicago, when a couple of grounders similar to those he handled Monday eluded him.

"They kicked off the wrong part of my glove," Tomlinson said. "It was a little frustrating. But that's kind of part of the game."

So's redemption.

"I feel like there are times when you're making all of the plays and you kind of get in a flow," he said.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.