Who’d have thought the guy with the nerdy glasses would help save the Giants’ season?
That would be Kelby Tomlinson, the 12th-round draft pick who’d never hit much prior to this season. The 25-year-old was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento after second baseman Joe Panik went down, and all he did was hit a grand slam and a walk-off single in consecutive games. In the minors, he hit eight homers in five seasons.
First it was Matt Duffy, the skinny guy with the fat cat who might win National League Rookie of the Year honors. Now it’s Tomlinson. Where do the Giants find these guys?
“I’ve heard from some old friends,” Tomlinson told Balls about his new-found popularity. “It’s pretty cool for everyone to let me know that they’re keeping up on all that stuff. It has been crazy the last two days. It has started sink sink it, but once you get back on the field, it’s time to go again. What happens yesterday doesn’t matter.”
Fact is, the Giants wouldn’t be within a zip code of a playoff spot if not for guys such as Tomlinson, Duffy and Chris Heston, all of whom practically came out of nowhere to make significant contributions.
“Give credit to our scouts and player development people for the type of players we’re getting in here,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “They’re taught well in the minor leaguers then come up here and done and nice job for us.
“The fact that in spring training, our minor league complex is very close the major league complex, we get to see these guys and they get to see the major league players. That’s helps them feel more comfortable when they get up here.”
HAPPY ANN’Y: Saturday marked the 38th anniversary of Duane Kuiper’s first and only home run in 3,754 plate appearances in the big leagues, a tape-measure blast off the Chicago White Sox’s Steve Stone in Cleveland.
OK, it wasn’t a tape-measure blast or even a blast, but it did go over the fence on a fly, we’ve been assured.
Recalled Kuiper, “(Broadcaster) Al Michaels was doing the game. When my ball went out, it was the first time he used ‘Do you believe in miracles?’ ”
GOLD LINING: The best thing to come out of the 49ers’ preseason has been the play of NaVorro Bowman at linebacker. And while rookie Jarryd Haynes makes for a nice story, there’s not a close second to Bowman’s comeback.
He looked like his old beasty self against the Broncos in Denver on Saturday. He finished with nine tackles (seven solo), two sacks and a pair of tackles for negative yardage.
Bowman and the defense had better be good when the bell sounds two weeks from now, because his team appears to be overmatched on the other side of the ball .
JOE COOL TO ‘STICK: Joe Montana paid his final respects to the late Candlestick Park the other day, and the Hall of Fame quarterback shed nary a tear while he was there.
“This is the best it’s ever looked,” Montana joked to the local CBS affiliate. “The field looks about the same. Even now it’s still wet.”
Montana and the 49ers won three NFC Championship Games in the mudhole, but at last it was their mudhole.
“The reason it was great to play here is the fans,” Montana said. “Other than that, if you go back on the fields that we played on, it probably was one of the worst next to Philadelphia’s (Veterans Stadium), the one (where) the team to refused to play that one game.
“This thing had all of its problems. In the beginning, we had the baseball field with it. They had dust storms that would go through. It was slippery for the kickers when you were on it or tried to make a cut. Then they replaced that with crushed red brick, which was like hitting cement. Then we went through the days after (the Giants) left, and they called it The Quagmire for the longest time because the dirt just kept coming up. Other than the fans, it and wasn’t the greatest place to play.”
HERE’S TO 67 MORE: One of the joys of baseball is a Vin Scully broadcast, and lucky for us, the Hall of Famer plans to be back for his 67th season next year.
To get an idea of how much Scully has meant to the game, consider that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ voice has been active in 59 percent of all seasons in the World Series era.
Scully also has this San Francisco connection: He was behind mind the CBS mike for the greatest player in 49ers’ history.
“Montana . . . . looking, looking, throwing in the end zone . . . Clark caught it! Dwight Clark . . . It’s a madhouse at Candlestick!”
EX-A’S PLAYER OF THE DAY: One day after he launched a 444-foot home run into the fifth deck in Toronto, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson came down to Earth with three hits, two RBI and two runs scored.