Game Two: After stroking just one hit in Game One, the Yuma Firebird bats began to wake up against Tim Lincecum.

The visiting Frostbite Falls Flying Squirrels started their diminutive ace in hopes of capitalizing on Cole Hamels’ Game One success and taking a two-games-to-none lead in the 2011 BARB World Series. Lincecum, in his fourth BARB season,completed his best year with a 15-6, 2.72 campaign.

Youngster Mat Latos (13-8, 4.13) was Yuma’s starter, and he was the first to crack. Rickie Weeks led off the third inning and turned on a ball, sending it down the left field line and over the fence!


That, apparently, was the wake-up call the Firebirds needed.Shane Victorino led off the bottom of the third with a four-pitch walk and stole second on the first pitch to Rod Barajas. The second offering to the burly backstop was smoked in the five hole to easily plate Victorino and tie the contest. Lead-off man Rafael Furcal continued the rally by lining a single over Weeks to move Barajas to third. Nick Markakis stroked the third single ina row, this a bloop to center, and Yuma took the lead.

But the Firebirds weren’t done there. Furcal and Markakis executed a double-steal against the Lincecum/Victor Martinez tandem, which enabled Ryan Braun’s groundout to be of the run-scoring variety rather than a tailor-made double play. With the runner on second base and just one out, Lincecum was instructed to intentionally walk Joey Votto. Ryan Zimmerman was next, and he loaded the bases with another single, which brought up Vladimir Guerrero.

The aging DH hit a slow chopper. Weeks flipped to Jose Reyes, who fired to first…


Somehow, Guerrero summoned his long-gone speed to beat out a double play and increase the Yuma lead. Martin Prado’s grounder forced Guerrero at second, but as the middle of the game approached, Yuma had taken the lead in a big way:


Neither squad threatened in the next few innings. Latos allowed three hits and three walks through six, but after he allowed one more of each to begin the seventh (Drew Stubbs doubled and Reyes walked), Yuma management inserted Tyler Clippard to face Weeks. The second-sacker, batting eighth in the lineup, made his case for a higher spot. The 1-1 Clippard pitch was launched to left, ending up 10 rows back in the bleachers. With one swing of the bat, the game was tied.


Lincecum also lasted into the seventh, but he was pulledwhen Barajas singled to lead off. Chris Perez, however, didn’t quite have aClippard moment: a double play and groundout sandwiched around a double endedthe inning.

Perez came back out for the eighth and experienced trouble. He K’d Votto on a full count and got a can of corn from Zimmerman. But his control left him, and the next four bullets (to pinch-hitter Denard Span) were wide. Joel Hanrahan was brought on, and up came Prado. The Yuma second baseman was clutch, doubling over Jason Heyward’s head in left to easily score the speedy Span.


The home crowd was going wild, and they celebrated even more when closer Rafael Soriano (a former Squirrel) came on and shut down the top of the Squirrels’ order to close out the victory. The Series headed to Frostbite Falls for three games in a one-all tie.

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