SAN FRANCISCO -- Responding to the challenge of replacing closer Brian Wilson, Santiago Casilla punctuated the Giants' 4-2 victory Tuesday over Philadelphia by converting his first save opportunity since the three-time All-Star closer was sidelined.Casilla coaxed two groundouts to open the ninth inning before Juan Pierre singled softly to left field. Shane Victorino hit a low liner that shortstop Brandon Crawford dove for and caught on one hop before straightening and throwing to first for the final out. "He had great stuff," manager Bruce Bochy said of Casilla, whose fastball was recorded at 95 mph as he threw seven strikes in 10 pitches. "He pounded the strike zone. That's what you want to see from the closer." Bochy had said that Casilla would be "first in line" to attempt to preserve late-inning leads, ahead of Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez. Casilla went 6-for-6 in converting save opportunities after Wilson was sidelined with elbow problems last year. Bochy also reiterated that he still might use Casilla, Romo and Lopez in various combinations to secure the game's final six outs. "The best man for that situation gets called upon and Bochy's the one to decide this," Romo said. Few statistical differences separate the trio. The platoon splits are what you might expect. Right-handers Casilla and Romo dominate right-handed hitters, who hit .155 and .150 off them last year, respectively. The left-handed Lopez was similarly tough against left-handed batters (.163). But Casilla fared better than Lopez when the hitter had the platoon advantage. Lopez allowed right-handed batters to hit .276 off him a year ago, while Casilla limited lefties to a .234 average. Romo also fared well against left-handed hitters, who batted .229 off him last year. But his history of minor arm ailments prevents him from fitting the profile of an ideal closer.
Burrell throws out Giants' first pitch
SAN FRANCISCO -- In a nice convergence of circumstances, the Giants invited Pat Burrell to toss Tuesday night's ceremonial first pitch, a gesture that acknowledged his contributions to the 2010 World Series-winning club.And it just so happened that the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom Burrell spent the bulk of his 12-year Major League career, were in town. That club will honor Burrell next month with pregame ceremonies in Philadelphia and by signing him to a one-day contract that will enable him to retire as a Phillie. Burrell recalled seeing the Phillies extend similar tributes to Mike Lieberthal and Doug Glanville while he played for them.
"I remember it was a really nice thing for the organization to do," Burrell said.But if Burrell's past is associated mostly with the Phillies, his immediate future lies primarily with the Giants. He spent most of Spring Training accompanying various Giants scouts to Cactus League games, learning the subtleties of that craft.
"He has been some help already," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, noting that Burrell has pointed out nuances of certain pitchers that escaped other observers.Forced to retire after last season by a right foot injury, Burrell said that he hasn't missed being on the field.
"When I didn't play in Interleague games, I kind of knew I probably wouldn't play after last season," said Burrell, sporting his Giants World Series ring on his right hand. "So I had three months or so to kind of prepare for that. I just knew I physically couldn't do it. So in that respect it wasn't difficult."
Burriss seeing plenty of time at second base
SAN FRANCISCO -- Emmanuel Burriss started his fifth game in a row at second base Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies, but that didn't necessarily make him a regular.Bruce Bochy said that Ryan Theriot will start Wednesday night's game against Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee, thus reflecting the manager's semi-official intent to use the switch-hitting Burriss against right-handed pitching and the right-handed-swinging Theriot against lefties. Though Burriss still struggles with left-handed pitching -- he's 1-for-23 in those situations dating back to last season -- he entered Tuesday batting .273 overall.
"I think he deserves to be out there right now," Bochy said.Burriss and Theriot could divide playing time more equally in the immediate future. The Giants will face two left-handers (Jonathan Niese and Johan Santana) and two right-handers (Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee) in their upcoming four-game series at New York.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.