The Giants have been all business in this postseason run. Buttoned-up and locked down. Some would even say boring.
And then along comes rookie Hunter Strickland.
"My emotions got the best of me," Strickland said, "and I'm not too proud of that."
The 26-year old, hard-throwing right-hander, imploded in the World Series spotlight on Wednesday night. He wasn't solely responsible for the Royals winning Game 2 and evening-up the series at one game apiece heading back home to AT&T Park.
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But he certainly played a large role, with what happened in the bottom of the sixth. It was the most public display of hot-headedness by a Giant on the postseason stage since Jonathan Sanchez got into it with Chase Utley in Game 6 of the 2010 N.L. championship series and the bullpen had to come to the rescue.
"It's intense out there," Bruce Bochy said. "He's an intense kid. It probably got away from him a little bit."
Bochy went to Strickland in a high-pressure moment. And it was one of the rare postseason innings where Bochy's bullpen moves all backfired on him.
Now Bochy may need to reevaluate his bullpen progressions. The Giants already thin 'pen appears to be even thinner right now. Jean Machi hasn't been reliable. For a brief moment it looked like Tim Lincecum might have moved into the key right-hander slot, but he left the game with a back strain.
And now you have to wonder about Strickland. Can he keep the ball in the ballpark and can he be trusted to keep a cool head in the heat of late October?
"That's probably an area he's going to have to work on," said Bochy, who added that he planned to sit down and talk to Strickland. "You're going to give up a home run occasionally….He'll be back out there."
To Strickland's credit, he stood at his locker and answered all the questions after the game. He said he had made a mistake in overreacting in the sixth inning.
With two on in a tied game, Bochy removed starter Jake Peavy and turned to Machi. Machi gave up a hit to Billy Butler, which tied the game. Javier Lopez came in to get out Alex Gordon. And then, with two on, and needed two out, he turned to Strickland. The young pitcher who was with the double-An Richmond Flying Squirrels just a few months ago.
Strickland had had an up and down postseason, getting key strikeouts but also giving up four booming home runs. Bochy had used him in the ninth inning in Game 1 of the World Series, which should have bolstered Strickland's confidence.
But there was very little pressure in that Game 1 appearance. There was plenty of pressure in Game 2. And Strickland didn't handle it well. He threw a wild pitch that allowed both base runners he inherited to advance. Then he gave up a double to Salvador Perez, allowing two runs to score. Then he gave up a towering two-run home run to Omar Infante.
And then he lost it. As Perez came around the bases he and Perez exchanged words. The Royals took offense and came out of their dug out. Strickland kept yelling. The umpires had to get involved and walk Strickland back to the mound. Bochy came out, to calm things down and remove his young pitcher, who was done after just six pitches and two monster hits.
"It all happened pretty quick," he said.
Before the game, Michael Morse was talking about how the Giants all seem to have ice in their veins. Not Strickland. He appears to have flaming lighter fluid in his veins.
"I don't know what happened with that guy," said Perez. "He got mad because Omar hit a homer. When I got close to home plate, he was like, 'Get off the field.' I was surprised. I was like, 'Why you look at me? I didn't hit the homer! Omar hit the homer!'"
That's pretty accurate. Strickland said he was mad at himself and lost his cool.
"I guess there was some miscommunication between us," Strickland said. "What I initially assumed was wrong, and that's my fault for assuming. I was mad at myself and I didn’t control my emotions like I should have."
Strickland and Bryce Harper also exchanged words after Harper his second towering home run off of Strickland.
Now the question is whether Bochy will continue to trust him.
Strickland hopes so.
"I hope he'll call on me," Strickland said. "I've given up four previous (homeruns) and he's still called on me and I've been honored by that."
A reliever's role is to forget. Jeremy Affeldt thinks "Strick" as he calls him, will be fine. He said once the emotions of the loss cool down, he'll talk to his teammate.
"He's got a bullpen mentality" Affeldt said. "He can seem to let things go. He's still learning. He was in Double-A and now he's in the big leagues pitching in the World Series. He's going to mature. This helped his maturation process.
Failure is part of it."
Failure was a big part of it in Game 2. Now the Giants have to figure out a way to rebound.
Ann Killion is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org