It was the Giants’ 30th win of the season, a 6-2 win over a nondescript American League team. Take a quick glance at the box score, and this one was a total cinch. No problem. But it wasn’t THAT easy.
The Twins came into San Francisco after winning six of their previous seven games, and Tim Lincecum had a comically bad strike/ball ratio, especially early. Angel Campos’ strike zone wasn’t the best, nor was Hector Sanchez’s pitch-framing. But look past the six walks and the mustache-free starter came through with his fourth quality start in five May chances. Laugh if you want, but the so-called “quality start” is all the Giants are looking for from their fourth starter every fifth or sixth day.
(When Lincecum’s head hits the pillow, sometime tonight between midnight and 6 am — depending on the degree to which he celebrates his fourth win of the season — he’ll feel grateful that Brian Dozier got picked off after hitting a leadoff first-pitch double to start the game. That was a huge gift.)
The star of this game looked to be Pablo Sandoval, since the guy smacked a pitch into the right field arcade with two men on in the first inning to give the Giants an early three-run lead they wouldn’t relinquish. But Brandon Hicks came close to usurping Sandoval with a high-velocity homer to left (his eighth of the season), a sacrifice fly (after a triple by the sneaky-powerful Brandon Crawford) and more surprisingly strong defense.
Is Hicks’ glove still a surprise? I’m still not sure. He looked pretty shaky early this season, but Hicks seems kind of like Jeff Kent out there lately — strong arm, and steady, steady, steady.
A Joe Mauer chopper bounced over the head of Jeremy Affeldt, who jumped as high as he could (why?!?!). Hicks made the barehand play and got the putout at first. He was also in the middle of another double play, a key one in the eighth after Jean Machi came in with runners on first and second with one out.
While Marco Scutaro is recovering from platelet-rich plasma therapy, Hicks is making a .200 average look cool.
— Does anyone know what caused all that smoke to cover the field in the middle of the game? I can’t for the life of me remember which inning it was (top of the fourth or fifth, I’m pretty sure), but Dave Flemming seemed to think there was a fire in the nearby vicinity.
— The Twins left 10 guys on base. The Giants stranded only one.
— Michael Morse hasn’t had one day off yet. Yes, the same guy who’s played over 102 games in a season all of one time (146 games for Washington in 2011). He’s not Hunter Pence. He needs days off. Not a day off. Days.
— Five outs in 13 pitches for Machi, who could very well end up closing for at least a couple weeks at some point this season. Sergio Romo has worked an awful lot already, and Santiago Casilla is out for at least four weeks. Machi looked completely freaked out when he picked up his first big league save in L.A. on May 11, but either he wasn’t aware today was a save situation or he broke the seal … in a good way.
Here’s Machi blowing away Mauer. (via @LOLKNBR)