Everyone watching the game on television saw the moment when the crowd went crazy after Melky Cabrera’s single in the 8th, his third hit of the game. Cabrera found it impossible to repress a smile, then he took off his helmet and acknowledged the crowd. Cabrera’s only been in a San Francisco Giants uniform for a few months, but he’s quickly become a fan favorite.
That’s what happens when you collect two or three hits every other game, if not more frequently. It doesn’t take a detective to see who the best hitter on the team is this season. Look at the guy with the batting average so gaudy it easily overshadows what could very well turn out to be a career year for Angel Pagan, as well as a remarkable comeback season for Buster Posey and a pitching staff that’s allowed four earned runs in the past three games.
Cabrera also broke Willie Mays’ San Francisco Giants record for hits in the month of May with 50, beating out the 49 hits Mays had 54 years ago.
“I’m very happy that I was able to equal a record of Willie Mays, and maybe one day be a Willie Mays myself,” Cabrera said through a translator after the game.
While 4 home runs over two months isn’t quite Mays-like, everything else Cabrera has been doing on the field certainly qualifies. He’s made glorious plays in the outfield (catches at his shoetops, assists that rewrite NL scouting reports). His baserunning — on display tonight when he followed his third single of the evening by advancing to third base on a single to right by Pagan, beating Justin Upton’s strong, accurate throw by a step — never ceases to amaze and delight. He hits the ball everywhere. He doesn’t miss games. It’s no wonder more than half of you who responded to my post this morning asking who the Giants MVP is after two months (along with a question that, if answered correctly, could win you Giants tickets) picked Melky.
When you become a Giants hero, people like to get into costume. Cabrera’s got his “Melkmen.” When Carl Steward asked Cabrera about those guys in the white outfits, the same smile appeared that we saw Cabrera crack on first base after he broke Mays’ May record (and he smiled before the question was translated into Spanish).
— Buster Posey had two hits, including the hardest-hit ball of the game (I’m pretty sure the Giants have given up hitting homers at AT&T until Pablo Sandoval comes back) and knocked in two. Ho hum, it was Melky’s day.
— Ryan Vogelsong pitched 7 innings, struck out 8 and got out of two bases loaded jams in this one, throwing 117 pitches (which means he threw 110+ pitches in five of his six May starts). Ho hum, it was Melky’s day.
Vogelsong talked again about throwing through Posey’s glove, something he mentioned after other recent starts. So I asked him about what it’s been like to work with Posey this year. “We’re still learning from each other, for sure. I’m kind of a guy that pitches with whatever’s working for me that night. We’re starting to really work good that way,” Vogelsong said. “He kept me in there tonight. The things that happened getting out of jams and stuff, wasn’t just me. He really kept me in there.”
— Santiago Casilla’s been so good, it’s almost a little ridiculous. Bruce Bochy wasn’t sure he could use Casilla again after he pitched the two previous days. On Sunday and Monday Casilla allowed 3 hits over 2.1 innings … on Tuesday he retired the D-Backs in order to lower his ERA to 1.17 and his WHIP to 0.96. In 2-plus years with the Giants, Casilla has allowed 89 hits over 130 innings.
— Clay Hensley isn’t bad, either. Casilla and Hensley both have appeared in 24 games, tying them for 8th among NL relievers.
— Pablo Sandoval made sure Cabrera got a face full of shaving cream in the dugout after the game, and he seemed VERY proud about that in the clubhouse after the game. When he comes back it’ll be interesting to see if Melky stays where he is in the order or if Bochy moves Cabrera back to the No. 2 spot. Have to assume he’ll keep the guy with the best average in the 3-hole.
— It’ll also be fun to see who gives Sandoval the shaving cream treatment after his return.
— Immediately below the press box was a woman who made her presence felt on Tuesday night. That’s a nice way of putting it. She was extremely loud, and shouted things like, “GO PITCHER! NO BALL!” with Vogelsong on the mound. One might suggest that the Giants should put the players’ names on the backs of their jerseys to avoid situations like this. However, the fact that she also yelled, “OPEN YOUR EYES, REF!!!” in response to a called strike on Posey later in the game tells me that probably wouldn’t have helped matters any.
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