I had an entirely different post ready to go in the top of the ninth. Can you blame me? The Giants were down 3-2, they had only two hits, and for the second time in two weeks they looked despondent after facing their new Cuban nemesis, Odrisamer Despaigne.
Somehow, a squad that had spent the better part of a month finding different ways to lose ended up winning 5-3, and Tim Lincecum didn’t even pitch today.
It took a home run from Michael Morse in the top of the ninth. The one-month sabbatical is over, as Morse put all 250 lbs or whatever he weighs into a hanging slider from Huston Street, sending a game-tying homer into the second deck. Morse nearly gave himself a concussion smacking his own head as he rounded first. The Giants had new life.
It took a Brandon Crawford diving stop to prolong the game in the bottom of the ninth. Sergio Romo came in and allowed a leadoff double to Chase Headley, and if Crawford didn’t go all Superman and snare Yasmani Grandal’s shot up the middle, Romo would’ve walked off the field with another loss.
It took Romo getting Cameron Maybin to hit a pop fly to Crawford, then striking out Carlos Quentin. After an intentional walk to Jake “Go-Gurt” Goebbert, things looked rather grim. Romo celebrated that inning-ending whiff with Tasmanian Devil-esque ferocity, and who could blame him?
It took Hunter Pence’s double to lead off the 10th. It wasn’t an ordinary double, mostly because it was an ordinary-looking grounder to left-center. With Maybin shading Pence to right field and not running nearly as fast to retrieve the ball as Pence did around the bases, the Giants had an instant rally.
It took Brandon Belt’s rally-killing home run to right field to win it. Belt was hitless in his first eight plate appearances (including a walk) after coming off the disabled list, but the power he flashed on a near-daily basis during his minor league rehab stint was readily apparent when he turned around that 94-mph fastball from Dale “I swear I’m not Doug Jones” Thayer.
— It also took a strong outing from Tim Hudson, who allowed just three hits and a run over six innings. No walks. It made sense to take Hudson out for a pinch-hitter in the seventh with a runner on third and one out, but Jean Machi failed to hold up his end in the bottom of the seventh. Machi’s deal with the devil has probably expired, but Hudson was good and that should not be forgotten.
— The crowds in San Diego shouldn’t surprise me anymore, but they still do. Poor Padres fans. Or maybe I should be saying “poor Padres players.”
Not exactly fair that the Giants have the two nicest home ballparks in California
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) July 6, 2014
— “We don’t mean to numb Giants fans with these subpar numbers,” said Fox play-by-play robot Matt Vasgersian, before reciting more depressing numbers. The Fox crew had about 200 depressing numbers to report over the game’s first four innings, and Vasgersian did so with joy and aplomb. Eric Karros wondered aloud whether Romo might come in to pitch the 10th after his 20-pitch ninth. If you got the feeling that neither guy knew much about the Giants outside of Buster Posey (whose All-Star case they pimped about 20 times) and Lincecum, that’s because it was probably the truth.
— Vasgersian also called Pence “gangly” and “off-putting” while comparing his high socks to lederhosen. Gangly, sure. Off-putting? In a game where they interviewed Ian Kennedy and his glistening ginger beard for an entire half inning? Sure, buddy.
— Pablo Sandoval swung at a pitch that hit him in the left elbow in the first inning. Belt was caught stealing right afterward, sending Sandoval back to the dugout without an official plate appearance and out of the game due to an elbow contusion. It was a fitting start to a game that was mighty frustrating through the first eight innings.
— It was the Giants’ second victory in July, their fifth in their last 20 games, and their sixth in their last 24. With the Dodgers losing 8-7 to the Rockies earlier in the day, they’re just a half-game back. They’re a half-game AHEAD of the Dodgers in the loss column. It’s hard to remember the position they’re so lucky to be in
sometimes just about all the time.
— The beaches are pretty nice here in Kauai, or so I’ve heard. I didn’t plan on watching this game, but rainy weather and Fox showing the Giants sucked me in. (I’m such a loser.) So … I’ll be taking at least one day off from Giants coverage, maybe several. That is, unless Lincecum throws his third no-hitter against the Padres tomorrow. Then I might have a couple things to say.