It all started when Tim Lincecum decided that if he wasn’t going to get the win, or even have much of a chance of seeing the sixth inning, he was going to still make his mark. The mark would be circular, about 3.5 inches in diameter, preferably with two distinct lines of stitches, and hopefully somewhere between the glutes and the jaw bone. After Lincecum finally gained proper revenge for Vicente Padilla’s vicious beaning of Aaron Rowand and Matt Kemp’s decision to attempt to steal second base with a 9-3 lead in April, it almost didn’t matter if the Giants won tonight.
(They won, right? I couldn’t bear to watch when Ethier came up.)
Everyone knows this was the best, craziest game of the year. Here’s 10 things I’ll remember:
1. LOVED Krukow’s reaction to Kemp hitting the deck on the pitch before getting hit, as if Kemp were some sort of flopping midfielder from the French World Cup team.
2. After Kemp was drilled, everything that happened tonight was absolutely golden, and it was in no small part due to Pablo Sandoval, who trotted down the line and got in between Kemp and Lincecum. Not sure we want to see if Timothy knows Karate. And then Kemp overslides going into third and gets tagged out! What a maroon.
3. Russell Martin complained a ton after getting knocked down an inning later by a head-seeking missile from Denny Bautista, and the next scene was fantastic, too: Sandoval was ready to pounce on anyone near him and spent a while during a conference at the mound pumping up Bautista, then Adrian Johnson came out and decided he needed to reprimand Bautista for responding to Martin’s chirping. Sandoval stepped between the umpire and Bautista (kind of a theme for the night, apparently, along with another virtuoso performance at the plate) and Buster Posey looked downright annoyed with Johnson, saying (if I read his lips correctly), “OK! We got it from here.” As the kids say, that made me LOL.
4. Posey, 14-game hitting streak.
5. Not charging the mound was the best play Aaron Rowand has made all season, although his sacrifice bunt in the ninth was definitely in the top 5.
6. Who says only NBA refs navigate games mostly with makeup calls? Tonight the Dodgers had a bench coach, manager and starting pitcher tossed, the play that will forever be known as “The Mattingly U-Turn,” and their leadoff hitter called out at first after Pele Panda kicked the ball around when he was probably safe. Still, Phil Cuzzi should be demoted.
7. Usually great Giants baseball means an infield throw that goes down the line or into the stands, but a dropped fly ball with men on base … close enough.
8. Loved the scene in the dugout after The Mattingly U-Turn, with Nate Schierholtz explaining to Travis Ishikawa exactly what he saw while he was out on base. It helped that Schierholtz was giddy (or as close as he ever has looked to giddy, anyway) after scoring on Andres Torres’ thuggish double (sorry, no other word better describes how Torres jumped on that pitch from poor George Sherrill).
9. Most visceral, predatory moment of the game: Sherrill having to trudge into the game after throwing no more than four times in the bullpen, with Jonathan Broxton walking his gigantic posterior and even larger uniform into the dugout while Don Mattingly wanted to crawl into a 30-foot hole and Larry Bowa probably had eight blood vessels in his left eye burst simultaneously. Made me feel like I was in the crowd at the Coliseum thousands of years ago when they used to feed people to lions.
10. Andre Ethier looked PRETTY confident in the on-deck circle. Made the strikeout even sweeter (yes, I watched it). And hey Dodger fans, at least the guy who finished the game was Jeremy Affeldt, so I’m sure there were no histrionics on the mound afterward that would further perturb the boys in blue. He’s usually so low-key — the Barry Sanders of set-up men, if you will.
It’s Zito’s time to shine. Good thing he doesn’t allow people he doesn’t know in his house anymore!