The Giants did something last night that I hadn’t seen them do in almost two months: they fought. When the Phillies threatened to add more runs in the 7th and 8th innings, the Giants fought to prevent those runs. When Bruce Bochy chose to leave Cain in after Jimmy Rollins’ triple in the 8th, Cain fought to finish the inning. In the top of the 9th, facing Jonathan Papelbon with a 1-0 deficit, the offense fought to build a rally, tie the game, and then pull ahead. In the bottom of the 9th, when Murphy’s Law took over Sergio Romo’s save effort, Romo fought back with the bases loaded and nobody out. Most importantly, the Giants, as a team fought to steal a game – and a series – from the Phillies on the road. If you’re following along at home, you know that road series wins have been a rarity for the defending champs this season.
Wow, it’s good to string a couple of positive posts together here in August. I was looking back at some of my content from last month (my first full month with Cove Chatter), and there was so much negativity. That’s not how this blog was intended to be, but I can’t say the Giants have really provided many positive moments in the past couple months.
Last night’s win felt good. You know those times when one win feels like more than just a win? This was one of those games. You had 8 innings of a pitcher’s duel between two of the National League’s finest pitchers, Cain and Cole Hamels. You had defensive heroics in the 7th, when Michael Martinez attempted to score from 2nd on a single to left field. As Martinez was rounding 3rd, I actually found myself hoping he would try to score. The second he turned toward home, you knew it was over. Jeff Francoeur scooped, loaded and unleashed a seed to Posey, who applied the tag on a diving Martinez. Francoeur just isn’t can’t seem to get the bat going these days, but man, what an arm.
In the 9th, you had all kinds of drama. I don’t know why, but I just had the feeling in this one that Cain wasn’t going to take the loss after 8 brilliant innings of work. And the Giants made sure that didn’t happen. Pence reaches on a slow roller to short. Pill singles the other way on an 0-2 mistake from Papelbon (side note: Pill absolutely crushes pitches up in the zone, doesn’t he?). Roger Kieschnick pinch hits for Frenchy, drives in the tying run with another single (how about those kids?!). Arias singles in the go-ahead run. Four singles, two runs in the 9th, and a fuming Papelbon. That’s the resiliency this team has been missing since May, and it was refreshing to see.
Romo loads the bases with nobody out after three zany plays to start the bottom of the 9th, and all of the hard work on offense looks like it’ll turn out to be a waste. But Romo comes back by inducing two shallow fly balls, and a grounder to third ends it. Game, Giants. Series, Giants. From here on out, win or lose, I don’t think I’ll look at the standings. There’s really no need to. But this was still a win that felt good, for a team who needs a few of those.
Time to see just how much fight those Giants have this weekend in Tampa Bay, where the Rays have been awfully tough this summer. No matter how it turns out, this is a series I’m looking forward to. Keep the good vibes flowing, boys.