For the first time since 2004, the Giants reached an important milestone.
After tonight's thrilling 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Giants won their 90th game of the season behind strong starting pitching from their ace Tim Lincecum.
Although Lincecum did not have his best stuff, struggling to even reach 91 miles per hour on the radar gun and hanging many off-speed pitches, he still pitched a gem of a game. In his 7 inning effort, Lincecum yielded just 1 run, 6 hits, and 4 walks. He struck out 11 Diamondbacks en route to his 16th win.
The lone run that Lincecum and the Giants gave up came from the very first hitter of the game, Stephen Drew. Lincecum poured a fastball for the first pitch of the game and earned a called struck, but on the very next pitch, Drew launched it over the right field wall. Before you can blink an eye, the Diamondbacks were up 1-0.
The losing pitcher, Ian Kennedy, was the tough luck loser, falling to 9-10. In his 5 innings of work, Kennedy gave up 3 runs and 5 hits, while striking out 4. Those 3 runs came in one inning, on a 4th inning home run by Pat Burrell, his 18th as a Giant.
The Giants' bullpen got it done again, although it wasn't easy. In the top of the ninth, with a 3-1 lead, Wilson gave up a lead-off double to pinch hitter Augie Ojeda. The next batter, Stephen Drew, grounded out, advancing Ojeda to third. Next came Mark Reynolds, who pinched hit for Tony Abreu. On a 1-2 count, Reynolds was on a 96 mph 1-2 fastball down the middle, but all he could do was foul it off. He would end up walking. Wilson would then strike out Kelley Johnson, and then retired Chris Young on a ground-out in the hole to Juan Uribe. Uribe scooped the ball up with his backhand and fired a strike to second for the force-out on Reynolds, ending the game.
The Padres defeated the Cubs 3-0 at Petco Park. However, with the Giants winning, the Giants' magic number reduced to 3. At the earliest, the Giants could clinch the NL West Championship on Friday. The Giants could certainly taste the champagne, but first, they got to take care of business one game at a time.
Watch the 10th inning on PBS when it comes on. It is really good. If you're reading this now, its on at the moment. If you're a baseball fan, don't miss it.
What can I say about Pat Burrell? Tampa Bay just dumped him and basically thanked the Giants for taking him off their hands. Well, the Giants received a clutch hitter, who has hit more big home runs than I can remember in recent Giants history. To top it off, Tampa picked up the 10 million dollar tab on Burrell. After the game-winning taters against the Dodgers and in other big games, I can safely say that the Rays got the short end of the stick.
Tim Lincecum once again proved why he was an ace. He did not have his best stuff nor did he have consistent knee-high command. However, he was crafty, keeping hitters off-balance and managing to coax 11 Diamondbacks strikeouts. I don't think I've ever seen a pitcher get away with so many hanging off-speed pitches, but when you're Tim Lincecum, it does not matter.
This And That
Wilson earned his 47th save of the year. He is one shy of Rod Beck's single-season Giants save record of 48. The Diamondbacks/Giants season series is at 12-5 Giants. Tim Lincecum leads the national league in strikeouts with 231. If this holds up, it will be his 3rd straight year doing so. Tomorrow, the Giants send out Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.06 ERA) against the DBacks' Barry Enright (6-6, 3.73 ERA).