This was exactly how the script was written for the 2010 San Francisco Giants -- a dominant Tim Lincecum outing, just enough offense, and Brian Wilson closing it out with his blazing 96 mph fastball. All this was displayed at AT&T Park Wednesday Night in front of a crowd of 31,186. The Giants were no-hit by Ubaldo Jimenez for the first four innings until Jose Guillen lead off the 5th with a single to right field. He would later score on a Mike Fontenot single tying the game at 1 (Rockies scored earlier on a Carlos Gonzales home run to left center, an oppo taco that cleared the 404 marker). But the heroics began in the bottom of the eighth inning. After rookie Darren Ford pinch ran for Mike Fontenot at first, Tim Lincecum bunted him over to second on a 1-2 pitch. With Andres Torres at the plate, Ford tried to steal 3rd and eventually scored on a Miguel Olivo throwing error into left field. This was enough to secure the win and the series victory for the Giants. Oh by the way, all Lincecum did was go 8 innings, gave up 5 hits, 1 earned run, while striking out 9.
Man, this was such a great game, watching it from section 328. The energy was definitely there (it's September baseball baby!). My favorite moment of the game was in the bottom of the eighth inning when the whole crowd stood up as Lincecum took his at-bat. I thought for sure he was going to come out in the ninth, but leaving in the starter did not work so well Monday night. However tonight, Wilson got a clean inning and nailed it.
I really need to thank F.P. Santangelo for giving me something to talk about in my blog. I'm usually writing this while listening to Sportsphone 680, so some of my info comes directly from him. If you, by some chance, are reading F.P., keep on doing your thing on weeknights. 3 out!!! One of the things I learned from him tonight was that Darren Ford actually had never been to a big-league baseball before tonight's game. Yes, that's right. The first time Ford ever stepped into a major league stadium (not just played in one) was tonight at AT&T Park. While most of us are remembering the action from our first big-league game from the bleachers or the nosebleeds on the third deck, Darren Ford will recall this one as he pumped his fist while scoring the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.
The coaching staff really showed me something tonight. They will do whatever it takes to win. On a 1-2 count to Lincecum in eighth, Bochy sent the runner Ford on a bunt-and-run. Turned out Ford needed not to run, but I like the gutsy call (considering Lincecum popped up the first two for strikes). What do you guys think? Was the call good for ball or bad for ball? If that ball is popped to an infielder, there's an easy double play, and the moans and groans from Monday would have certainly returned. Oh by the way, I wanted to give props to bench coach Ron Wotus. It was him who suggested that Ford pinch run for Fontenot to which Bochy replied "that's a hell of an idea!" (found this out courtesy of F.P. during Sportsphone 680).
Overall, the Giants went 5-4 on the home stand. Was it a successful home stand? Not bad, but they really should have gone 7-2. Funny thing is, the Giants take 2/3 from the two good teams, but lose 2/3 to the last place Diamondbacks. Go figure, but that's baseball where anything can happen; like a new story that unfolds as Marty Lurie would say. It's not always about who's good on paper. Who wins or loses is determined by a variety of factors such as the pitching match-up and who's hot at a given time (DBacks continued their roll and swept a three game series against a Padres team who has a better record than the Giants right now).
As I and Las Vegas predicted, the Giants did win, but I thought there would be much more scoring considering the 77 degrees game-time temperature. But, not many balls were hit in solidly in the air tonight, so I guess we couldn't really see the balls go out (although Cargo's opposite field shot seemed to really carry out in a hurry). I'm just glad the starting pitching is finally back (Lincecum once again has regained his control. He was locating that fastball off the changeup, which had a great downward bite tonight. Velocity is still down at 91 mph, but that's more than enough), and I hope the Giants can continue this hot streak in this pivotal road trip through the west coast. Can't wait until Friday night's game vs. LA. We will find out how resilient the San Francisco Giants really are when they step off the plane in San Francisco in about a week and a half from tonight.
Last thing. Freddy Sanchez's play to end the game was awesome! Check it out on www.sfgiants.com when you get a chance. I also made a good call on it on my phone while I was practicing play-by-play. I'll try to get those up soon. Let me know what everyone thinks. I am curious to hear your comments.
Notable Scores: Phillies 5 Doyers 1 -- Giants remain 1.5 behind Philly, Padres 2 DBacks 5 -- Giants now just 3 behind San Diego.