I apologize for the very short post tonight. Got homework tonight, so I gotta make this quick.
In a game that was delayed nearly an hour and a half due to rain at Wrigley Field, the Giants were indeed happy that they got this one in.
The game wasn't the only thing put on hold for the Giants. Their bats did not come forward until the later innings. With one out in the eighth and a scoreless tie, Buster Posey hit a bolt of lightening that cleared the center-field fence and landed in the Wrigley Field basket just in front of the bleachers, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead that they would not give back.
The Giants' pitching staff once again got it done again. As the Cubs' ace Carlos Zambrano was putting up 0's (6 scoreless innings pitched, 3 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts), Matt Cain was able to match him. In his six shutout innings, Cain surrendered 2 hits and 1 walk, while only striking out 2.
As has been typical, the Giants' bullpen was superb, pitching 3 perfect innings. Ramon Ramirez, who relieved Cain in the 7th, picked up the win and improved to 1-0. The loss went to Andrew Cashner, who fell to 2-6. Brian Wilson was summoned in the ninth and earned his 44th save of the year.
The Giants had opportunities throughout the game to breakthrough on the scoreboard earlier, but could not capitalize. Most notable was the fifth inning. With runners at first and second with 1 out, Freddy Sanchez hit a sharp ground ball up the middle that was dove for and gobbled up by Cubs' shortstop Starlin Castro. Castro promptly got up and through Ross out at second. Had this gone through, the Giants would have scored their first run in the top of the fifth. Two batters later, Buster Posey would fly-out to end the threat.
With Colorado losing and San Diego winning, the Giants remain in first place by a half game ahead of the Padres and 2.5 games ahead of the Rockies.
Even though the Giants only scored one run, their plate approach was much better tonight. In 6 innings, they coaxed 116 pitches from Carlos Zambrano and left it up to the shaky Cubs bullpen. Sure enough, it was the Cubs' bullpen that lost the game for them. Cody Ross was a good example of the Giants' display of patience. He went 1 for 3 with a walk, but that's not the whole story. In his first at-bat to lead off the game, he worked the count to 3-2 and did the same in a later at-bat. Even though he struck out in those two plate appearances, he made Zambrano throw a lot of pitches, allowed him to see more pitches, and also allowed the entire team to see more pitches. With the way Zambrano was manipulating the movement of the ball tonight, he was very tough to hit, so they needed to work the count to get him out and into the Cubs' bullpen. That is exactly what happened. If they continue this patience throughout the road trip, they are gonna score a lot of runs.
This and That
The Giants' 1-0 win was their 15th straight game of allowing 3 runs or fewer. This ties a record for the third-longest single-season streak in the live ball era. Tomorrow, Jonathan Sanchez (11-8, 3.21 ERA) will face Randy Wells (7-13, 4.46 ERA).