Tonight's Giants vs. Dodgers epic drama lived up to all the hype that the theatrical trailer-like previews seen at AT&T Park and sfgiants.com portrayed the rivalry series to be. And it ended happily ever after with the climactic homerun off the bat of Juan Uribe against a hanging Jonathon Broxton slider in the top of the 9th. This bolt of lightening gave the Giants a 5-4 lead that they would not give back. Brian Wilson (39 Saves) came in and pitched a scoreless ninth, although he gave up 2 singles in the inning to Blake and Carroll, to cap off one of the most thrilling Giants victory not only of the year, but in the rivalry's history. Matt Cain surrendered 4 runs, on 7 hits, and 6 strikeouts including a 3-run 4th inning homerun from Jay Gibbons, which increased the deficit to 4-0. Casey Blake, who has been a major pest for the Giants since he has been with the Dodgers, doubled in the first run of the 4th before the big home run (the inning started with a leadoff walk to Rafael Furcal). Javier Lopez (4-2) picked up the win by pitching a scoreless eighth. The Giants ended up scoring 5 runs from the 7th inning on.
The Giants offense received a wake-up call from Buster Posey against Ted Lily in the 7th, as he belted a long home run to left. Lily, at that point, had only given up 1 hit, a long Aaron Rowand double, until Posey's big fly. Hit number 3 came an inning later on an Edgar Renteria screamer that cleared the wall and barely stayed fair. That was all for Lily. Octavio Dotel came on in relief. Pat Burrell then pinched hit for Matt Cain, and he too hit a home run to left-center, cutting the deficit to 4-3. Still in the eighth, after Freddy Sanchez walked, Kuo came in and retired both Huff and Posey on flyouts. Still, these 7th and 8th inning runs would prove vital in fueling the stunning Giants comeback at Chavez Ravine in front of a devastated crowd of 48,220. With San Diego losing it's 9th straight, the Giants have pulled to within 2 games of first place and remain 3 behind the Phillies for the wild card lead.
It's 1:07 AM, so I am going to keep my thoughts brief, but, boy, the Dodgers are really not the same team as last year. They are making too many mistakes major league teams should not make. A perfect example was the 6th inning double from James Loney that he tried to stretch into a triple. As he rounded second, he fell down. He had no business trying for third with nobody out. He is not all that fast. I know you are supposed to be aggressive on the bases when you have a 4-0 lead, but every run matters and you got to run the bases aggressively, but smart. Who knows? A leadoff double could have very well turned into a run, and a 5-0 lead may have been too much for the Giants to overcome. A 4-run lead you can tie it with one swing, but you can't hit a 5 run homer. Fortunately, the Giants limited the deficit to one that they could overcome.
Even though Matt Cain gave up 4 runs in the fourth, he bared down and gave up no more. This was huge. It is these kind of efforts that make your offense want to pick you up, and they did. When Buster Posey put the Giants on the board, Cain came out the next half inning and stopped the scoring again. This allowed the momentum to stay on the Giant's side and eventually was a cog in the Giants big comeback. Yes, shutdown innings mean everything even if it's the first run and you're trailing 4-1 (Zito could have learned a thing or two from Cain yesterday). Great pitchers hold the line after your team scores, and that is what Cain is shaping up to be.
The Dodgers fell to 61-7 when leading after eight innings (2 of those losses from the Giants). The Giants hit 4 home runs in the game, tying a season high. Wilson is now tied with Greg Minton fourth on the all-time Giant's saves list with 125. 8 of the 9 runs scored tonight were on home runs. The season series between the Giants and Dodgers is now tied at 7.
Tomorrow the Giants and Dodgers square of on Sunday Night Baseball. Huroki Kuroda and Jonathon Sanchez will be your starters. Unfortunately, I have to give the edge to the Dodgers here. Kuroda has been nails against the Giants, while Sanchez struggles against the Dodgers. But, I could be wrong as I was tonight. I surely did not see this win coming, so let's see what happens. As Marty Lurie, says baseball is like a new story, and a chapter unfolds every day.