my miscellany

Dodgers 6, Giants 2 — 11 May 14

Dodgers 6, Giants 2

10 May 14

Matt Cain returned from the disabled list to start and to pitch creditably into the sixth inning. The Giants were leading 2-0 when Cain walked Dee Gordon, Michael Morse failed to reach a catchable ball off the bat of Yasiel Puig, and Cain walked Hanley Ramirez. Jeremy Affeldt came in and held the damage to 2 runs. The Dodgers scored 2 more in the seventh and eighth, and won the game 6-2, the first of about six weeks of games the Giants will play without Brandon Belt. Zack Greinke won his sixth game against one loss.

The Giants are 6-3 on the road trip before its final game on Sunday that promises to be a dandy featuring Tim Hudson squaring off against Clayton Kershaw making his second start since returning from the disabled list. It will be their first meeting in 2014 and one of baseball’s premier matchups this season.

Giants Treble Dodgers, 3-1, in Tenth — 9 May 14

Giants Treble Dodgers, 3-1, in Tenth

8 May 14

Throughout the game, beachballs and inflatable seats bounced around the stands at Chavez Ravine whilst the Giants concentrated on pitching and defense. Then, in the tenth, the Giants added some timely hitting in a sacrifice fly by Hector Sanchez and a single by Brandon Belt to defeat their archrivals, 3-1.

Ryan Vogelsong, making his third impressive start consecutively, allowed a measly run in 7.1 innings. He allowed 5 hits, struck out 2, and walked 2. Over those three starts, he lowered his ERA to 3.93 from a stratospheric 7.71.

Brandon Crawford, short, made three outstanding plays after a sharply hit grounder off the bat of Yasiel Puig burned him up. Crawford saved a run in the fourth to frustrate Adrian Gonzalez, and he robbed Hanley Ramirez in the ninth.

Josh Becket started for the Hollywood-ers and fell behind the count numerous times though he never was made to pay for his spotty pitching: the Giants’ timely hitting was to come after he left the game in search of a shower.

Dodgers’ relievers J.P. Howell and Jamey Wright walked the bases loaded in the tenth, setting the stage for Sanchez’ sacrifice fly and Belt’s insurance single.

The Giants moved to 5-2 on the road trip with three more games in Los Angeles. They widened their lead over the Rockies (who were shut-out by Texas of the American League) and to 3.5 over the refugees from Brooklyn.

Giants Endure to Beat the Pirates, 11-10 — 6 May 14

Giants Endure to Beat the Pirates, 11-10

5 May 14

As sweet as the victory is, so, to the same degree, would have the defeat been bitter. No ordinary game has so many unusual features, so many tip-offs of its special quality and perhaps its significance in the molding and developing of a team. So unusual a game, regardless of its significance, hangs around in the memory of the players and the fans, and that alone can mean that it has more power than accrues to one of one hundred and sixty-two.

When a game goes 13 innings, ends at 12:36 am, and features two starting pitchers as pinch-hitters, a throw hitting an umpire, two replay challenges, a strikeout that requires 14 pitched balls, an 8-2 lead being blown, and a team that went 0-for-Atlanta with RISP connecting for 8 hits in those situations, it has distinguished itself in the present and potentially may motivate the victors and intimidate all opponents. And that’s what happened yesterday. So powerful was the game in the present, that each day’s observance will include looking for its wake, its enduring consequences and effects.

The story of the winning run breathes that power though it is easily told. Jean Machi, asked to bunt for the first time as a professional ballplayer, dropped down a beauty and busted his 255-pound body up the first base line drawing a poor (sleepy?, lackadaisical?) throw that went far enough awry to permit Hunter Pence to scamper around for second base and to put the Giants ahead and finally to win the game. Sergio Romo gathered the save on 8 pitches; 7 were strikes.

Hector Sanchez’ effort and stamina exemplifies those qualities in the entire team. He had a career-high 4 hits (3 in the magic situation, RISP). He endured the usual foul tips off the mask and chest, had a wild pitch bounce off his bared hand, suffered a tight groin, permitted 3 runners to steal a base, caught all 13 innings, and finally gave the postgame TV interview. And all night long he had a sore throat and nasal congestion. His performance pushes the horizon out further for a single game.

A victory like this can turn a corner for a baseball team. A good team can find within itself the wherewithal to be a very good team.

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