The Nationals rode into town with hot pistols, and they have won big and have won small in two games. They have been impressive. The two losses have the Giants looking for meaning, and Madison Bumgarner has supplied it. Henry Schulman quoted him as saying, “We can’t be perfect every time out. It’s just about how quickly you can come back from it. No matter how good you are, you’re going to go through times like this.”
When he said this, he had just lost his fourth game of the season, having won a career-best six in a row, and the Giants had just been handed their first losing streak in three and a half weeks. In the face of a loss, he was clear, intelligent, and perceptive. Allowing two earned runs while striking out five and walking one, he pitched well enough to win on most days against most teams, but he understands the difference between “most” and “always.” The Nationals split that difference, and they make this a most interesting series.
Michael Morse in the eighth, facing Tyler Clippard, had his hand on a golden opportunity. He hit a long foul ball down the line toward left before Clippard delivered a 3-2 fastball that Morse missed. Earlier in the sixth Pablo Sandoval attempted to score from second on Brandon Crawford’s single. But Jayson Werth threw him out. In a tight game, one of these turning points could have turned out differently and given the Giants a W. But they didn’t, and Bumgarner’s philosophy comes in handy when games turn on matters of inches, and when the fans’ interest has to be nourished by superior baseball and not by wins. How quickly the Giants come back against a fine team will have to be enough as we watch expectantly tomorrow.
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.
3 May 14
Brandon Belt hit his eighth, Buster Posey his seventh, and Michael Morse his eighth homer of the season to give the Giants more than they needed to beat the Braves, 3-1. Ryan Vogelsong pitched six full innings allowing a singly run (earned) while walking four and striking out six. Jeremy Affeldt, Jean Machi, and Sergio Romo each pitched an inning. Romo garnered his ninth save. Julio Teheran started for the Braves, and the Giants became the first team in 2014 to post three earned runs facing him.
Tim Lincecum busted up the dugout and the umpires by taking out the lineup card. He wore black glasses and a replica 1946 San Francisco Sea Lions uniform with a towel stuck under it. He said, “I had a good pregame meal. I was able to shed it by the first inning.”
The Dodgers won in eleven in Miami to remain 1.5 games out.
Madison Bumgarner will take the hill on Sunday as the Giants place their road trip’s perfect record, 2-0, on the line. They are now eight games above .500, their high-water mark for the season. They own the third-best record in the major leagues at 19-11.