11 May 14
The shadows had lengthened at Chavez Ravine this afternoon when the Giants clearly outshone the Dodgers in the fourth game of the series. The Giants won the game 7-4 and the series 3-1 to conclude a ten-game road trip they also won by winning 7 and losing but 3.
Through the sunshine and the shadows the Giants’ resilience impressed. The Dodgers drew their first blood by touching Tim Hudson (who has been golden for the Giants) for 2 earned runs in the sixth. The Giants came back with two of their own in the seventh and took the lead, 4-2, with a run in the eighth.
Sergio Romo blew his first save of the season in the ninth, surrendering a double to Dee Gordon, striking out Yasiel Puig, before suffering a laser-like homer to Hanley Ramirez that tied the score at 4. The Giants persevered with 3 in the tenth before Jean Machi saved the game, his first of the season.
At 24-14, the Giants have tied Milwaukee for the best record in baseball. And they have returned to 10 games above .500. On Monday they begin a seven-game homestand with 3 against the Braves and 4 against the Marlins.
9 May 14
On the first pitch of the second inning, Paul Maholm hit Brandon Belt’s left thumb and broke it. Belt will be examined in San Francisco Saturday, and the examination will help determine the length of recovery time.
Brandon Crawford hit a two-run homer, his third of the trip, and Madison Bumgarner held the Dodgers to Yasiel Puig’s solo homer over 8 innings for his fourth win. MadBum allowed 4 hits, and he struck out 8.
Bumgarner took exception to Puig’s flip of the bat and trot around the bases after his homer over the center field wall. MadBum barked at him near the third base line. Puig turned and yelled back.
The Giants on their road trip are 6-2. Their record is 23-13, their first time at Level 2 (ten games above .500) this season. They are 4.5 games ahead of the Dodgers, and 2 ahead of Colorado. How they manage without Belt has become the first question for the games ahead starting Saturday afternoon (Hudson vs. Kershaw).
6 May 14
The final play encapsulated the game and the rules’ changes that define present-day baseball. And the Giants lost tonight in the second game of a thrilling and tied series in Pittsburgh.
Starling Marte came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and belted a ball that nearly cleared the right field wall. Hunter Pence played it and threw it to Ehire Adrianza, the second baseman and cut off man, who threw wildly to Pablo Sandoval at third base.
As Sandoval retrieved the ball, Marte scrambled to his feet from his slide and scampered home. Sandoval recovered the ball and threw to Buster Posey covering but not blocking home plate. Marte slid head first with arms outstretched, of course. The umpire called Marte out. Pittsburgh challenged the call. According to one replay, Marte touched home with his right arm just prior to Posey’s tag to Marte’s left shoulder just near his neck. New York overturned the umpire’s call, ruled Marte safe, ending the game with a victory for the Buccs. The victory came on an unearned run.
The play, the attempted put-out, and the overturned call brought to the fore the new rules regarding covering but not blocking the plate and the new rule about challenges to calls. Before these changes, Marte would have been called out as the catcher had the ball at home plate before Marte arrived so long as the catcher held the ball without dropping it. But those days are over.
Tim Hudson was the hard-luck loser for the Giants. He pitched 8.2 innings and allowed but 2 runs, only one earned. He struck out 5 and walked 1 as he scattered 5 hits.
The two games in Pittsburgh have been outstanding games though very different. The slug-fest of the previous night gave way to the more carefully and closely played game of tonight. They were very different but very thrilling.
The rubber game is tomorrow played in day light just a few brief hours after the thrilling final play tonight. Tim Lincecum will take the pearl for the Giants.