For the first six innings, it was turn back the clock to 2009. Cain allowed a solo home run. And suddenly, it was 2009. Whoops. Shouldn't have done that. Now it's 2009. You know what's ruling the charts? "My Life Would Suck Without You", by Kelly Clarkson. This is the first time that I've ever heard of that song, so I'm playing it cool. But you know that crappy, formerly really cutting-edge cell phone you can't stand? It was working perfectly back then. That's how far back we're talking. 2009. Cain was down 1-0, and he was going to lose.
But the Giants outcained another team. It was so, so welcome. Matt Garza didn't deserve to lose that game. Good gravy, no. The sixth-inning rally started with that annoying opposite-field hit that Ryan Theriot does when he's right. Then Alfonso Soriano took a Family Circus route to a fly ball, and all of a sudden there were runners on first and second with no outs. Soriano was all, like, what's up Barfy, let's climb up the storm drain and, oh, god, a fly ball.
Then Buster Posey lined out to center on the first pitch. It was a rocket. A pitch that deserved to be a hit. But it was caught. That's a pretty good way for Cain to take a loss. A bunch of hard-hit balls finding gloves. Very Cain. The Giants scored a run, though, on a dribbler, a bases-loaded walk, and a weakly hit ground ball. The Cubs thought they were going to enjoy a caining, but they got padresed. A bunch of stomach-flu brown and yellow all over the place. It happens.
It's not the kind of way a team can expect to win every game, but it sure as heck satisfying when the Giants do it.
Cain was -- stop me if you're tired of this angle -- good. He was really, really good. And I don't know what the next six years are going to bring, but I'm sure as hell glad that we're not worrying about Matt Cain, Pending Free Agent after every game like this. After every eight-inning, one-run game, can you imagine thinking about the Yankees, Angels, or Marlins shooting literal diamonds from their metaphorical nipples, making every attempt to sign this guy? It would make every win like this bittersweet. Yay, Matt Cain is good at base-balling. Boooo, his price just went up $10 million.
We don't have to worry about that now. Maybe we'll sing a different tune in 2015. But right now, Matt Cain is on the Giants, and he'll be on the Giants for a long, long time. And he's quite good at base-balling. One of the best I've ever seen.
The tying run scored on a bases-loaded Aubrey Huff walk. It was Huff's first RBI since his home run off Tommy Hunter in 2010. It came at a good time.
I know the conventional wisdom is that Huff is washed up, and that the new guard is ready to take over. I get that. I align myself with that faction, even if the vitriol directed at Huff by some of the fiercer partisans makes me a little uneasy. All things being equal, I prefer Brandon Belt at first. But Huff has had some decent at-bats since coming back from the DL. He's been more patient, and he's worked walks.
On the first pitch he saw from Garza in the sixth, though, Huff was hacking. It was a first-pitch fastball in a hittable spot, and Huff just missed it. Huff had a plan, and he executed it. A couple of millimeters stood between him being the quasi-passive-walk-taking-weenie hero and the double-into-the-gap hero. It was a good at-bat.
So this seems like a good place to introduce the Official McCovey Chronicles Position on First Basemen in 2012. And that is this: Look, I don't give a crap who hits. Pill, Belt, Huff. Sanchez. Someone, please hit. I'm done playing favorites. Huff? Screw it. Hit. Pill? Whatever. Hit. Being right isn't as important as the Giants being good. I can wait another year for Belt's emergence if someone else decides to hit first.
Few expected Huff to be good in 2010, and we sure as hell don't expect it in 2012. But he's welcome to do his best. I'll grumble a little whenever he's in the lineup, but I'm pretty sure I can quickly get used to him hitting the ball all over the place. So if he wants to start hitting and taking walks, I'm cool with it. Not putting a $20 on it, but I'm more than cool with it. His at-bat in the sixth was a helluva at-bat.
Also of note, Matt Cain is now a .500 pitcher for his career. I pretend not to give a crap about pitcher wins, but here I am, pumping my fist like I just closed the Abscom account to close the third quarter. Matt Cain: not a loser. Feels good, man.
My first idea was to do this recap in the style of a 1912 sportswriter. So I researched the style.
Gregor Blanco stepped to the plate, a dogged determination in his eye. The weight of Venezuela must have been on his shoulders, the dreams of his countrymen tugging on every muscle, tendon, and fiber of his being. With each pitch he took, the outcome became more uncertain. The raison d'être of his wee, speedy champion became clear. He was a steadfast hero for millions, a beacon of hope for everyone crowded around a single television, living vicariously through him.
The first pitch was a ball.
Blanco peered out to the mound, his eyes focused, ready for his world to crumble around him, but not actively willing it on. Daring it, perhaps. Blanco peered in, eyebrows askance, ready to …
I mean, holy crap. Before there was a radio in every home, before there were television highlights, before there was an Internet with which to download porn, recipes, and cat pictures, that's what they had to do to relay pertinent baseball information. I was going to write more, but then I looked at that recap of the 1912 World Series and just laughed, and laughed, and laughed. Not sure what I'm going to do now, but it sure as hell isn't that.