The Five Best Games of the Season (Other Than That One)

June 13, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain (18) celebrates with catcher Buster Posey (28) after throwing a perfect game against the Houston Astros at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

Because the best game of the season so far is clearly the perfect game. It's the kind of game that deserves a nickname -- "The Catch" or "Game 7." I propose "The Perfect Game." Think it over and get back to me.

Now if Buster Posey hit into a double play in the first inning last night and Matt Cain gave up six earned runs, this would have been a list of the five worst games of the first half. It's all about mood here, and the Giants established their dominance over the baseball world like a bunch of Munenori Kawasakis. It was fun to watch. If you were a Giants fan.

So that means the five best games. It's been a good first half! Just don't think about, you know, that stuff. With that guy. With the hair. You know who I'm talking about.

The list:

5. "Pffft. More like 'Oakland D-Minuses', amirite?" - (Post-game thread)
The Giants haven't had a lot of ninth-inning comebacks, but then no one does. At least, they're not supposed to. Every July or August, a television broadcast will remind you that Team X is something like 55-1 when leading after eight innings, and you think, "Oh. Right. That's kind of how baseball works.

Ryan Cook pitched in the All-Star Game last night. He's allowed six runs in 38 games. Four of those runs came in this game. It started with two walks -- two of them! -- and Brandon Belt tied the game with a semi-line-drive down the line.


Belt moved to third on a Justin Christian single, and all Hector Sanchez had to do was not strike out. He hit a single. There was another run, and Santiago Casilla allowed a homer in the bottom of the ninth that didn't matter. That's okay, Santiago! Get them out of your system when they don't mean anything, right?

4. Barry Zito pitches a complete-game shutout in Coors Field - (Post-game thread)
This was the first win of the season. Barry Zito pitched a complete-game shutout in Coors Field. Try other sentences like that.

Emmanuel Burriss's home run hit off the facade in left, and the Giants never looked back, winning their first game at Petco this season.
Buster Posey stole second easily, and then he stole third on the very next pitch. The throw went into left field, and everyone in the Bay Area said -- at the exact same time -- "Darren Ford!"
Conor Gillaspie threw the ball to first, getting the runner by three feet.

I mean, Zito throwing a complete game is rare. Anyone getting a complete-game shutout is rare. A complete-game shutout is really rare. Zito doing it for the first win of the season?


Yeah.

3. D'awwwwww, good effort, Cliffy - (Post-game thread)
It was hard not to fill this list up with Matt Cain games, but this was the best, non-perfect-game division. Cain threw a two-hit, complete-game shutout that he won't get credit for because the Giants couldn't score a single run off Cliff Lee, who pitched 10 innings. Lee threw only 102 pitches, so he probably could have gone 11 or 12, if not 13.

But with a runner on second and one out, Charlie Manuel didn't really have a choice. He had to pinch-hit Jim Thome for Lee. Javier Lopez struck out Thome, and the Giants got the winning run in scoring position on a Ty Wigginton error. Melky Cabrera -- still an unknown quantity who we didn't love unconditionally (on the condition that he's good) just yet -- drove in the winning run.

2. Holy crap, Madison Bumgarner - (Post-game thread)
The Reds crush left-handed pitching. They could hit a five-run homer against Barry Zito if they really put their minds to it. But they couldn't touch Bumgarner, who combined freaky control with a generous strike zone and dominated a good team. Just dominated. Again, here's how close it was to being a no-hitter:


Bumgarner getting his first complete game was kind of a big deal. He'd tried before a few times, but he'd always allow that one stupid runner that would bring Bochy out of the dugout.


Not on that night, though.

1. Lincecum's back! Giants are in first! - (Post-game thread)
It had everything. Lincecum was back. The Giants swept into first. The Dodgers didn't score a run for the entire series. Everyone was all hugging and stuff -- some serious dawning-of-the-age-of-Aquarius crap.


That was the perfect way to end the first half, and two days later, the Giants dominated the All-Star Game. Yep. And we know that Lincecum is back and everything now. Yep.

Now think about the perfect game. If it made the list, it'd go right here. Would you have to knock the A's game off? The Zito complete game? Hard choice. That's how good of a season it's been so far. There isn't even a Vogelsong game on there, and the Giants are 11-5 in Vogelsong starts. He leads the NL in ERA.

The season could be better, sure. And there are things to grumble about. But when the Giants had lineups with Brett Pill, Charlie Culberson, and Burriss in them in May … you probably didn't think the first half was going to go quite as well as it did.

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