True story: In the early part of the game, I went to the bathroom. Here's another true story: When I came back, Barry Zito had given up two runs, and Buster Posey was bleeding.
And, sure enough, as the game progressed, it looked like an English Patient-game. That's the kind of game that you're excited for before it starts. And about two hours into it, you've slumped into your couch or chair, alternately bored and angry, and sick that you decided to wast three hours on this insipid mess that you thought was going to be good. You can pick whatever movie you want. Mine is The English Patient.
The eighth-inning rally, then, was like … heck, I don't know what would have made that movie better. Tons of nudity and explosions, I guess. A bunch of polar bear cubs romping around. All of the above. It was unexpected, that rally. After a few months of watching the Giants slowly and tediously withdraw from victory in games like that, the Giants came from behind to win.
Now you get it why you're so annoyed when the Giants can't complete a sweep. Doesn't this feel better? Friday is, like, way the hell over there. I can't remember a thing about that night. Sounds horrible when I read about it, but I can't remember. Alls I know is the Giants have scored 18 runs at home over the last two games, and they won a series they most certainly should have won.
There would have been no way to feel good about a Giants team that lost two out of three against the Rockies at home. Their starting pitchers are on 75-pitch limits, which is almost a shame because of how bad they've been. Their bullpen is good, but as overworked as you'd expect on a team that can't get a starting pitcher into the fifth inning. Baseball is weird enough where you shouldn't expect anything like a series win. But with a team as bad as the Rockies -- especially considering their historical problems at AT&T -- winning just two out of three is almost a disappointment.
Almost. But it isn't. It's a series win, and those are pretty swell, even if it takes some special effects in the late innings to make it happen.
Giants fans want Hunter Pence to succeed so danged badly. That's so obvious that it's almost silly to type out. Of course they want him to succeed. They'd take 39 scoreless innings from Brad Penny, too. But Pence is a different case. He's the big acquisition, and the Great Twitchy Hope of a team that need help at the plate. It would have been ugly if Giants fans turned on him, which they might have if his August was as ugly as his July.
But if I had to pick which deadline addition I'd want to struggle initially -- had to choose Pence or Marco Scutaro -- I'd choose Pence. Because you know he's going to get every chance to hit and succeed, and that the Giants would keep running him out there well into September in the hopes that he'd break out of his slump.
Scutaro starting well, though, makes a huge difference with Pablo Sandoval coming back and Brandon Belt getting hot. Until further notice, the Giants' best lineup clearly has Scutaro at second. That's how it should be, and that's probably how it will be. Ryan Theriot returns to spot-starting and general utility. Joaquin Arias becomes the end-of-the-bench option that's he's perfectly acceptable in.
I didn't have to choose which deadline addition had to struggle. They should both, in my carefully crafted opinion, hit the crap out of the baseballs thrown in their general direction. And it was fantastic to see Pence take that home run trot around the bases.
No, no. Not "trot." Scurry. Home run scurry. His home run scurry was a thing of relative beauty, as was the curtain call Giants fans gave him. Please get hot and stay hot, right-handed Nate Schierholtz action figure put through the wash.
Pence's home run is the story. Dig a little deeper, and surely you'll find some feting of Buster Posey's eight-inning at-bat. That at-bat deserves the feting. I like the word feting. I believe I'll do some feting of Posey's at-bat, because it really was one of the better at-bats of the season, with him getting into a fastball count and making Rafael Betancourt work quite hard. It's not a stretch to think that if Posey grounds into a fielder's choice on the first pitch, Pence sees a much different Betancourt.
But don't forget the Hector Sanchez at-bat from the early part of the inning:
With a two-strike count, that fifth pitch must have been awfully, awfully tempting. It was a fastball with some good, late tailing action to it. That could have been another strikeout, which would have led to a runner on second and one out. The Giants are pretty good at not getting that run in, and even if they did, it still wouldn't have been enough to tie the game. Instead, Sanchez waited for his pitch, crushed it, and became the tying run on second with no one out.
Sanchez gets a lot of guff for hacking, and he deserves most of it. But he's still a young hitter. He's still very much an unfinished product. And when he has at-bats like that -- in a pinch-hitting role, no less -- it reminds me why I'm optimistic that he's going to be at least a decent hitter for a catcher, with the potential for more.