There will be games where the Giants need a run, just a run, and they'll claw and scrape and beg for that run, and they won't get it.
There will be games where Matt Cain can't catch a break, where he'll pitch his equine brains out, and in the seventh inning, he'll allow a bloop and a double. Or he'll walk someone, and the reliever will let him score. It won't seem fair. And it won't be.
And then there are games like this, where everything comes up Milhouse. These are the good games. These are the games that you can take a bathroom break without compunctions, come back, and continue enjoying baseball in a low-stress environment.
There was also Matt Cain.
When you're drawing up a blueprint of a Matt Cain comeback, that's what it looks like. There are swings and misses, mountains of weak contact, and fly balls that just don't have enough. It's the one-year anniversary of his perfect game, of course, and Matt Cain has allowed one run in the 22⅔ innings he's thrown on June 13 in his career. Is that meaningful? Probably.
Six. Six. Matt Cain finished sixth place in the NL Cy Young last year.
Thirteen. Thirteen. He'd made 13 starts before tonight, and they were mostly unlucky. Cain is no triskaidekaphobe, though, which is good because he won 13 games in 2010.
The Giants won the World Series in 2010. 6/13. The Cy Young meets the World Series. This is the year in which Matt Cain wins the Cy Young (just needs 20 more starts like this) and the World Series (the Giants need to re-learn how to pitch), and everything is as it should be.
So you can see how this all ties together.
Frivolity aside, Cain was throwing hard and hitting his spots. When you want a Matt Cain kind of game, in which you can say his name as adjective/noun/verb/epithet and make it mean something, dammit, this is the kind of game you want. No one on the Pirats felt comfortable. There were fly balls, but they didn't go far. Matt Cain. You know?
Hunter Pence's night started with a groundout. Then he beat out an infield single because he's apparently the fastest player in the National League now for some reason. Then he hit a slow chopper that became an questionable interference call. And when he was on second after the interference call, he was hit by a line drive, and that out ended the inning. Then he hit an absolute bomb to dead center field.
The many faces of Hunter Pence, everybody. It's all theatre, and he's the only one who thinks it's real. He's going to come out in a kimono one night to complete the kabuki for us, and it will all make sense. Just play along. It will all make sense.
Update: .296/.341/.518, 11 HR, and 13 steals without a caught-stealing. Toward the end of Game 4 of the NLCS, I'm pretty sure we would have taken all that as a Faustian bargain for losing the NLCS. Just shut up and lose, and you'll get a guarantee Pence doing all that.
How about both, sucker? Pence looked like the worst player on the planet after the trading deadline last year. Now he's one of the more consistent hitters on the team, and no one's tripping about Joey Tomseph anymore. Is he even in the league? Does he even bench? Dunno, but Hunter Pence is pretty neat.
Seems like a silly thing to point out in a 10-0 game, but in the second inning, with a one-run lead, Matt Cain walked the leadoff hitter. No! Bad Matt Cain!
But then there was a double play. The good kind, for the good guys. And everything settled down, and then the Giants won 10-0.
The double play, though, wasn't nearly as easy as it might have been in another situation. Say, with Miguel Tejada shortstopping. Or Edgar Renteria or Orlando Cabrera. Or Mike Fontenot. Or Ryan Rohlinger, Ivan Ochoa, Emmanuel Burriss, Luis Figueroa, or Tomas de la Rosa. No, Brandon Crawford was shortstopping, and took the ball cleanly and made a strong, strong shovel right where Nick Noonan needed it. And they got the double play.
I don't know where that shows up on the UZR, you fancypantses. It felt important at the time. And if you follow the butterfly-effect theory of baseball, maybe it ultimately was important. But it sure felt important at the time.
I had this great idea where I was going to dig through the archives and find the last game when the Giants got 17 hits or more and allowed three hits or fewer. I went to the Play Index on Baseball-Reference.com, set up a couple of searchs, and command-`'d between a couple of open of browser pages to find the answer. The last time the Giants allowed three hits in the same game they had 17 hits ... man ... you wouldn't believe it.