Forgive me, as I'm about to reuse a crappy analogy, but last night's game reminded me of the roof tarring scene in The Shawshank Redemption. That probably needs explaining for the cultural ostriches. In the movie, some prisoners score a job tarring the prison roof. One of the main characters finds a way to get some beer for his fellow prisoners. At the end of the day, you have prisoners relaxing in the shade, drinking a brew, and looking at sky instead of concrete. The exact quote was, "Hell, it could have been their own roof they were tarring." It was that momentary lapse of reality; people forgetting what came before and what would come after to enjoy the present.
So the Giants played a beautiful game last night. Eight games back? Fifteen games back? Whatever. That was a beautiful game. Noah Lowry, of course, was the brighest of the bright spots. He didn't have much of a changeup to speak of, but still pitched 8.2 scoreless innings using his suddenly vicious curveball as the default out pitch. F.P. Santangelo muttered something about Barry Zito after one curve and, for that one pitch, the comparison was absolutely valid. It started at the eyes in the other batters box, and ended just above the knees in the middle of the plate. My amateur pitch-tracking skills confirmed the pitch traveled at 23 mph. The change has been the meal ticket, the fastball better than the Rueterian lob most people give him credit for, but the curve was always an afterthought. Maybe it still will be, and we just saw the best curve he'll ever throw, but he has been using the breaking ball more in the second half. Something's going right for the kid.
Forget the pitching, even, and the game was a wonder. The immediate change in fortunes given by a two out, three-run homer is always welcome. Omar Vizquel was skating around the infield as we have grown to expect, and he started the most important play of the game, shoveling a quick feed to Ray Durham for an inning-ending double play. Durham, for his part, stood his ground as the runner from first was stumbling into the bag, and winged one to first in plenty of time. The team was a cohesive unit.
It was great defense, timely hitting, and an outstanding pitching performance. For the duration of the contest, we could have embraced the momentary lapse of reality, forgetting standings and injuries. For those couple of hours, the Giants played like a reenactment of our preseason hopes.
Now that I've gone all sentimental, I'm required by law to mention: six games back, and the team still isn't very good. Back in your cell, buddy.