Eighteen runs in a game started by Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum? The hum you hear might be coming from the ballpark, but it could also be locusts. Careful driving out there.
It’s hard the pick out the exact moment it was reasonable to lose a little faith. For the weapons-grade cynic, it might have been when the Rangers scored their first run. For the standard pessimist, it might have been when Freddy Sanchez was doubled off second base in the bottom of the first inning.
For the paranoid ghouls who still wake up at night wondering why Dusty gave Ortiz the game ball, it was probably when the Rangers’ pitcher doubled to set up a sacrifice fly that scored Bengie Molina. Read that again. The Rangers scored their second run on a sacrifice fly that scored Bengie Molina. An industrial accident was not involved. An American League pitcher doubled to put Molina at third. Cliff Lee had dispatched the Giants with minimal effort in the previous inning. The Rangers scored their second run on a sacrifice fly that scored Bengie Molina. How could your heart not sink just a little?
Then the playoffs happened. It was weird, and it was beautiful.
Andres Torres was the run that tied the game at 2-2. Torres was on base because Cliff Lee hit him with a pitch. In over 236 innings this year, Lee had only hit one batter. Cliff Lee hitting a batter is as rare as, oh, an opposite-field home run from Juan Uribe. The playoffs are fun when the weird things happen for your team, and every year, one fanbase out of 30 gets to enjoy a wild, bizarre ride that leaves the weird ledger completely lopsided.
Three more wins, Giants. Play .500 ball for the next six games, and we get to be that fanbase.
Also of note: When Tim Lincecum's brain went on screen saver mode in the first inning, I'd like to think that he was receiving some sort of signal from the ether. Something that said, "Hey, kid, just let him go back to third, and it will all work out." Maybe without the bases loaded, Ian Kinsler approaches his at-bat differently. Maybe he hits his line drive two feet over to the left. Maybe this post-game writeup would have more references to dirigible accidents.
Maybe. Because that was the weirdest damned thing I've ever seen, and my explanation makes me feel better.