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Giants remain undefeated in second half, down Marlins 5-3

Oh, and they're in first place, which is empirically better than second place.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants are tied for the best record in the National League. After the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, the Giants are in first place, and they're tied for the best record in the National League.

I don't understand this sport. Or this team.


There are people who don't like baseball. They walk among us. One of their many complaints is that regular season games don't mean anything. There are so many stupid games, how can we get upset about one of them? These people usually follow sports where half the league makes the playoffs, but don't be too hard on them, because they're broken.

Let this game be a counterpoint, however. The last two, if you need. If the Giants come out of the All-Star Break and drop two to the Marlins, with Joe Panik hitting every ball into the Aubrey Huff Memorial 4-Hole, the Giants would inch closer to doing something stupid. There are a lot of possibilities in this scenario, ranging from signing Dan Uggla to acquiring Dan Uggla. This game allows them to take a step away from the glowing red "I don't know, I guess it can't hurt" button. They look like a normal team again, and they're letting the other team make the silly mistakes.

Two wins to start the second half. It doesn't mean everything, but there's 16 percent less panic right now. Wait, forgot to account for humidity. There's 17 percent less panic. I'm not sure where the tipping point is, but everyone's a little more comfortable right now. There aren't as many stray "Really, what's the worst Uggla can do?" thoughts.

The other important part was where the Giants won the game. Because even though there are 162 of these stupid things, they actually do matter, each and every one. I'd give even odds on the division being decided by a game or two. It feels like that kind of season, where the 162nd game is going to make you lose control of your bowels. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. Depends.


This is the part of the recap where we talk about Tim Hudson and his magic ground balls. Base runner? Ground ball! Base runner? Ground ball! Base runner followed by another base runner?!? Ground ball! Even when he was struggling, he was throwing four pitches every inning. I've mentioned it too much recently, but the efficiency is so, so welcome.

Before the season started, I brought up two historical comparisons. Rick Reuschel was the good; Orel Hershiser was the bad. Reuschel was a staff anchor, a steady veteran who helped the team avoid surprises. Hershiser was a star-nosed mole who smelled like Tommy Lasorda's wet hugs, and he was dreadful. Hudson didn't have the advanced age of the former, and he didn't have the unfortunate legacy of the latter, but if you were looking for a comp for sinker-slinging veteran All-Stars from the last quarter-century, those two make sense.

Hudson isn't Reuschel just yet. But we know he's not Hershiser. Which is good because Hershiser pooped in the oven and threw our car keys into the pool before he left. Hudson's been the most welcome offseason addition since, dunno, Ryan Vogelsong. When it comes to offseason acquisitions that we were hoping would be good, and not just pleasantly surprised? Angel Pagan, probably. When it comes to pitchers, I'm not sure if I have a comp. Hudson's been that good.


Brandon Belt had an RBI double. Brandon Belt was suffering from dizziness throughout the game. Look, I know it's unethical to suggest this, but maybe he hits better when he's diz ...

No, no. That's not right. Belt was hit in the face during pre-game drills, and he had to leave the game. Andrew Baggarly is reporting that the 7-day concussion DL is possible, if not likely.  The team kind of stinks without Belt (one of my favorite Police songs), so best wishes to him. Concussions are the freakiest things. Look at this guy.  MVP one year, incapable of staying in a lineup the next. The play that did it wasn't exactly obvious.

Like the stirring victory that felt like a 40-run loss against the Dodgers, we get to second guess this win because Belt is ailing. The brain is the pitching prospect of the body. Take nothing for granted. Come back soon, Belt.


This was the kind of rally the Giants were absolutely incapable of in June and the first two weeks of July:


Note that Pence's two-out, two-run single was a fist job on a fastball he was having trouble keeping up with. Normal teams get the occasional rally they don't deserve, though. Welcome back, normal team.