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Giants win fifth straight, down Brewers, 3-1

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The Giants won their first series against a contending team since May, and Jake Peavy lost a no-hitter in the eighth inning.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Before we move on, let's appreciate the potential irony of Jake Peavy throwing a no-hitter on "Eight-Foot Orange-and-Black Hat Giveaway Day," which would have meant that no one would have seen the no-hitter.

★★★

I'd like to think that a clubbie just shuffled over to a dry erase board, rubbed off a couple numbers with his sleeve, and changed the number on "MONTHS SINCE GIANTS WON A SERIES AGAINST GOOD TEAM" to zero. It must have felt gooood.

The Giants guaranteed a series win against a good team, their first since May, when they beat the Cardinals in St. Louis. Literally May. I don't even know if they had DVRs and iPods back in May. This is the first Google result for "May, 2014":


We're here in the future, and the Giants did it again. They beat a good team. More than that, they looked like a good team. There isn't an easy way to sort the last three months for LLAGT+, so I don't know if this is the best they've looked over the last few months, but I'd put a little money on the proclamation. When Madison Bumgarner exerted his snotrocketty will on the Rockies, that was mostly an individual accomplishment. Same with Lincecum against the Padres. There have been good wins and great wins mixed in the whole time, but nothing like this. That was a game filled with players tearing off street clothes to reveal another uniform underneath. They made you feel stupid for doubting them in the first place.

I mean, I never doubted them. I'm mostly talking about you.


What was that? What was that? That's a struggling player on a once-struggling team, looking like a GIF with skipping frames and saving a no-hitter.


What was that? What was that? That's a struggling player on a once-struggling team, looking like a li'l Evie, stopping time and calmly saving a no-hitter. That's an organizational afterthought, since resurrected, screaming as he comes off first base, knowing what's at stake.

That struggling player also had a two-out RBI hit, too.

Obviously Jake Peavy gets the bulk of the credit for the win, considering how he pitched, but I didn't come away from this game thinking, "Goodness, Jake Peavy just minced the Brewers." I came away with it thinking, "That looks like a team with confidence for the first time in months." Peavy was a huge part, the biggest part. The story is the entire team, though. The Pablo Sandoval play isn't on MLB.com yet, but it was another fine example.

To put it another way: Imagine being a Brewers fan, watching this game. That is, there are a bunch of people in Milwaukee who think the Giants are an excellent team. Can you imagine? We've watched this team over the last few months, and they're clearly buttnoses when it comes to playing baseball the right way.

Unless they were just slumping, and they really were that good the whole time? I don't know. Starting to have doubts.

★★★

Now we get to talk about Jake Peavy. Do you want to feel better about the Giants giving up two of their few remaining prospects for Peavy? Look at what the Dodgers gave up for Roberto Hernandez, who isn't even the same Roberto Hernandez who throws 100 miles per hour. Look what prospect they're going to name later for Kevin Correia. Quality innings are scarce right now.

Another way to feel better about Peavy is to look at how the dude's pitched. He almost threw a no-hitter tonight, you know.

The no-hitter was actually stressing me the hell out. I love a no-hitter. You know I do. John Montefusco threw one before I was born, and it took until Jonathan Sanchez for a Giants pitcher to throw another one. Never take them for granted. You could be a Padres fan. Imagine that, a Padres fan. Really, Peavy throwing a no-hitter as a Giant with the Padres still without a no-hitter in franchise history would have meant more than Matt Cain's perfect game, in a way.

So I'm in. No-hitters are a wonderful melange of luck and talent, which is all baseball is in the first place. They're perfect. And I was rooting for the accomplishment. Except I was also the weenie with one eye on the pitch count. Peavy has been a lot of things over the years, but he's never been a 120-pitch, gimme-the-ball-in-the-ninth-pitcher. He has exactly 15 complete games out of 332 starts. I was deathly afraid of Peavy getting up to 120, 130, 140 pitches with an individual accomplishment on the line, when it wasn't exactly an individual accomplishment the Giants were desperate for. They need that guy.

Bittersweet, then. No-hitters are swell, but so are rested pitchers in September and, dunno, later than September. When Sanchez threw a no-hitter, I was thinking about the elapsed time between Montefusco and that moment. When Cain threw the perfect game, i was thinking about the Giants greats who had never thrown one. When Lincecum threw his first, I was thinking about his weird career arc, and when he threw his second, I was thinking about the same thing, ascribing meaning to both that was probably unfair to Lincecum.

When Peavy was going for this one, I was excited, but I was also humming "ONE-PITCH OUT, ONE-PITCH OUT" under my breath for the entire time. It was a dynamite performance, just stunning. It was also above and beyond what the Giants were hoping for with Peavy -- the roster equivalent of the new guy in sales taking apart a vending machine, screw by screw, to get a stuck bag of SunChips out for someone. You don't want him to burn out and quit in disgust, but SunChips are rad. You can see the dilemma.

★★★

If there's one thing that makes me feel guilty in this weird job, it's how quickly Sergio Romo moved from "dynamic fan favorite who deserves a million GIFs whenever he does anything of note" to "guy whose slider abandoned him, oh well." It's bugged me for months, it really has. I couldn't quite wrap my head around it. Part of it was him becoming a free agent, which clashed with my don't-pay-closers mindset.

He looked like Sergio Romo on Saturday night. He made a hitter look silly -- pants-worn-around-his-neck-like-a-cape silly -- on a pair of sliders. The hitter happened to be one of the best hitters in the league. Romo's been looking like Romo for a while, now. Since allowing two runs in Miami on July 19: 12⅓ innings, six hits, three walks, 17 strikeouts. I know that guy.

I know that guy.

Good to have him back. Good to have the Giants back. Don't leave in the middle of the night for a pack of smokes, Giants. I will freak out.

★★★

The Giants have a five-game winning streak, and they're just 2½ behind the Dodgers. They would host a one-game playoff if the season ended tonight.

I'll take it. I'LL TAKE IT. Unless they can actually beat those stupid Dodgers. No, don't accept any bargains just yet. Let's play it cool.