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Vintage Giants performance is so hip it ends on a hit

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It was Metallica Day at AT&T Park and everybody paid for the music, but it was the Giants delivering the hits.

Giants are 1-0 in the Metallica era.
Giants are 1-0 in the Metallica era.
Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

That was just a good ol' fashion baseball game with absolutely nothing out of the ordinary contained within its nine innings. Nope. Nothing out of the ordinary at all.

EndofGame1

Woo boy, I tell you what. I have never seen a Major League Baseball game end on a line drive hitting the tying run. That's pretty danged odd...

Wait... something tells me we should... hmm. Zoom in. ENHANCE.

EndofGame2

Yup. Thought so. The ending was so weird a creepy frog creature that's sticking its tongue out at us is what you get when you scrutinize that play down to the pixel.

Santiago Casilla threw exactly two pitches in this one to get the save, and both pitches were hit very hard. The second one struck the runner and here we are celebrating the Giants' second consecutive win (they won a series!) and an undefeated month of May.

That was a baseball game, all right. Pitching, hitting, weirdness. It feels good to be able to look back at a game without considering the Giants' deficiencies for once...

★★★

In fact, today's game felt a lot like an old book. One you like. One you reread every so often. Sure, there are the familiar characters and story beats, but usually some new level of appreciation for those very things. Deconstructing comfort usually leads to discomfort, but sometimes when we break down all the elements we find that the mystery of joy is one worth leaving unknown.

All that to say, watching Sergio Romo come in to put at a ninth inning fire had that tinge of pleasant comfort but also that tinge of "oh no, he's not quite the same guy as days gone by." And then he struck at Albert Pujols with a fastball after challenging him with sliders. Comfort and joy...

Jeremy Affeldt coming in to clean up the mess felt even more familiar and, certainly, there was a stronger sense of confidence in watching him take the mound, especially against a lefty hitter. But Calhoun owned a career .347 OBP against lefties coming into today's game and his RBI single to bring the Angels within a run was grumble-inducing to say the least. It's that part of the book you never liked. Or that character who always irked you. Discomfort and annoyance...

But if the outcome hadn't been a victory, you still might have changed the channel or carried on with your day with some manner of comfort just because the Giants looked so Giants-like. Buster Posey homered, Tim Hudson provided a quality start. Brandon Crawford smacked the crap out of the ball. Brandon Belt struck out. Vintage performances all around. Hard to top the comfort of familiar faces and old friends doing what they've always done to bring us joy.

And that was vintage Tim Hudson right there. If this is indeed his last season, then it's off to a promising start. The season is so young, of course, and he's so very old (in baseball years!) that there's no telling what the next few starts will bring, let alone the next few months, but you'd have to be an insufferably miserable person to be anything other than pleased with what he's done so far.

The two home runs Hudson surrendered today probably could've been avoided if he had opted to not challenge baseball's best player in Mike Trout and the Angels' second best hitter, Albert Pujols. Trout simply muscled a slider that was not a hanger but certainly caught too much of the strike zone. Pujols hammered a hanger for his dinger. I'm spelling out the circumstances of the two big blasts because both crushed pitches came as the result of Hudson choosing to challenge them.

Hudson moved in and out, down and away with Trout and kept busting Pujols in as often as possible. The Giants never had a huge lead, but they had a lead and Hudson pitched to it. He seemed a little rickety after Trout's home run, but after that he settled down. He walked Kole Calhoun in the 4th and Collin Cowgill in the ninth, but between those it was mostly groundballs and weak contact (obviously, the two home runs excepted). He looked sharp. He looked Hudsony. No reason to ask for anything more. It's fun to watch when he's on like that.

But, man, Mike Trout is really good at baseball.

★★★

And, lo, the game's first rally was started by a Casey McGehee not-out. And then, Casey McGehee later contributed with another not-out that also drove in a run. A run for the Giants!

April was a rough month for the guy. Maybe all he needed was a fresh calendar page. We should all be rooting for him not just because of the jersey he wears and not even because he's a human being with feelings and not even because the Giants have no better options but simply because it's more fulfilling to watch someone who has buried himself claw his way out of the hole.

★★★

There were actually *two* odd things to happen in today's game: 1) the final out of the game and 2) in a game where Tim Hudson pitched and Casey McGehee had 4 at bats, there were 0 double plays recorded by either team.

Baseball, man. Baseball is weird.

And as we come to the end of the chapter of this old book we wonder if the Giants will avoid the sweep tomorrow...