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Giants win sixth straight, move half-game behind Dodgers

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Chris Heston was solid again, and we're getting mighty used to that.

Welcome back, old friend.
Welcome back, old friend.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Giants won again, their sixth in a row. The Rockies traded away Troy Tulowitzki. Shane Victorino cried. The Dodgers ... well, at least they didn't win. And the Giants are just a half-game back in the National League West. There will be bad nights and boring nights again. Until then, have yourself a night of interesting Giants-related tidbits and general mirth.

Focus on the win, of course. Chris Heston was marvelous again, inducing three double plays to extend his National League lead to 22 on the season. That's the most double plays by a Giants pitcher since Tim Lincecum had 23 in 2008, and while Heston probably won't get enough starts to take over the San Francisco record (Shawn Estes with 40 in 2000!), he's on something of an unusual, historic pace. The Giants have employed sinkerballers before, but they haven't had one like this in a while. Consider: Heston is one double play away from tying Billy Swift in 1993, who needed 100 innings more to get there and had Royce Clayton and Robby Thompson behind him.

These Giants have Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik, of course. Matt Duffy also gets more than a little credit. This all makes the Heston emergence feel like something of a strategy the Giants can use again -- as long as they have superior infield defense, they'll help a sinkerballer who helps himself. The sinkerballer who can get the occasional strikeout -- just around the league average, no big whoop -- might be the new paradigm for the Giants' rotation.

Wait, you stay there in the other clubhouse, Kyle Lohse. You stay there. Was talking in general terms. YOU STAY THERE.

It's possible that this is all sample-size tomfoolery, and we shouldn't get too excited about a 27-year-old rookie with a checkered professional past. That's a sensible approach. But I know this much:

  1. Chris Heston throws ball
  2. Ball moves good
  3. Hitters surprised ball moves good
  4. Hitters pound ball into dirt
  5. Hitters so mad

Apologies for the scouting jargon, but there's really no other way to put it. Also, Heston is getting closer and closer to Zack Wheeler in career WAR, which is a factlet that I'm not sure what to do with, so I'm just leaving it there for you to parse as I make an awkward transition.

★★★

Brandon Crawford leads the Giants in home runs. I wrote this sentence down and sealed it in an envelope back in 2011. I will now open the envelope to prove that my prediction was correct, amazing you with my prescience and baseball acumen.

Ahem.

Orlando Cabrera isn't very good anymore.

Well, what I meant to write was that Brandon Crawford was going to lead the Giants in homers one year. Yeah, that's probably right. Just imagine reading that sentence in March and all the doomsday thoughts you might have had. What will go wrong with Buster Posey? Will some dumb Cubs pitcher hit Hunter Pence with a pitch? So you're saying Brandon Belt really isn't going to hit 30 homers? There would have been so many ways to frame that look into the future as bad news, we wouldn't have figured out the most simple solution: That Crawford is apparently really good now.

The home run was absolutely obliterated, too.

It was the fourth 3-0 pitch that Crawford has put in play in his career, and he's now 3-for-4 with two homers and a double. Say, I have a wacky idea about his future approach in 3-0 counts, now, hear me out ...

★★★

Carlos Gomez got thrown out of the game for arguing a call that was reviewed. This is probably a baseball first, and it's a fun fact that is very Carlos Gomez. There were people with headsets sitting five inches away from a slow-motion replay of the play, and what they saw was so convincing, the replay took just a minute. Yet Gomez still kicked rocks and tossed his helmet.

He's so very fun to watch, sometimes in all the wrong ways, and I sure want him on the Giants. Gomez would sure stick out, though. They used to have a collection of helmet-chucking grumblers, including the Jeff Kent/Rich Aurilia combo for several years. But it's been a while, and I don't think it's an odd coincidence that Angel Pagan is about as demonstrative and openly upset as the Giants get these days. It looks like a pretty mellow group of folks, at least from the outside, and that's probably the point.

Although, the Dodgers are reportedly listening to offers for Yasiel Puig, you know.

★★★

It's been 13 games since an opposing starter has thrown seven innings against the Giants. They've become masters at extending innings and making pitchers work, taking tough pitches, showing off good bat control, and waiting for their pitch to hit.

Paragraphs like that make me think, "My goodness, what if Trump does win?" I'm not sure where we are.

Probably in an episode of Sliders.

At least it's a good episode so far.