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Giants overcome early sloppiness, beat Rockies, 6-4

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Madison Bumgarner was awesome, and Brandon Crawford had one of the best-timed hits of the season.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

From the start of the bottom half of the first inning through the top of the second, the Giants lost 100 games. Metaphorically, literally, it doesn't matter. They were the worst team in baseball, and your annoying Dodgers fan co-worker was going to drive a car with a decal of Calvin peeing on the words "EVEN YEAR." You still had the taste of 17 runs in your mouth, and you were treated to some awful things.

To start, the bottom of the first was nonsense. Joe Panik was back, and he was feeling line-drivey. DJ LeMahieu rudely snatched the welcome-home single and made a great play because he's a jerk. Matt Duffy lined the next ball about 400 feet, where Gerardo Parra -- the Nolan Arenado of the outfield -- made a great play because he's a jerk. Fine. Whatever. See if I care. The Giants could make it through a couple good plays. At least they were hitting the ball hard.

And then Nolan Arenado, destroyer of worlds, blooped a 200-foot doink down the line and got a double.

Not fair. NOT FAIR. I have it right here that Barry Bonds never blooped a double down the line. He either hit a dinger, took a walk, or tipped his cap at the courage it took to get him out. And since Arenado is basically Bonds against the Giants, you'd think he would have the same decency. He most certainly does not.

After the bloop double, there was a single hit to a place where Brandon Crawford usually plays if he's playing straight up. Ha ha, math's a jerk, but okay. Then there was a misplay. Then there was an error. Then there was a sac fly. Then there was a safety squeeze. And the Giants were down 4-0. The Rockies had scored 21 runs in their last 11 innings at AT&T Park.

The odds weren't in the Giants favor ...

But that 12.2-percent chance of winning seemed optimistic. Did you watch last night? The Giants were playing with gloves filled with pudding and pants filled with pudding, and when they reached into their pants to get some of the pudding out, some of the pudding got on the ball, and there was pudding everywhere. It was happening again.

So on that note, I would like to bestow Honorary Walk-Off Home Run status to Brandon Crawford's three-run homer in the bottom of the second. It wasn't a walk-off homer. He didn't get to toss his helmet away and get engulfed by boisterous teammates. It wasn't that dramatic. But with the benefit of hindsight, it should have been that dramatic. The entire bench should have greeted him at home plate like it was the College World Series.

It was such a gorgeous home run, too. Left-handed swings can do that, and the background of an entire body of water behind it doesn't hurt.

That was the shortstop that did that. The Gold Glove shortstop. He led the team in home runs last year, and he shook off a slow start to do things like that. He's a reason we were expecting the Giants to be good.

We were expecting the Giants to be good. Because of players like that, hits like that. Deep breath. Fooooooo. If you didn't have that reaction, the Giants sure did. They remembered that they weren't the worst team in the universe, and then they came back. Matt Duffy hit a triple. Brandon Belt was on base everywhere. They wasted a ton of opportunities, and their best hitter had a lousy game, but it didn't matter because they scored six runs in a park where four will usually do.

I remember the Giants from the last seven-and-a-half innings. Those guys are awesome. I hope.

* * *

Madison Bumgarner leads the National League in strikeouts now. He also deserved better in this game.

This should have been the kind of game where we took turns passing the microphone to talk about what his slider means to us. This should have been a joyous, unmistakably fantastic exhibition of dominance by an ace, in which a division rival was ground into powder. Instead, there was that awful second inning, which, again, started with a bloop hit from a player who doesn't need the help. Then there was a sloppy play (ruled a single), followed by an error.

There was exactly one hard-hit ball in that second inning. There weren't a lot of hard-hit balls in the game. The Giants won the game! Now, see, this is a paragraph that makes sense. That inning didn't make sense.

The Giants have a very competent defense. It should be a clear, reliable asset. Joe Panik is back, and Matt Duffy has picked his entire game up after his disappointing first two weeks. We'll enjoy both of them and their gloves for years. And occasionally, they'll screw up. But those screw-ups are usually masked in the shadows of a 4-1 game, or a 10-6 game, or a game where you forget about them an hour after they happen. They usually don't happen back-to-back in the same nightmare inning the game following a humiliating 17-run blowout.

It took a lot for Bumgarner to pitch through that. But he cleared his nasal cavities and got right down to it. It was one of his better starts of the year, really.

* * *

Nolan Arenado represented the tying run in the eighth inning, and he was facing Cory Gearrin. Hands up if you expected that sentence in February!

Hands up if you expected that sentence to exist back in 1991 or so! But, to the point, it was a quick ride from "Will Cory Gearrin clear waivers?" to "Apparently Cory Gearrin is pitching to the Giants' arch-nemesis in the eighth inning of a close game now."

Let's not get nuts here. We could have been talking about a 15-inning loss.

Considering the hitter and the situation, that was the worst 0-2 pitch of the year. I'd like to think that Posey held out his hand to say, "what in the absolute hell," only to be surprised when the umpire put a baseball in it. You can see the five stages of grief in Arenado's face when the camera cuts to him. BAD PITCH. NO.

And Arenado eventually did get a hit, which made for a messy inning. But Gearrin, a surprising mainstay in the new Bruce Bochy bullpen, got out of it. I'd embed the video of him getting Mark Reynolds on a nasty sinker, but that would make you more interested in baseball, so it's not an embeddable video. Just know that he made this face after the strikeout.

That face is the bass line to every song on And Justice For All ... but turned up so we can hear it. He earned it.

* * *

Santiago Casilla's strikeout rate is the best of his career. His walk rate is the best of his career.

Just sayin'.