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Giants take third straight, extend lead in NL West

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It all started with a leadoff homer from Denard Span, and the runs kept coming.

Jarrett Parker got to the post-game celebration late because he took a weird route, but it all worked out.
Jarrett Parker got to the post-game celebration late because he took a weird route, but it all worked out.
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants won. The Dodgers lost. For the second straight day, Bay Area sports has been a cupcake filled with earwigs, but we can take solace in the simple things. Simple things like the Giants winning on the same night the Dodgers lost. The Giants are six games up, and the Dodgers are nearly as close to the Padres in the standings as they are to the Giants.

The Giants are being true friends right now.

If it feels like it’s been a bit since the Giants had a comfortable win, that’s because it has been. Nearly every win over the last month has felt like a grind, with Bruce Bochy squeezing every last drop of bullpen juice into the cocktail, so this almost feels like a day off for the team, I'm sure, other than the four long hours of baseball they had to play.

The Giants started the game magnificently, with a leadoff homer followed by a triple which is the first time we were treated to that sequence in the last 10 years, and whenever the Brewers made a charge, it was answered immediately. The Brewers scored in four different innings, yet they had only one shutdown inning. I know that doesn’t really mean anything, but I’ll be honest: It’s a very fun stat when it’s not happening to your team.

So while the Giants didn’t necessarily need an inning of complete nonsense, they certainly took it and ran. When the seventh inning started, they had a one run lead. The first two batters made quick outs, and here’s how the rest of the inning went:

  • bloop hit
  • infield hit
  • infield hit
  • broken-bat hit
  • walk
  • seeing-eye hit

There wasn’t a solid hit in the bunch. And on the surface, it looked like it was going to let the fans relax a bit, nothing more. But it allowed Bochy to keep Albert Suarez in for another two-thirds of an inning, and he needed just two pitchers after that. The tired bullpen became a little less tired. While there will be a night where we would prefer to cut and paste the nonsense from Monday night into another, closer game, this will do just fine.

The Giants won because of the baseballs they hit hard, from the leadoff dinger to the triple that immediately followed to Buster Posey’s superb healthy-thumbed swing. But the seventh inning of complete nonsense might help them win tomorrow or the next day. They were all advancing the long-term goal of the season.

We should all leave offerings for the nonsense on a decorative plate by the fireplace. The traditional offerings for an inning like that are a glass of ketchup and chocolate chip cookies with buttons on them. I’ll be up all night making those from scratch, but the inning deserves no less.

Also, the Giants won, and the Dodgers lost.

* * *

Matt Cain gets a big fat incomplete, which is fine for a first start back. He looked like his old imperfect self (the new version), but he missed a few bats, at least.

Alright, he allowed 10 baserunners in 3⅔ innings and didn’t look sharp. But I still want to believe.

While it looked like Cain was getting squeezed by Kerwin Danley during a laborious third inning, it turns out ol’ Kerwin was probably better at calling balls and strikes from a foot away than we were from home:

That’s a pretty remarkable strike zone, really. Maybe the lasers are lying to us, but there will be no easy scapegoat for Matt Cain’s iffy start. Other than rust.

Wait! Rust can be a scapegoat! I choose rust. While I’m not going to go so far as to say that I’m looking forward to Cain’s next start, there’s still an optimism regarding him that was baked into me over the last decade, atom by atom, and it’s hard to pull out, no matter how irrational. This start didn't look so hot, but the Giants scored runs for him, as they do.

Also, the Giants won, and the Dodgers lost.

* * *

I think the thing I’ll remember the most about Scooter Gennett was his name, which was Scooter. We’ll miss him.

* * *

One of these days we’ll all have to make a Favorite Baseball Play bingo card, and we’ll keep up with all year. Mine would have things like "inside-the-park home run" and "the pitcher snaring a comebacker and turning the double play without incident," which Matt Cain actually did on Monday night.

Denard Span would have been a bingo-card All-Star in this game. He hit the first leadoff homer of the year for the Giants, and as an acolyte of Rickey Henderson growing up, that’s most definitely up my alley.

Just as beautiful to me, though, was when he gregored the ball down the first base line. Now, there’s no video for it on MLB.com because why would there be? It was just a leadoff bunt single. Nothing to see here.

But he gregored it perfectly. Here's a reenactment:

Bunts like that whisper in my ear at night when I’m tossing and turning. Span’s started a two-run rally, and it came in the same game as a home run, which makes it extra special. I'm all about the contrasts in this fine sport of ours.

However! I would have taken the bingo card and eaten it in protest because on the back of the card, it would have read "Take picture in front of #Splash69 sign," which I would have done in about a month or so. Bad Denard! Bad! That wasn’t going to be something we left for future generations or anything, but we at least deserved two more weeks with it.

I suppose if I have to make a choice between "majestic leadoff homer" and "10-year-old giggle sign," I’ll go with the homer. But I'm still upset over here.

No one ever thinks of the internet. It’s just rude.