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Giants score 11 runs, lose after comeback falls short

The Giants lost three out of four in Atlanta, but at least they get to fly back home on a redeye after their second straight post-midnight loss.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Atlanta Braves
“If you can think of a better way to exchange long protein strands, I’d like to hear it.”
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Ah, a good ol’ existential loss. Is it more important that the Giants scored 11 runs and lost for just the 21st time in the last 100 years, or is it more important that they rallied to score 11 runs and get the go-ahead run ahead in the ninth inning? Because you know if they scored 11 runs in the first inning and lost, there wouldn’t even be a debate, so why should this loss come with a silver lining?

It’s a trick question. Both can be true, but the framing of the question is deceptive. Neither of them is more important. Yes, it’s hilarious/horrible that the Giants scored 11 runs and lost — one of just four teams to accomplish that feat this season. Consider that they’ve played a three-game series at Coors Field in which they scored a total of eight runs. And here they come, knocking the ball all over the place on the road and losing.

At the same time, I’ll take life from the lineup. These games are graded on a curve now. Congratulations, and welcome to the land of lowered expectations! The Giants could have lost 12-1, and everything could have been awful. Instead, Brandon Belt continued to have good at-bats. Joe Panik continued his torrid June, scoring and driving in three runs. Austin Slater continued to impress, with two hits, including an opposite-field double and a couple of whooooop-gotta-go bat flips thrown in for good measure.

And Buster Posey. Shining hero. I will take a batting-title chase in September for my excitement. Look in my eyes. I am broken. I will accept that and be happy.

The thing about your team losing when they score 11 runs is that you remember the danged games. I remember the stupid quasi-comeback against the A’s last year. I remember the comeback against the Reds in 2010, which was sort of the spiritual sister to this game. I don’t remember the one in Colorado in 2009, but I’m pleased to discover it wasn’t the Spilborghs game. But I remember the one in Milwaukee in 2006, and I vividly remember the Expos game in 1997.

That’s all we can ask, I suppose. To remember these games. To feel something.

[half-awake person coughs, echoing through empty auditorium of TED Talk]

Alright, it was a turd of a game. But we’ll remember it! This team is the absolutely worst team that I’ll ever love, and I’ll miss them when they go away, which I hope will be soon.

Matt Cain didn’t pitch well because he’s not good at pitching anymore, which will never not break my heart. Bryan Morris pitched like a minor-league free agent with a history of not missing bats, which is why he kept getting hitters to two-strike counts and failing.

That’s it. That’s the recap of the pitching in this game. Turns out the Giants didn’t have a whole lot of good pitchers, and they allowed 12 runs.

You can’t possibly want more insight than that.

Hold on, one more downer before I reach for a positive: The Giants have lost three games this week in which they’ve scored eight runs or more.

The 2010 Giants lost three of those games all season.

The 2012 and 2014 Giants each lost one of those games.

The Giants lost three of those games from 1984 through 1986.

The Giants have lost three games this week in which they’ve scored eight runs or more.

Look, even Google’s autocorrect can’t believe it:

The Giants have lost three games this week in which they’ve scored eight runs or more.

BUT KYLE CRICK DEBUTED AND DID GREAT. Listen, this was going to be the theme of the recap if the Giants didn’t show life in the eighth and ninth innings, and it’s still probably the most important development of the game. Heck, it’s one of the more important developments of the season. I’m not sure if the Giants could have traded Crick for Mikie Mahtook this offseason. And here he is, reinvented, throwing hard, throwing strikes.

This is so exciting.

I marveled at the mere possibility just a couple months ago, and here it is. I have first thoughts about his debut:

  1. Crick threw hard
  2. Crick threw strikes
  3. Crick got outs

I’m just tickled about the strikes. With a keg of adrenaline attached to his veins, Crick looked like a normal, hard-throwing reliever. That’s a nifty trick for a player who repeated Double-A for three years and looked like an excellent candidate to never make the majors at all.

Crick threw 2⅔ innings, but he threw just 33 pitches. Of those, 26 went for strikes, and I just want to kiss that factlet right on the factlet lips. He didn’t get a strikeout, but he will clearly get them by the bushel, and he was doing stuff that I never expected he would ever do. And by “stuff,” I mean “throwing strikes.” Am I hammering that into the ground? Possibly. But I honestly thought the best-case scenario for his career was to be a 5.0 BB/9 guy with a ludicrous strikeout rate who drove us mad.

I’ll have a different best-case scenario for him after this year.

When Crick in high school, he was mostly a first baseman until he was a senior. The hope was that, sure, he was raw, but with a little tutelage and some time, he would thrive. I’m not going to lie. I’d lost hope.

Crick didn’t, and now he has a 0.00000000000 ERA. Maybe he pitch 2,000 innings and keep it right there.