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Giants fight off Pirates, 13-10

In somewhat of an inverse of last night’s game, the Giants showed the Pirates they know how to hit the ball hard, too.

Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

This game was profound. After last night’s tail-kicking, the Giants turned right back around to kick the Pirates’ tails. And then they turned around and kicked the Giants right back. And after the Giants weathered that storm, the Pirates’ Kyle Crick unloaded a couple of wild pitches, bruised Evan Longoria’s back, and put the fear of god in every hitter... and the Giants still won the game pretty easily.

Buster Posey had 4 hits before the latest arrivals to the stadium had their seats or before people got up to get their second beers. For the first time in the San Francisco era of Giants baseball, a Giant had 4 hits in the first 4 innings of a game. That note came from Jon Miller during the post-game recap. During the game, I saw this on the ol’ Twitter feed:

That was a 16-3 win in Veteran’s Stadium against the Phillies. Benard singled in the 2nd, doubled in the 3rd and 4th, and singled in the 5th.

But back to Buster Posey’s feat. It began with an infield hit. Seriously. Buster Posey ran one out. Everything else was hard hit, but it’s important to remember that his 4-hit night began with an infield hit.

Posey’s night was only the 4th time this season that the Giants have had a player with 4 hits and 3 RBI. The other times: Andrew McCutchen’s 6 hits / 4 RBI walk-off performance against the Dodgers on April 7th, Nick Hundley against the Padres at AT&T Park on May 2nd, and Buster Posey in the last game against the Brewers where Pablo Sandoval tore his hamstring.

It was the 16th 4-hit game of Posey’s career (17th if you include NLCS Game 4 in 2010). His last one was only two weeks ago, July 29th against the Brewers. Before tonight, a catcher had 4 hits and 3 RBI in a game only 297 times in Major League Baseball history. Posey’s night was just the 298th time it’s happened. Posey is on the list 6 out of those 298 instances (Yadier Molina is on there 4 times) — more to the point, since 2010, Buster Posey accounts for 6 of the 38 occurrences (15.79%). If it sounds like I’m trying to make this night about Buster Posey, you may be right.

But, of course, Andrew McCutchen had another stellar night since moving into the leadoff spot. He hit his third home run since the move, a blast to the opposite field off of Pirates starter Clay Holmes’ curveball. The ideal launch angle for a home run is between 25-35 degrees with an exit velocity of 95 mph or greater. McCutchen blasted his leadoff shot at an angle of 30 degrees and at 99 mph. He also walked 4 times tonight, the third time in his career he’s walked 4 times in a single game.

The broadcasters were kind enough to compare this accomplishment to Barry Bonds’ statistical record, as Bonds was someone who gained fame from drawing walks and is set to have his jersey number retired tomorrow afternoon because of that particular skill.

Bonds walked four times in a game 25 times over the course of his career. So, by that measure alone, Bonds is better. But still, Andrew McCutchen has been a solid contributor all season long and will continue to be no matter what uniform he wears at season’s end.

What say you, excellent internet question?

Such a great question. The answer? It was the Jarrett Parker game back in 2015 —

Or, perhaps, most importantly, it was the final start of Barry Zito’s career and the next-to-last start of Tim Hudson’s career. A true nostalgia moment, and the last surge of fun in a season that wasn’t terrible, but didn’t quite break the Giants’ way.

That’s not to say that tonight’s game is emblematic or in any way suggestive of a parallel between this season and 2015, only that it was weird and fun, like that weird and fun game at the end of 2015. Beyond that, tonight was the type of game you want a good team fighting for a playoff spot late in the season to win, especially after losing 10-5 last night.

It was only the sixth time they scored 10+ runs this season, putting them at the 23 mark of last season’s total, but every hitter looked like the best versions of themselves and the Giants managed to hold off a very tough Pirates team because they could score. Something we don’t get to say very often. But now that I think of it, this was just one of those weird Hot August Nights kind of games.

After 3 hours and 44 minutes, the Giants slapped hands on the infield victorious, but the night began with several notes of doom. The NBC Sports broadcast began by mentioning the Giants had lost 8 of 9 at home and that “They’re in a bit of a free fall and need to stop the bleeding”. It was a curious note on which to begin a telecast, but at the same time, audiences love drama, and by setting the stakes, it at least suggested a compelling drama might play out if the Giants got off to a strong start.

Brandon Crawford made a nice catch for the first out of the game and Derek Holland had a quick 8-pitch inning to get things started before turning it over to the offense. The Giants scored two more runs after McCutchen’s leadoff home run, and then in the following inning this popped up:

Josh Harrison made an amazing play on a hit up the middle off the bat of Derek Holland in the bottom of the third inning — in my notes I wrote “robs Hololand of an RBI” — which, hey, if Derek Holland’s solid season had gone differently, might’ve been a nickname. Anyway, the Giants turned every Pirates-helping opportunity into a Giants-winning opportunity.

At one point, Evan Longoria was able to beat the shift with ease.

The Giants drew 11 walks for the 26th time in franchise history (first time since 2016):

It really was that kind of night.

Kyle Crick returned to San Francisco having thrown 6 wild pitches in 40+ innings this season. In 30+ innings with the Giants last season, he threw a total of 6 wild pitches. In his one inning of work tonight, he threw 2 wild pitches, ticked off everyone in the Giants’ dugout, and caused Bruce Bochy to shout at him, “Come on, Cricky!”

It really was that kind of night.