Matt Cain pitched a great game. What's new? He dueled with Billingsley for seven innings for a line of 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 K.
The game was scoreless until the seventh inning, when Ishikawa doubled with one out, Burriss pinch ran for him and advanced to third on a wild pitch, and after a Velez groundout, Fontenot stepped to the plate in a two-out, runners in scoring position scenario (runner on third).
He battled and blooped an inside pitch into the outfield for an RBI single. With a 1-0 lead, Sergio Romo, who has been a fantastic setup man for the Giants, came into the game and retired the side in order.
The Giants were not done scoring yet, though. In the eighth, Huff led off with a double, followed by an intentional walk to Buster Posey. After Juan Uribe flied out to shallow center field, Pablo Sandoval, whose biggest weakness has been his high amount of double plays grounded into, stepped to the plate.
The Giants caught a break when Jansen, the Dodgers reliever, threw a wild pitch, which allowed Posey and Huff to each advance. This eliminated the double play possibility for the Giants, which was key, as Sandoval promptly hit a ground ball to second base.
The throw came home and Huff sped home, taking a hard slide into the plate and scoring a second run for the Giants. He clearly took a hard hit to the shins with the slide, but nevertheless slid with all of his force, exemplifying his eagerness for a ticket to the postseason.
The run would be important, as Wilson gave up a two-out opposite-field solo home run to Ethier in the bottom of the ninth. Wilson fell behind quickly to the next batter, Jay Gibbons, but worked a 2-0 count into a full count and threw 98 mph gas to strike him out swinging, bringing the Giants to a half-game deficit in both the NL West and the NL Wild Card.
The Giants' little guys—their supplemental players—are making the difference in these games. Ishikawa hit a pinch-hit double, Emmanuel Burriss pinch ran for him, and Fontenot knocked in the run.
These contributions from bench players are the things that will win these close ballgames for the Giants—and they really have a great collection of bench players. Their speed is good in Ford, Burriss, and Velez, and they have competent left-handed hitters and defensive replacements in Ishikawa and Schierholtz.
Also, Fontenot's left-handed bat is a perfect complement for Freddy Sanchez's bat (Sanchez is a much better against lefties: .348 against lefties, but just .270 against rightys.) These players become especially key in the wake of Andres Torres' appendectomy.
The Giants have now won 10 of Matt Cain's last 12 starts.
The Giants' 1.63 team ERA this month is the best mark in the majors.
Over the last 16 games, the Giants pitchers have been on fire with a 2.04 ERA. 12 of their last 16 outings have been quality starts.
The Andre Ethier home run was just the second earned run allowed by Brian Wilson in 20.0 innings since August 1.
Brian Wilson recorded his 43rd save. This number ranks first in the National League, and is tied for first in the majors with Rafael Soriano. Wilson now stands just five saves away from Rod Beck's San Francisco record of 48 saves in a single season. He has nine 4-plus out saves this year, an indication of his stamina as a closer.
Congratulations to Aubrey Huff on his newborn child!
Sanchez has been incredible to watch lately. He's allowed just one earned run over his last three starts (20 innings), despite walking seven in his last start. Hopefully, he'll continue to pitch well—consistency isn't his strong suit.
If the Rockies and the Giants both win tomorrow, the Giants will claim sole possession of 1st place in the NL West. It's not out of the question: Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound for the Rockies.
Bruce Bochy: "Right now, we can't count on Andres. He just had the surgery. We have to move on. We have some good players here. I hope they respond well to some playing time."