The Giants have been many things this season. They have been walk-off happy. They have been in first place. Most recently, they've been injured beyond recognition. But one thing they have been very consistently all year is offensively challenged.
So when they have a game like today where they pound out seven runs (that's right) WITHOUT hitting any home runs (again, you're not hallucinating), and getting a lot of timely hits with runners in scoring position (THIS IS MADNESS), you have to sit back and appreciate it.
Pablo Sandoval doubled in Mike Fontenot in the first. Good start. The Giants are really good when they score first. Granted that Cain walked in a batter in the bottom of the first, but that didn't matter.
The fourth inning rolled around. Aubrey Huff doubled. Nate Schierholtz singled. Orlando Cabrera singled in Huff. Brandon Belt walked. Eli Whiteside singled in Schierholtz. Matt Cain hit a sac fly to score Cabrera. Cody Ross hit a sac fly to score Belt. Whiteside got caught stealing and had his bell rung. But the Giants scored FOUR RUNS. In ONE INNING.
As Joe Starkey would say, what a bonanza!
And because it's the Giants, as soon as you lean back in your chair and unbutton your pants to relieve the pressure of the offensive glut-fest you just took part in, you realize that there's no closer in the bullpen. There's also no Sergio Romo. There's also a tired Ramon Ramirez, a tired Javier Lopez and a tired Guillermo Mota.
I mean, as Giants fans, we can't get much more comfortable than we did today. Cain went into the eighth inning with a four-run lead and threw 11 pitches, striking out two. And then the Giants gave him two more bonus runs! A six-run lead for Matt Cain? What could go wrong?
Well, Cain did throw 114 pitches, and was probably a little tired. Good thing Dan Runzler has a six-run lead to get acclimated to the big leagues again! Wait what? He's out of the game? And Brian McCann is up? And he's the tying run? Okay, make the call. Bring in Wilson Romo Lopez Mota Ramirez Bumgarner Affeldt.
But this is no longer Giants baseball: torture. I'm pretty much over that. It was sooooo 2010.
This is the 2011 Giants. This is when you look at the final score and say
"Oh, we won! It was close, but looks like we pulled it out. We'll take it."
And that's where you leave it. You don't ask questions, because the answer will probably include something about one of your Giants heroes being struck by lightning while scoring the winning run.
Take today for example.
The Giants won! Matt Cain is now in double digits for wins, and his ERA is 2.86, good for...ninth in the National League. Sandoval, Ross, and Huff had RBIs. So did Cain, Whiteside, and Cabrera.
And that's it. We'll take it. Giants win, the people who contributed were supposed to contribute, and we made it. Because if you keep going.
But Brian Wilson wasn't at the game, because he was in Pensacola seeing an elbow specialist. Remember when he was at LSU and had Tommy John? That's in your elbow. And Runzler still gets knocked around like he did earlier in the year. And Jeremy Affeldt has been off the last couple appearances.
And Whiteside was "replaced due to an injury to the head." And four of those runs were on sac flies, which are great, but that just means you didn't get a big hit with runners in scoring position. And Jeff Keppinger was warned that if he reinjures his wrist, it could be career-threatening.
And the good news about Jonathan Sanchez is that he was only "noticeably limping today." And Barry Zito fell off the trainer's table in Fresno onto a set of steak knives that cut through his latest ankle wrap and really, really scratched him up good.
And that makes you sad. That makes you think that the win almost wasn't worth it.
But it was! It totally was! The Arizona Diamondbacks lost, and now the Giant are only 2.5 back. Cain was dominant AND he sported a new haircut. Ross is starting to heat up. As long as trainer Dave Groeschner keeps the Band-Aid supply up, I still have faith in this team. And even though we might not love the lineup Bruce Bochy trots out night after night, he doesn't really have much choice.
This team is missing 87 percent of the Opening Day lineup due to injury. And they're still only 2.5 games back of the Diamondbacks. September call-ups are soon, which means rest for the weary. Those disabled list frequent fliers might even come back and contribute. Buster Posey will bring his babies to the clubhouse, and one Giant a night for two weeks will hit two home runs for the twins because they're so precious.
We're still here. And after a long game that got way too exciting at the end, I really mean it when I say it.
2011 Giants baseball: we'll take it.