The Braves were short-handed today, with neither Brian McCann nor Chipper Jones in the starting lineup. They played like it, too, bunting with their number three hitter (Yunel Escobar) with two on and zero outs in the 3rd. It was like Bobby Cox announced "we expect this to be an old-school NL low-scoring pitchers duel so we are going to play like runs are scarce." It worked, the Braves scored both guys, but I couldn't help wondering about bunting with your number three hitter in the 3rd inning. Later, the Giants executed some nice-looking warm & fuzzy little ball to get close in the 7th with men on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. RBI dribblers to the right side by Sandoval and Huff brought them in, but I was sure hoping for a goddamn hit. Rowand and Renteria had put together a nice little run-and-hit to start things off. I kept thinking our third-and-fourth-place hitters needed to get the big bomb in that situation. Little did I know that the big bombs on the club would come off Wagner in the 9th. Did I believe we had the big bombs in us? No way! I thought Edgar "two-run homer in the 9th" Renteria's career was over last year, but this year he seems to have something to prove and so far I have to like the results. I have no problem with being wrong when it comes to our guys exceeding my expectations! The same goes for Eugenio "leadoff double in the 9th" Velez. I sure didn't see that coming, and I've given Velez a goodly share of grief on this site. Prove me wrong, man.
It was one of those languid affairs, with Tim Hudson doing a Rick Reuschel routine, mesmerizing our feeble hitters with his sinking stuff. Jonathan Sanchez had some location issues and some poor luck, getting hurt by a couple of ground balls. The line looks bad, but he struck out six in 4-1/3, and he was getting some nasty-looking break on his off-speed stuff, whether it's the curves, sliders or slurves, and it looked unhittable. I exepct he'll find his groove. I would have let him finish the 5th, but it worked out. The bullpen had some rocky moments, but that's an impressive crew so far. Even last men Brandon Medders and Guillermo Mota were effective. See what happens when I doubt wise old birds like Bobby Cox? It was an old-school NL low-scoring pitchers duel. It just took fourteen pitchers! I liked how Waldis Joaquin and Dan Runzler struggled, gave up a run, but battled and kept the lid on it. Brian Wilson looks great, plain and simple, but got in trouble in the 11th and Sergio Romo bailed him out. Romo then gave us another chance by working a scoreless 12th. Pablo Sandoval worked some Panda magic with a bloop leadoff double in the bottom half, but the Braves pitched out of it.
Late-inning replacement Brian McCann led off the lucky 13th with a hit off Jeremy Affeldt, the 8th pitcher of the day for the Giants. Funny how the Giants bunted perfectly all day, and a blown bunt (or blown call) by Kris Medlen got Cox tossed for arguing! It all looked lost until Juan Uribe--Juan "lifetime OBP under .300" Uribe--got a walk off Medlen. He stole a bag and took 3rd on the errant throw! Crazy. McCann had a beef, it looked like Rowand's bat interfered with him, but home plate ump Tim Tschida was having none of it. Facing 0-2, Rowand delivered the a game-winning grounder deep in the hole and the Giants had a magical victory.
I'm amazed and exhausted and exhilarated. The San Francisco Giants are UNDEFEATED and HAVE THE BEST RECORD IN BASEBALL. They beat a good team in a long, hard-fought, grind-it-out classic of a ballgame.
Go Giants! Keep it rolling!