There seemed to be a bit of desperate scrambling on the Giants bench last night. After Matt Cain battled through a tough 7th inning, Ol' Boch sent him out there for the 8th having already faced 27 batters and thrown 105 pitches. It was the top of the lineup and he gave up a single to Jamey Carroll but got Aaron Miles to pop out. Up strode Andre Ethier, in came Javier Lopez for the LOOGY moment, and the Dodger lefty whiffed looking. So far, so good. I didn't have a beef with Cain being stretched for another out or two after an excellent start. He can handle it. True to form, Sergio Romo came in to face righty Matt Kemp. The Giant-killer (.302/.366/.463 in 81 games) stroked a single up the middle on an 1-1 pitch. The next batter was Juan Uribe, so Bochy yanks Romo and puts in Brian Wilson to get a four-out save! That part didn't make any sense. Romo is just as capable of getting Uribe out as Wilson is. In fact, it is his job to get the big outs late in the game. It backfired--Uribe cleared the bases with a double and scored the tying run on a hit from James Loney. It was ugly. I don't normally whine about Bochy's managing, but that struck me as a bit of panicky over-managing. Maybe with the back-to-back losses--horrible losses, mind you--the skipper was jumpy and over-anxious. Hell, I was jumpy and over-anxious, but they don't pay me to be cool under fire. The Giants did indeed win the game, thanks to a three-run homer by Cody Ross in the 9th, and that's what matters the most.
Matt Cain (Game Score 64) out-pitched Clayton Kershaw (Game Score 42) and his teammates worked the old death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts routine on the Dodger southpaw. Three singles in a row in the 3rd with two outs plated the first run. Matt Cain got his first hit of the year to start that mini-rally. Four singles in a row in the 4th, plus a walk and a sacrifice fly made it 4-0. Twelve of the Giants 13 hits were singles, Ross' bomb was the only one for extra bases. After Kemp's homer to lead off the 5th and break up Matt's perfect game, things got scary. Cain went walk, plunk, walk to load the bases with no outs. But he got a pop-up, fly out, and ground out to escape the jam and keep it at 4-1. A two-out rally in the 7th made it 4-2, but the Giants scratched out an insurance run in the 8th behind a walk and stolen base by the resurgent Ross. Miguel Tejada got the RBI in that spot, he had two hits and two batted in, let's hope he keeps that up.
Mark DeRosa re-injured his wrist during his plate appearance in the 4th. I get the feeling that this is it for DeRosa. He winced in pain starting his swing and had to come out. Wrist injuries are killers--you can't play baseball with a bad wrist. The Giants have some interesting decisions to make real soon. Boy, do I miss Pablo Sandoval! Aaron Rowand pulled up lame as well, thank goodness Andres Torres is back. Brian Wilson looked like he pulled a muscle pitching the 9th. To his credit he finished the game, but it did not look promising. We'll see. Perhaps Romo will get a few more opportunities in the meantime.
A win in LA is always huge. This was a classic Giants-Dodgers game. Lots of drama and and momentum swings and hair-pulling moments. Assuming the team can ride out the weird spate of injuries, you have to feel good about the grit and guile on display last night. The offense did a great job against a very tough starter, ending his run of shutout innings at 25-2/3 (2nd to Don Sutton in Dodger history vs. SF). Matt Cain was a beast, retiring the first 12 guys he faced, getting a hit, and battling through adversity late. It was all set up for a nice, neat win, but that's so 2010. This 2011 club is still working things out. Let's get 'em again today!
p.s. Cain made a sliding attempt on a foul pop in the 5th, during his desperate 5th inning jam. He crashed into the railing between home and the dugout, just ahead of the onrushing Miggy and Posey. It was a spectacular effort, and unusual. Mike Krukow said he'd "never seen it." The big fellow shook it off and went back to work. He pitched the rest of the game with a dirty uniform, not something you see on a pitcher very often.