That team from Los Angleles with all the hat but a lack of cattle did not play yesterday, a perfect opportunity for the Giants to shave a game off of their magic number and pick up a half game in the standings at the expense of the sub-.400 Rockies, and they did just that - but not without effort.
If you look at the box score it would appear to have been a good old fashioned pitching duel, and in some sense it was as the Giants emerged with a 2-1 victory, but it was not a pitching duel that featured exemplary performances from the starters. Madison Bumgarner picked up a win from six innings of work. He deserved it, but it wasn't the crisp kind of Maddy that we have been missing of late. He gave up 4 hits but threw in 5 free passes. Considering that he only allowed 1 run, he made some pretty good pitches when he had to. And yes, he got some help, notably from Brandon Crawford for showing some fine defense, including turning a double play and from Buster Posey for throwing out two would-be base stealers including the guy who we have been led to believe is the world's fastest human, Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler.
Rockie starter Jhoulys Chacin, who appears to have been named after the left-overs from a Scrabble game, also had some frustrations, going five innings and giving up 1 run. You may remember that he lost by one run to the Giants in Denver not too long ago (9-8, Sept. 11).
Madison looked - good enough. In his last five starts, he has gone 6.1 / 4.0 / 6.1 / 4.1 / 6.0 innings, but has managed to give up a lot of runs (18 in his previous 4 starts, 17 of them earned). On that basis, last night, with 1 run scored against him was a definite improvement. He was pulled after 101 pitches (6 K to go with those 5 BB). The bullpen was spectacular thowing up a lot of zeros. Mota, Mijares, Casilla, Lopez and Romo allowed NO hits and 1 walk (Mota). Each reliever got one out, except Casilla, who has become a workhorse lately, pitching to 5 Rockies.
The defensive stars were offensive heros, as Posey got two hits and Crawford hit a triple and a ground-rule double. Marco Scutaro also got two hits. Crawford's triple turned into the first Giants run on a passed ball, and the only rbi came from Hunter Pence (anyone notice how much of a contributor he has been all of a sudden?) who singled home Pablo in the bottom of the sixth for the deciding run.
Congratulations to Madison for being the first Giants starter to record 15 wins this year. Earlier in the year, it looked like he would coast to 20. 20 wins is not actually an easy feat to achieve, which is why it doesn't happen all that often. Last year, no pitcher on the Giants exceeded 13 wins. Even in the wonderful year of 2010, one Giants pitcher (Tim) exceeded 13 wins. I am still hoping for all starters to have double digit wins (one to go) and two to reach at least 15 (one to go). Yes, it means something.