It was an epic series in St. Louis topped by a great game tonight. The home crowd got the thrills with the series win, capped by Yadier Molina's 100th career homer. The Giants battled back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the 7th but the Cardinals beat the youngsters in the Giants bullpen to prevail by a 4-3 score. Just when we gushed enthusiastically about lefty Josh Osich and righty Hunter Strickland they gave up the tying and go-ahead runs in consecutive innings. Welcome to the big leagues, lads. The Giants had plenty of chances and fought hard but couldn't quite pull it off. They scored 1, 2, and 3 runs in the three games. The Cardinals scored 2, 0, and 4 runs. I think you can do the math. It was frustrating in the end because the A's beat the Dodgers again in Oakland. The deficit stays at two games.
Two things were notable tonight. The first was the play by Juan Perez to take a home run away from Stephen Piscotty. It had to be one of the best catches of the year. Hell, as good a catch as a guy can make. He caught a ball that would have hit the top of the fence and gone out except that his glove was there before it came down. It wasn't just the long run, leaping climb up the wall, and two-handed basket catch. No, it was the effortless self-possession. He just knew he was going to make the play. It looked like he had worked on it before the game. "Hey Bam-Bam, hit me a few off the top of the right-centerfield wall, OK? I gotta work on my spectacular catches." Perez knew exactly where that ball was going and what he'd have to do to make the play and he executed it with grace and style. Way to go, Juan! It saved a run. Which brings us to notable item number two, Matt Cain. He got hammered in the first three innings and could have been behind by a lot more but he found a groove in the final three to conjure up a strong start. Matty even drove in the Giants first run with a long sacrifice fly to centerfield. That kind of result (6 IP, 2 R, 1 BB, 6K) is what we need to see the rest of the way.
Tough series coming up in Pittsburgh: four games starting tomorrow and spanning the weekend. Off-day Monday.