The Awesome That Was Saturday Night (with videos!)
Well. That was pretty amazing. Twice in three years, and this one with still ten games to play. That’s not bad.
The fans and the team started the day seeing the number “2″ next to the magic number, and before the game started, the Reds pulled off a clincher of their own to bring the Dodgers and Giants 10.5 games apart, and thus, guaranteed that they could only tie for the West at best for the Dodgers. I was at Pedro’s Cantina with a friend from my childhood, my sister, and my wife (the Dodger fan) when it happened, and the place erupted. I couldn’t see the TV until I stretched awkwardly to figure out what everyone was cheering about. What a relief, the magic number was at one, and Madison Bumgarner was on the bump for the home team Saturday night.
The evening didn’t start all that hot, what with the loads of pitches from the Carolina boy, the Belt error, and then that runner that advanced to 3rd on the pickoff miscue scoring, it saw the Giants down early 1-0. That would be the last time they trailed in the game. Andrew Werner couldn’t find the strike zone all that much early on, and small ball gave the Giants a lead they would never give back. Madison Bumgarner would later help his own cause, then Marco Scutaro, who everyone swears has the most clutch hits in a Giants uniform this season came through to expand the lead to 5-1 before Yonder Alonso would destroy a 2-run bomb to get MadBum out of the game.
What comes next is a story of the familiar: the bullpen came through. Mota, Affeldt, Casilla, Lopez, and Romo. They all did their jobs, striking out five, and giving up only two hits, one of those hitters would eventually score, but the Giants had a lead to play with, so it was no big deal.
Also, Brandon Belt also did his best Buster Posey impression going the opposite way for a homer. Admittedly, I was looking down when the swing took place, but the crowd reaction was all-knowing, and we had ourselves a little jump around before the place went all Gangham Style on AT&T.
The ninth inning was something crazy though, wasn’t it? Javy Lopez gets the first out, and then the obligatory handoff to Sergio Romo to face the scheduled RHH as the crowd roared in delight to both Lopez’s work, and the inevitable celebration that the team would celebrate. Romo gave up a hit to his first batter. This set it up perfectly for a pitcher’s best friend ending, and it almost happened when Crawford had himself a grounder, ran to 2nd, stepped, jumped and short-hopped it to Belt who couldn’t make the scoop in the first time in what seemed like forever to me. And then, we saw good contact made by the last hitter, it was going straight to center. Could Pagan get to it? Easily. Bang.
I haven’t seen the highlights of the game yet, or really have heard the calls by any of our favorite announcers. I do have my own video of the final out:
And the victory lap:
Seeing a clinching game is definitely something every baseball fan would love to see their team do sometime over the course of their lives, and I got lucky, buying the tickets a couple of weeks ago and hitting it right on the bullseye that they would clinch then, even though I thought they might do it the weekend after in San Diego. Nevertheless, I, nor the fanbase couldn’t be any happier with tonight’s events. Seeing the players, coaches, front office, and the media associated with them as happy as they were was very gratifying because if there’s anyone that puts the most love, and the cliched blood, sweat, and tears into their craft over the course of the long season, it is them.
It’s anyone’s guess as to whom the Giants will face in the first round, but we’re not going to worry about that until later. What we’ll worry about now is resting guys, giving the fringe guys more playing time as a tryout for the postseason, and then if the Dodgers are still in it the fans will all want to talk about their own strategy in messing with LA. That might actually be fun if they are still in it. We shall see.