San Francisco Giants best Nationals for second-straight win
By Toni Cecchetti
Aug 14, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain (18) looks to lay down a bunt against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Washington Nationals 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Up, down, up, down, up…up? I said I was getting dizzy, maybe the Giants can stay up? Give my equilibrium a much needed rest.
Max Scherzer was billed as THE pitcher–no way could our Giants score against this Cy Young hopeful. Or if we did manage to score, it wouldn’t be much. After all, he was one of the architects of the Tigers post season run in 2012. Wait a minute, if he pitched for the Tigers in the 2012 Fall Classic, he didn’t take the Giants then–the Giants took him. We swept, remember? I certainly do.
So why is he so scary now? Of course, I can sit here and tell you that I knew all along the Giants would send him packing early, but I’d be lying to you if I said that. And we all know I’d never lie to you, right? Right??
I had some doubts. Shame on me. Who knows why, but for some reason the talking heads made me question the Giants. I’m not proud of that. But you have to admit, Matt Cain has given us some reason for worry. He has his moments, and then…suddenly, he has one of those moments. You know the ones I’m talking about–the moments where the other guys take him out of the yard.
That’s how this game got started, sort of. Cain walked the Nationals lead off hitter, and in the spirit of Giants style, the Nationals plated their guy with a sac bunt and a sac fly, putting the Nationals on top in the opening salvo.
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Here’s where the plot thickens: in their half of the first the Giants returned fire. Big time. Matt Duffy hit a big fly to tie the score.
The Nationals lead off hitter in the second blasted a double to right field, but Cain and the rest of our Giants sent the next three scurrying back to the bench. And the Giants went back to work at the plate.
This game could be sub-titled double, double, toil and trouble. Double, double, toil for the Giants and trouble for the Nationals. In the second inning Brandon Crawford led off with a double–the 100th double of his career–Justin Maxwell doubled him home. Ehire Adrianza got hit by a pitch, and Matt Cain laid down a perfect sac bunt, advancing Maxwell to third and Adrianza to second.
Gregor Blanco doubled, scoring Maxwell and Adrianza, then Duffy hit a double plating Blanco. At this point Kuip exclaimed “and the hit parade continues.” In the third inning Hunter Pence led off with a solo home run. And at the end of the inning sent Scherzer to grab some pine, meat.
The Nationals, however, weren’t about to go away quietly. In the fifth inning their lineup turned Cain upside down and inside out. We watched a five run lead shrink to one run when their lead off hitter hit a home run and later in the inning their big slugger, Bryce Harper hit a three run homer. Cain pitched four and ⅔ innings, allowing five runs (all five earned, two home runs) and one walk, while striking out three.
The Giants scored two more times: Blanco doubled–his second for the night–in the sixth, stole third with Duffy batting, and slid around the tag at home plate when Brandon Belt ground out. Juan Perez hit a single in the eighth, advanced to third on Blanco’s bunt base hit and scored on Duffy’s sac fly. Duffy missed the cycle by a triple. The final score was: Giants 8, Nationals 5
The Giants committed three errors during the game. That concerned me a bit–the Giants don’t commit errors often. I wondered, how often? So I looked it up. The Giants rank 25th in errors committed among all MLB teams, with a grand total of 57 before Friday’s game. I guess I shouldn’t worry about the errors too much. Our neighbors across the bay lead the MLB with 96.
At best Friday night’s game was supposed to be a low, closely scored game. It was anything but. And it was pretty fun to watch—until it wasn’t. The fifth made me really nervous. And if I felt nervous, I can’t imagine how Cain felt–I know it drove him right off the mound.
But you know what? Cain stayed in longer than the Cy Young hopeful, he should be proud of that.
I know I am.