Aug 19, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Juan Perez (2) climbs the wall and robs St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Stephen Piscotty (not pictured) of a home run during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco Giants almost won the game Wednesday.
When the history of this season is written‒as if anyone is going to write a history of this baseball season, but you never know‒Wednesday’s game will be called the “Almost Game”.
The Giants almost won. The Giants almost took the series. Madison Bumgarner almost saved the day.
But my favorite almost is this one: the Cardinals almost had a home run in the first inning. Here’s what happened: Stephen Piscotty, the Cardinals right fielder hit a sharp line drive that was bound for glory over the center field wall. Almost. In a move that had Giants center fielder Juan Perez scaling the wall like Spiderman, he made a basket catch and snatched the home run away from the Cardinals.
The announcers calling the game were impressed. The Cardinals fans were impressed. Matt Cain was not only impressed, he was grateful. Piscotty? Not so much.
But it was an amazing catch by Perez and will be featured in the highlight reels for a long time.
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Cain almost pitched like he used to. In fact, he was kinda shaky the first two innings, then suddenly‒it was almost like someone flipped a switch‒he settled into a rhythm and gave a solid performance for the rest of his outing. He pitched six complete innings, allowing two runs, six hits and one walk while striking out five.
The Giants scored three runs: one in the fifth when Cain plated Brandon Crawford with a sac fly; one in the sixth when Crawford‒aka Mr. Steak‒hit a line drive single scoring Matt Duffy; and one in the seventh when Kelby Tomlinson’s base hit brought Perez home.
At that point the Giants were in the lead, but the Cardinals tied the score in their half of the inning. In the eighth, their catcher, Yadier Molina‒yes, that’s our Bengie’s little brother‒hit a solo home run for the go-ahead run, and ultimately the win.
The Giants would not go away quietly, though. Manager Bruce Bochy called on his secret weapon, our ace, to see if Bumgarner could generate some two out thunder in the ninth. It almost worked. The final score was: Giants 3, Cardinals 4
The take away from Wednesday’s game? Frank Robinson said it best: “close don’t count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and grenades.”
In other words, almost doesn’t cut it.
But I’ll tell you this–the Giants are still the greatest team in baseball. No almost about it.