Tonight’s game between the SF Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates matched Madison Bumgarner vs. James McDonald. The last time the Giants faced McDonald, he pitched into the 7th inning as the Pirates shut-out the Giants 2-0.
Note: still no Carlos Beltran. Manager Bruce Bochy said Beltran is “day to day” and may be in the line-up on Friday.
In the meantime, batting clean-up for the Giants tonight is. . . Aubrey Huff?
Much as I expected, in his first AB, with Torres on 2B, Huff grounded out. To the pitcher.
But wait! What’s this? In the 4th inning, with Jeff Keppinger on 3rd, Huff smacked the ball over Ronny Cedeno’s head for a double, scoring Kepp and giving the Giants a 1-0 lead. An actual hit with a runner in scoring position!
And then in the 5th, Chris Stewart popped up. . . all the way into the bleacher seats in left field! Hey howdy! A homerun for Stew – his first in the big leagues (the fan who got it gave it back to him – that’s always cool in my book), tying him with Duane Kuiper on the all-time HR list. In the dugout, it looked like Guillermo Mota was more excited than Stewart (for the record, Mota has hit 2 HRs in his career in only 47 PAs).
Of course Kuiper had the best line of the night on Stewart’s tater: “I hope for his sake he hits another one, because if you only hit one, it’ll make a strong man weep.”
Not wanting to be outdone by a guy hitting his first major league career homeun, in the 6h inning Huff launched one into the seats above right field. That makes 18 consecutive solo homeruns for the Giants (the streak started July 6). The major league record stands at 19, dating back to 1914.
Sergio Romo came into the game in the top of the 8th and gave up a hit to Andrew McCutcheon. Thus ends Romo’s streak of 31 batters faced and retired without allowing any of them to reach base. Romo retired the next three batters, preserving the shut-out.
In the 8th inning, Huff came to the plate with Pablo Sandoval on 1st and one out. Obviously, he’s about to ground softly into a double play. But no – this guy is not done for the night. Huff singled up the right field line, putting Panda on 3rd. Huff has turned his usual 4-3 stat around, going 3-4 tonight.
Nate then reached 1st on a fielder’s choice, scoring Panda. With that, the Giants are up 4-0 and Brian Wilson sits down. No save opportunity here.
Then things got fun. Cody Ross popped up to short right field, with the ball dropping between Neil Walker, Garrett Jones and Derrek Lee. Running hard, Nate scored from 1st (5-0, Giants). While Ross tried to advance to 2nd on the unsuccessful throw to home, Ryan Doumit launched a throw over 2nd base into centerfield trying to get Ross out, but instead allowing Ross to advance to 3rd.
Orlando Cabrera then singled to score Ross. 6-0, Giants.
Santiago Casilla came into the 9th to finish the game, but he had a tough time doing it. With two out and a runner on 1st, pinch hitter Pedro Alvarez reached on Panda’s second error of the night, putting runners on 1st and 2nd. Casilla walked Steve Pearce, leaving the bases loaded and sending Wilson back out to warm up again. After a quick conference on the mound with Bochy, Casilla stayed in to face Andrew McCutcheon, finally striking him out on a full count for the final out.
Final pitching lines:
Bumgarner 7.0 IP/4 H/0 R/0 ER/1 BB/10 effin’ K
McDonald (L) 6.0 IP/4 H/3 R/3 ER/3 BB/4 K