The first five innings of this game were really all about Ryan Vogelsong. Facing the National League’s most potent offense, he was very very good Ryan Vogelsong, as opposed to just good Ryan Vogelsong, shutting the Cardinals offense down with the help of solid defense behind him. The Giants offense scored a few runs, seemed like if the bullpen didn’t cough one up, the Giants would manage to get a win out of it, you know, the usual.
Then things got wacky.
The ghost of 2010 Brooks Conrad haunted the Cards’ infield defense, the Giants just would not stop hitting, and next thing you know, George Kontos is (INEXPLICABLY*) pitching with an eleven run lead in the eighth. But nope, to tie a bow in the clownshoes, Marco Scutaro had to hit a grand slam off of Mitchell Boggs, who was only pitching to get some work in anyway.
When the dust (and the tattered remnants of clown paraphernalia) had settled, the Giants had shut out a team by a margin of fifteen or more runs for the first time since they beat the Montreal Expos 18-0 in May of 2000, and had shut out the Cardinals by the largest margin since 1894, when they were the St. Louis Browns. Going into tonight’s game the Cardinals had the second highest average runs per game in the majors (highest in the NL) at 4.98, and the largest run differential in the major leagues at +114. The Giants, in contrast, had a 4.14 runs per game average (good for 20th in the majors) and a +15 run differential (the lowest of any division leader). Obviously that has now improved for the Giants. Oh, and Ryan Vogelsong’s ERA now stands at 2.27, a National League best, and closing in on Jered Weaver’s 2.13.
Baseball is funny.
*For real, why is Kontos not being held for higher leverage situations when Brad Penny exists on the roster? Don’t answer that, no explanation will satisfy me.