Last night’s game was quite a game. I almost didn’t make it through the entire thing. It was like watching a train wreck. You know the feeling–you can’t look because you are horrified by what you see, yet you can’t help but watch out of morbid curiosity. You settle for putting your hands over your eyes with your fingers separated slightly so you can see through them. And you cringe–last night I cringed so much, I can’t stand up straight yet. Torture? You bet it was. The important thing is we suffered through it together.
It started to go bad pretty early–the Cardinals put a run on the board in the top of the 1st. The GIANTS responded with their own run in the bottom half of the inning. The Cardinals added another run in the 2nd. The GIANTS didn’t. I really didn’t like the way this game was going. In the 3rd, the Cardinals put up 2 more runs–but so did the GIANTS. Vogey didn’t have a great outing–his pitches were missing their spots–but not by much. He kept the game from getting away from the GIANTS by getting the Cardinals offense to hit grounders into double plays. After 3, the score was:
GIANTS 3, Cardinals 4
In the 4th inning, Bochy brought in Petit–and I started to move my hands away from my eyes. Petit pitched 3 scoreless innings, and the bullpen picked up the rest–6 shutout innings for the bullpen. The GIANTS staged a 6th inning rally–scoring 3 runs on 2 hits. This postseason the GIANTS have been scoring on what Tim Flannery calls “RTIs–Runs Thrown In” hey–I’m getting to the point where I don’t care how they score, as long as they score, right? The Cardinals 1st baseman made some poor choices in throwing–he got the ball to where he wanted it to go–he just picked the wrong place to send it or the wrong time. Either way–it resulted in at least 1 GIANTS run. After 6, the score was:
GIANTS 6, Cardinals 4
The 7th inning was the inning I’d been dreading. If the GIANTS new tagline is “Runs Thrown In” the Cardinals postseason theme is “7th Inning Rally” because they have either staged a rally in the 7th or at least scored in the 7th, in every postseason game except 2: in Game 2 of the NLDS–they didn’t score in the 7th, but scored 2 runs in the 8th, and Game 1 of the NLCS–when the GIANTS shut them out 3-0. To say I was a nervous wreck when the 7th got underway, would be like saying the Grand Canyon is a ditch in Arizona–serious understatement. The GIANTS bullpen was giving me good reason to be nervous–they took torture to a whole new level. Lucky for me, Bochy wasn’t taking any chances on the 7th inning. Affeldt faced the 1st two batters, got 2 quick outs, then walked the 3rd. Bochy took him out and brought in Machi, who gave up a base hit. Bochy took him out and brought in Lopez, who got the next batter to hit a ground ball, Panik fielded it cleanly and threw the hitter out at 1st.
Whew! That was scary–but I knew that the Cardinals would give it their best shot in the 8th. Romo pitched to the 1st two batters, got 2 quick outs, then gave up a base hit. The good news is the next batter flied out to end the inning. In the 9th, Casilla faced the 1st two batters and got 2 quick outs–are you seeing a pattern here?–then gave up a base hit. The next batter to the plate was Matt Holliday–aka the Scutaro Killer–Casilla had to get this guy out. And he did–struck him out–looking. The final score was:
GIANTS 6, Cardinals 4
The GIANTS have won 3 games in this best of 7 series–I’m keeping my fingers, my toes and my eyes x’d–IF they win 1 more they go to the World Series. Tonight is their final home game in this series. Let’s all hope they don’t have to go back to St. Louis.
For those who are curious–the ALCS is over. The Kansas City Royals, the AL Wild Card team, swept the Baltimore Orioles–and they are headed to the World Series–with the home team advantage since the American League won the All-Star Game. But as Shania Twain used to say–“that don’t impress me much.”