For a long time it seemed like a sad summary of what the last few weeks have been like for the San Francisco Giants. Jake Peavy and their bullpen held the Dodgers in check, but inning after inning they squandered opportunities to score. In the 8th, in the 9th. In the 10th. And the 11th. And the 12th. They left ten on base.
But finally in the 13th inning they got deep into the Dodgers bullpen and scrambled together three runs, with pinch hitter and rookie catcher Andrew Susac driving in the winning run and scoring the third of the inning. The game was iced by the fireballing rookie reliever Hunter Strickland, who struck out two and induced a ground ball out. Though the hitting woes for many of the veterans continued, especially Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt started to look like his old self, and Gregor Blanco homered and drove in two.
Earlier, the Pittsburgh Pirates won their second consecutive 1-0 game, this time against their ancient enemy, Atlanta. The sole run of the game was a homer by Andrew McCutchen. ESPN touted him as a repeat MVP. Francisco Liriano pitched the shutdown shutout.
Which means my two teams are tied for the first wild card spot. It seems more and more likely they will be playing each other.
They are also both barely alive for their respective division leads. The Giants at least for the moment control their fate, as they are playing twice more against the division leading Dodgers. The Pirates can't do anything but keep winning and hope that the Cards start to lose, which so far they are not doing. They beat up on the Cubs on Monday. But the Pirates every day look more and more like the real thing. No longer just hoping to get into the postseason, they are showing the strength to go deep, even all the way.
Meanwhile, I've finally watched the second game of the 2004 NBA finals again, the only game (as it turned out) that the Lakers won against Detroit. I hadn't remembered it as a great game, but it is--a great Laker game. Maybe not the best this particular Laker team ever played, but definitely the last great game they played. Shaq would go on to have a monster 4th game, but the Lakers couldn't compensate for Karl Malone's injury. They were outplayed and probably outcoached. And that was the end for this team. But this particular game was great, and I'm going to watch it again before I put it away.