It's that time of the season, when character counts. The Pirates are showing it, battling and defeating the previously very hot Mets in two successive extra inning games, after getting out of St. Louis with one out of three. Different guys are coming up big in the extras, always a good sign.
The SF Giants are definitely showing it. Shorthanded, the players on the field rise to the occasion against a Washington team that seemed punch drunk on Saturday, during their third straight loss to the Giants. At minimum, the Giants proved opportunistic hitters against the Nationals' top pitchers, winning 8-5 and 12-6 Friday and Saturday.
Buster Posey got his key hits, Brandon Belt stayed hot, and Matt Duffy--the rookie who already seems like one of these vets--continued outstanding play in the field and at the plate.
But one of Saturday's surprise heroes was Kelby Tomlinson, with the leadoff triple that started the 6 run rally in the third, and a double that drove in two. He also looks more comfortable at second. With his Clark Kent glasses and movie star profile, he could soon turn into a fan favorite. He's certainly won the position until Joe Panik gets back.
The other hero Saturday was also a hero Friday: Gregor Blanco got three hits each night, and played a mean center field. Blanco has come off the bench for stretches to help Giants pennant drives before, and a couple of the Giants announcers said that he's never looked better than right now.
Watching the hits, the Giants look sharp and smart at the plate, and relentless, no letting down with a lead on Saturday, they kept smacking those singles, doubles and triples. Character.
These games featured hitting and outstanding bullpen pitching that made up for subpar starts by Peavy and especially Matt Cain. Despite a booming homer on Friday, Hunter Pence remains slumped at the plate and he lost a ball in the field Saturday--if the Giants weren't shorthanded, he'd be due for a rest.
However, the Dodgers have also been winning so the Giants aren't gaining ground in the division. The Cubs keep winning, too. Coming off a strong game that got the Giants started on winning again, and with recent lack of success against Washington, Madison Bumgarner starts on Sunday afternoon, while Giants hitters face a rookie pitcher they've never seen before. A hot day is forecast, and so the ball may be jumping all over the yard again.