For the second straight night in Atlanta, the San Francisco Giants scored 8 runs, but this time they won 8-3, with an 8th inning rally of four runs. After the Giants squandered another lead, they got two straight doubles to tie it up again. Atlanta elected to intentionally walk Posey to get to Hunter Pence. It didn't work. Pence hit a three-run homer. Only so many times he's going to hit into a double play in this situation.
He did that with the bases loaded to end the last game against Texas, the first of two losses of the kind that give restless nightmares to Giants fans, if not the players. But the worse loss was the first game in Atlanta, when the Giants bullpen gave up three leads to lose in the 12th 9-8.
I know as a Giants fan I'm supposed to hate the Dodgers most of all, and as a Pirates fan it's St. Louis these days. But I've been a Pirates fan a long time and I learned to hate Atlanta above all. I also won't use their racist team name.
In the second game of the series on Tuesday, Matt Duffy had another 4 hit night, including driving in the tying run in the 8th. The Giants and associated media are promoting him for NL rookie of the year, and he's certainly the Giants' rookie of the year. Other good news: Aoki and Adrianza are hitting, and Jake Peavy continues to pitch well--he threw a lot of pitches for six innings but had 8 strikeouts and gave up just one run. He deserved the win but the bullpen again blew the save.
But this may all be outweighed by the bad news, at least if it continues: Joe Panik is on the disabled list with back problems of mysterious origin. Just as the Giants were getting healthy, this is a significant blow. You don't lose a .300 hitter and a superior infielder without consequences.
The Giants had injuries all last year and backed into the playoffs--really, lucked into the playoffs--and every season is all new, so it could happen again. But their playoff hopes may depend on Joe. Though Panik may not be as essential as Pence and Posey have proven to be, he's probably close. They can win without Pagan, and so far this year, they mostly had to.
The Tuesday night game hurt too because it all fell apart with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, when closer Casilla, who was shaky and has been recently, gave up a gopher ball, two strikes from victory. The only reliever who looked sharp was Romo, but apparently the scheme trumps game reality (or maybe it was just that Romo was overworked lately) but not bringing him back for the 9th turns out to have been much of the story.
The third game in the series Wednesday was set up to be the prime pitchers' duel. Those are always 50-50 chances, just as the series is evenly split. The Giants are the better team, but their best chance of winning the series on the road may have passed.
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