They were the Athenians facing the Persians at Marathon, the Spartans at Thermopylae, the English we happy few against the massed armies of France. The depleted, undermanned San Francisco Giants defended their home ground, and prevented the Los Angeles Dodgers from clinching the division, with a 12 inning victory, 3-2.
Really--just look at the box score. The Dodger column is twice the size of the Giants. They used a total of 25 players--pinch hitters, pinch runners and a pitcher for every matchup. The Giants used 16 players total, including 6 pitchers.
But on this night, the underdog triumphed, and the heroes were theirs. Starting with the starting pitcher Jake Peavy, who outpitched the fearsome Grienke for seven innings. Rookies who had never played in a pressure game like this excelled. Kelby Tomlinson had two hits and at least two run-saving stops in the field. Catcher Trevor Brown drove in 2 of the 3 Giants runs. It looked electric out there--the veteran Peavy, dealing and pumping everybody up, the infield making plays. I noticed that after his big hit Trevor Brown shouted the same thing as Jarrett Parker did on his big day in Oakland: Let's go!
Tomorrow it's Bumgarner against Kershaw, the epic matchup everyone has waited for, and now it still means something. In a war of attrition, the numerical superiority of the Dodgers (due to all the Giants injuries) should eventually take its toll. But whatever happens, the Giants redeemed their season on Monday night.
Things turned out differently in Pittsburgh. The Pirates were held scoreless for the second consecutive game. They had the Cards scoreless most of the way, and multiple chances to score runs, but lost late, 3-0. Now every game is a crapshoot in terms of pitching, but the Pirates must win the next two against St. Louis to have any hope of the division.