SAN FRANCISCO Matt Cain threw 103 pitches. Jeremy Affeldtthrew just 14.
Both of them fixated on one.
For Cain, it was the last pitch he threw a wild, 3-2offering that was supposed to be an enticing changeup to Bobby Abreu. Instead,it was hopelessly wild and allowed the Dodgers to score the tying run in theeighth.
For Affeldt, it was the first pitch he threw a curveballwith his classic hump and tumble. Adrian Gonzalez still managed to stroke it tothe deepest part of right-center field for a triple, and then scored thetiebreaking run on Hanley Ramirezs double.
Cains face was pained with regret.
Its just really frustrating for me to give the lead up ona wild pitch, he said after the Dodgers took a 3-2 victory on an otherwiseperfect Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park. I think youd want almostanything else to happen. I didnt give the bullpen a chance to bail me out.Thats my fault. Thats on my shoulders.
Affeldt was no happier, even if he couldnt share Cainsregret.
I threw the pitch where I wanted it, he said. I made thepitch I wanted to make to Gonzalez and he beat me. Its a pitch you dontexpect a guy to swing at, but he did. You can second guess yourself, but for me he hit my pitch.
Affeldt offered one other thought:
This is why September baseball is so fun. It comes down toone key hit, usually.
One mans fun is another mans torture. Or have youforgotten that word?
There are so many reasons to believe the Giants could clinchthe NL West before Oct. 1, when they arrive at Dodger Stadium for the finalthree games of the regular season. For one, they hold a 4 -game lead. Foranother, theres a schedule that favors the orange to the extreme. The Dodgersstill have a home series with the St. Louis Cardinals and a three-city roadtrip that includes stops in Washington and Cincinnati, the teams with the twotop records in the National League. Meanwhile, the Giants stay entirely within theNL West and the Dodgers are the only team theyll face that has a winningrecord.
We dont do anything easy, Giants manager Bruce Bochysaid. Its going to be a fight, we know it and thats our nature. We fightevery day, but theres a lot of baseball left and thats the way well look atit.