Aug. 9, 2011
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The thing that most resonates after the Giants 6-0 victory over the Pirates Tuesday is the relief that comes with knowing that for one day there wont be a migraine-creating sideshow.
RECAP: Bumgarner, Huff lead Giants to 6-0 victory
That may be the most enduring issue with this team as it holds on desperately to first place in the National League Amish Division. When theyre not playing smart, crisp baseball, the hardest core of the fan base tends to get distracted by ancillary issues.Tuesday, it was whether or not Aaron Rowand had offended the city and his employers. Before that, it was the Internet argument over Ramon Ramirez immigration status. Before that, it was The Brawl For It All. Before that, well, theres always that hardly old perennial, Barry Zito.Thats how it is around these parts these days. Theres never a dull day, even if there is a dull game.
Thus, Tuesdays return to what Giant fans believe is normalcy came as somewhat of a relief around and about the Thing On King. Oh, there may be some highly caffeinated debates about Pablo Sandovals hands after his two errors, but since neither led to any kind of Pittsburgh inning, that would be looking for trouble where it doesnt yet need to be found.Madison Bumgarner threw his usual 70 percent strikes, but avoided giving up any first- or third-inning runs to propel his second career double-digit strikeout game. The oft-maligned Aubrey Huff homered and hit a double that looked like a departing plane. Chris Stewart muscled his way next to Duane Kuiper on the all-time major league home run list. Sergio Romo had his 10-inning perfect game broken up by Andrew McCutchens eighth-inning double but began a new one immediately thereafter.And in all, the Giants scored three times their normal complement of runs to stay a half-step ahead of Arizona, which played a Canadian Football League game against Houston before winning, 11-8. They became the 29th team to break the mythical 400-run barrier, something that happens to every team in every non-strike year.Mostly, though, they looked the way they have been advertised to look for one of the few times in the past three weeks. They took the audiences mind of what they havent been doing by, well, doing it, allowing the customers to avoid the side stories that exasperate some and befuddle others.There is always up-side to be a conversation-starter, as the Giants have become. Most notably, the question of Alex Smith never comes up when the topic is the Giants. Or the debt ceiling, or the stock market, or the London riots, or the collapse of civilization, or worst of all, the rumors of a four-hour Kardashian-related show.The down-side, though, is that when things go south as they have, little things become big, and semi-big things become enormous. And somewhere between those two extremes rests Carlos Beltrans wrist injury, which went from sprain to strain and from day to day without added incident.RELATED: Beltran day-to-day, might play Wednesday
That is, to be honest, the biggest story of the last week as it pertains to the Giants ability to survive August, but it lacks the effervescence of weirdness. The others, though, got legs and stayed running awhile because they filled in the long stretches of dead air between Giant hits.That is a hidden but still very real element of long hitting slumps. Nature abhors dead air, and will fill it with whatever happens to be available. The Rowand story came and died right before game time, and the game sold itself.But theres a game Wednesday, and unless Pat Burrells trip to North Carolina for a further examination of his foot reveals that it is in fact a hoof, the Giants may have to settle for more baseball like Tuesdays. I mean, thats novel enough given how theyve handled the last three weeks, but one can never tell where a fertile imagination will take a team with a soggy bat rack, an eager marketing department, and a beast that must always be fed.