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AZ 2, Giants 1 - Heroes of the Federation

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Record 8-7. Change on last season: +3

In Starship Troopers, there's a scene where the humans are defending a base against a number of alien bugs. Then the camera pulls back, to reveal that from there to the horizon is filled with monsters swarming towards the fort. That was pretty much what the last four innings of this game was like - endless waves of Giants, rolling around the infield, and being stopped at third by heroic Diamondback pitchers.

First it was Vazquez, then when he fell, Bruney took his place before succumbing to the clawing hordes. Finally, Brandon Lyon came in, taking up the weapon of his falling comrades, and turning them on the foe in a heroic act of defiance. The final shot of last night's feature was our closer, bloody but unbowed, on top of a pile of enemy carcasses unmatched since the early movies of Governer Schwarzenegger.

My heart simply won't handle many more of these. I've put my name down for triple-bypass surgery, based on the last four Giants innings alone, where they all but outnumbered us in the infield. It was as if they didn't clear the basepaths between innings - if we got the third out with two on, that's how it seems the Giants started off next time.

Guess grand larceny is legal in the state of California, because we snuck out of SBC Park wearing a mask and striped jersey, with a bag marked 'SWAG' containing this game. It was a steal, pure and simple. You do not get outhit 11-3, and still win. "Even by accident we should have scored," said SF manager Felipe Alou, and he's right. The Giants had 14 baserunners, but didn't score until the end of the 9th, and only because Gonzo was - rightly - solely concerned with not letting the tying run reach second.

It was a combination of pressure pitching and fabulous defense that stopped the Giants. The best example of the former was Brandon Lyon absolutely freezing Marquis Grissom with two men on to end the eighth - that may have been the best single pitch of the season. Counsell's diving stop, pirouette and strike to first earlier that innings was merely the finest web gem of a number, including a Tracy-Clayton-Vazquez double-play.

I can't say enough about Vazquez. Despite falling behind most hitters, and not exactly being overpowering [two strikeouts], he finally proved why we traded Randy Johnson for him...okay, ignoring all the cash he came with. Seven innings of shutout ball; only 90 pitches, but he had wobbled his way through innings six and seven. Bruney and Lyon, the two most reliable members of the bullpen took it the rest of the way, albeit with more than their fair share of heartstopping moments.

On the other hand, little to say about the hitters, as you'd expect on a night when we went 3-for-28. Gonzo had the key knock, an RBI double that also led to Glaus's sac fly, but Noah Lowry looked unhittable once he'd got past early control problems (five walks through the front four). Mind you, we've been making every opposing pitcher look good on this road trip, with a team average of just .204. Royce Clayton: 0-for-4, with seven men left on base.

But looking back - and with my pulse now restored to its usual levels - it was a very entertaining game, and I greatly enjoyed doing the play-by-play with Daniel. Thanks also to Enoch, azpenguin, Otacon and IndyDBack for their input.

Off the field, Jose Cruz is doing well and might be back as soon as Friday; that's good news, since we can thank Quinton McCracken for his time and then relegate his .300 slugging butt back to the bench. And in our bit to corner the market in fringe pitchers, please welcome the newest addition to the roster: Armando Almanza. That's the roster with the Tennessee Smokies, by the way, since we're full-up down in Tucson.

As Enoch noted in a diary on the right, Stephen Drew has signed a contract to play in an independent league. Time is now running out for our negotiations with him: while he's undoubtedly got potential, I am leery of waving large sums at unproven prospects, because IMHO, you'd be better off visiting the nearest casino and waving it at black. This may turn out to be a nasty poisoned fruitcake, given to us by Jerry Colangelo as a parting gift.

And congratulations to Random Fandom on their anniversary; the longest-running continuous Arizona blog (as Stefan takes pains to remind me!) remains my first stop every morning.