Record: 11-4. Pace: 119-43. Change on last season: +2
Well, I guess we can demonstrably claim to the San Francisco fans that "our ace can beat up your ace". Brandon Webb continued his strong season and became the first pitcher in MLB to go 4-0 on the season; in the process, reclaiming the team lead for strikeouts from Micah Owings. Webb started out in dominant fashion, striking out the side in the bottom of the first. Webb's opponent, Barry Zito, was... err, not quite so on his game. Zito walked Chris Young to start the game, but was able to get Eric Byrnes to bounce into a double play, erasing Young. This was fairly indicative of how the game went; our newly-discovered patience at the plate led to 6 total walks (5 from Zito alone) yet the Giants were also able to induce 3 double plays. I have to accept blame for the DPs, because I mentioned before the game that the Dbacks had grounded into a league-low four DPs. Clearly, I jinxed us.
Some performances of note on the offensive side of the ball included Byrnes, who grounded into TWO double plays, sandwiching an RBI ground-rule double. Typical Byrnes day, he extended his hitting streak. Mark Reynolds, in his triumphant return from his near-death experience on Monday, went hitless yet drew two walks and didn't strike out. Zito and the Giants' bullpen WAS able to finally keep Conor Jackson in check, but CoJack still drew a walk and scored a run. Stephen Drew was the only Dback with more than one hit. Overall, the Dbacks doubled up the Giants in the hits column, 6 to 3. Arizona also was held without a home run, for one of the few times this year.
Defensively, Orlando Hudson, of all people, committed the Diamondbacks' only error, on an unexpected bounce on a ground ball off the bat of pinch hitter Ray Durham in the 8th. Byrnes had an impressive grab on the run to snag a fly ball and get out Rich Aurilia in the 7th, saving at least one run and possibly two. Webb had gotten himself into trouble with his first two walks of the game, to Dback-killer Randy Winn and Giants uber-rookie John Bowker.
The 7th inning was not Webb's first time in trouble. In the 4th, the Giants scored their only run of the day on a single and a double. Webb responded by angrily forcing the Giants into 8 straight groundouts, including groundouts on a total of 11 pitches between the 5th AND 6th innings, until Winn's walk to lead off the 7th.
Webb helped his own cause in the top of the 2nd, when Zito walked CoJack, Reynolds, and Upton, to load the bases with no outs. It looked to be a wasted opportunity as Chris Snyder struck out and Drew popped out. Webb came to bat, and -- promptly surprised the entire stadium by smacking his first hit of the year, and driving in two runs. Webb had 3 RBIs during all of last season, and it ended up being all the offense he would need to win.
Just for good measure, the Dbacks added 2 more runs in the top of the 5th, and once again, Webby was right in the middle of it. Drew singled to lead off the inning, and Webb stepped up to the plate to lay down a bunt. The ball was popped up on an awful bunt attempt, but Giants rookie shortstop Brian Bocock's error allowed Webb to reach safely and Drew to advance to 2nd. CY followed by grounding to 3rd, with the slow-moving Webb out at 2nd, but Young beat the throw to first to prevent the double play. Byrnes responded by smacking a ground-rule double over Winn's head, scoring Drew. O-Dawg followed with a single to score CY, but Randy Winn's perfect throw gunned down Byrnes at the plate. CoJack popped out to end the threat.
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Master of his domain: Brandon Webb (pitching), +33.7% Honorary goodness: Brandon Webb (hitting), +21%
God-emperor of suck: Stephen Drew, -8.1%
So, there we have it; Brandon Webb must have seen what happened to Randy on Monday and said "screw you guys! I'm going to do it all myself." All in all, a pretty decent team effort. Even Drew, as our God-emperor of suck, had a multi-hit game and scored a run. Webb's final line looked like this: 8.0IP, 3H, 1ER, 2BB, 5K, and dropping his ERA on the season to a miniscule 1.86. Lyon closed out the 9th with a 1-2-3 inning, (it's about time!!) lowering his ERA to.... 6.00 for the year. In the other dugout, Zito's line doesn't fully reflect the way he struggled in some innings to find the strike zone: 6.0IP, 5H, 4R, 3ER, 5BB, 2K. Zito picked up another loss to drop to 0-4 on the year, although his season ERA remained exactly constant at 4.50, and he ended up logging a "quality start".
Posting on the gameday thread was sparse by the standards of this year, (would have been impressive last year, though) most likely due to the midday start. Present were Azreous, kishi, Wimb, Augie's Army, 4 Corners Fan, Jim McLennan, dstorm, Craig from Az, Turambar, hotclaws, seton hall snake pit, oklahomasooners, TwinnerA, peachy rex, Stile4aly, friendly Giants fan paboperfecto, and myself.
In other news, please keep Antonio Nararainsami in your thoughts and prayers; the Guyanese immigrant died yesterday after falling two stories off an escalator at Shea during the Mets-Nats game. In happier news, a very Happy Birthday to our very own Jim McLennan, who apparently shares a birthday with Giants manager Bruce Bochy. I have a feeling that one of these men got what they wanted and one did not. Doesn't take a lot of detective work to figure out which was which....