Right now, it seems like the Giants are more focused on personal achievements and success than winning. So, you could say this game was a success.
Despite failing to extend their winning streak to four games, three Giants definitely helped themselves. Marco Scutaro extended the longest current hitting streak in the major leagues to 17 games, Buster Posey increased his league-leading batting average to .337, and Hunter Pence reached 100 RBI for the first time.
Pence hit a three-run shot in the first inning, but it went all downhill from there. Madison Bumgarner allowed five runs (four earned) in four innings while allowing Chase Headley and Jesus Guzman to homer. Headley hit his 30th bomb of the season, and he knocked in his 110th, 111th and 112th runs in the 7-3 win. Yasmani Grandal knocked in two, while Guzman knocked in two and Headley drove in three.
Eric Stults continued his impressive 2012 campaign with his eighth win and yet another quality start. The lefty is 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA this year, although his ERA went up in this game. Pence hit a low pitch out of the park, somehow managing to send it into the first row. However, Stults got out of jams and mowed down a decent lineup, keeping guys like Joaquin Arias and Brandon Belt off-balance all night.
Cameron Maybin’s success won’t show up on the stat sheet, but he made a huge impact. Maybin robbed Xavier Nady, who has excelled in the last two games, of a home run, and he robbed Belt of a hit with an incredible diving catch. Maybin climbed onto the wall and hung there for about a second, stretching his glove over the fence and securing the ball in the glove to rob Nady. It didn’t change the game, but it was certainly a highlight-reel play.
Brad Penny, who is looking to make the playoff roster, probably put any chance he had of making the roster to rest. He gave up two runs and was saved from giving up another one by Posey, who threw out the speedy Chris Denorfia trying to steal second. Penny, who has been inconsistent all year, has a 6.11 ERA and will not be playing for the Giants in October.
Posey will be, though. He leads the league with a .337 batting average, and his two hits helped extend his lead over Andrew McCutchen for the batting title. McCutchen led the whole way through, but with only four games left, it seems like Posey has the batting title locked up (McCutchen’s batting average has plummeted to .329). Winning the batting title would probably lock up the MVP award for him, too.
McCutchen hit a walk-off homer against the Reds tonight, but Posey has more RBI, a better batting average and a better OBP. His team has clinched a playoff spot, while McCutchen’s Pirates have no chance of making the playoffs. Posey plays in a pitchers ballpark and had to bounce back from a brutal injury, while he also leads the league in throwing out runners stealing.
Scutaro won’t win MVP, but he is definitely having success. The second baseman has hit safely in 17 straight games, which leads the majors. He continues to pick apart opposing pitching and get hits, as he ranks among the league leaders in hits. Scutaro, who had a .271 batting average when he arrived in San Francisco, is now hitting .305.
Tomorrow, Tim Lincecum (10-15, 5.15 ERA) looks to improve his case for making the Giants’ playoff rotation with a decent start against Edinson Volquez (11-11, 4.13 ERA) and the Padres. Posey, who doesn’t normally catch when Lincecum pitches, will probably get the day off. Bochy will try to help the kid win the batting title, because he does have the right to do so.
Which Giants will help their case for the playoff roster (or decent positioning on the roster)? Tune in tomorrow at 1:05 PM PT to find out as the Giants look to avoid losing their first road series since the first half.