The Houston Astros aren't doing very well (.426), and that's the kind of team you hope the Giants can thump on for the rest of the week. Madison Bumgarner not only pitched another great game, he also hit a home run (his first ever), breaking a streak of 16 homer-less home games for San Francisco. With a 4-1 lead in the 8th, Brandon Belt added a two-run homer--hit first of the year--and we could all relax a bit while the bullpen fiddle-farted around to close things out. Though our super southpaw was the star of the evening (12 strikeouts!), I was happiest when Belt belted one over the right-field wall. All of us have been waiting for the young first baseman to find his stroke. I know it is only one AB, but a crumb is a meal to a starving man. The team really needs another bat, and it especially needs someone who can hit the ball over the fence. Let's hope this is one more step in the maturation of The Baby Giraffe. First base has been a black hole in 2012 and some production from that spot for the rest of the season would be great.
But back to Bumgarner. What a treat it is to watch this guy! He's so smooth and has that seemingly effortless delivery. I've seen him take BP and it is obvious he can hit, so the homer was not a surprise. My favorite moment of the night was after Matt Downs bunted for a hit with two out in the top of the 7th. Bumgarner looked like he was angry, then he seemed to be laughing to himself, thinking "that chicken shit knew he was going to whiff so he put one down." He then struck out Jason Castro on three perfect fastballs over the heart of the plate to end the inning. I've no idea what was actually going through his head, of course, but it sure was a fun sequence. Eight wins ties him for second in the league. Matt Cain goes for his eighth tonight.
p.s. The Giants took the lead when Brandon Crawford hit a ground ball up the middle with the bases loaded in the 4th. Three walks preceded that hit. The Giants are 13th in the NL in walks with 179, just behind the Astros.