The sea of orange. The rally rags. The fake beards. The panda hats. The Lincecum wigs. The mohawks. The sign reading, “GET YOUR FREAK ON.” Everything about last night was just perfect.
I sat in the center field bleachers and soaked in Tim Lincecum’s gem. The Braves never stood a chance. I was coming off a great day — I had done two radio interviews in Portland, one in Johnson City, Tenn., and one in Nashville just before game time, I had had lunch with some former Chronicle colleagues, I sold one book and signed another, and I had met with a Giants source I knew who told me great stories about the unheralded but incredible band of Giants middle relievers — Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo.
And then: Game time!
I knew when Lincecum struck out five straight Braves – the three through seven hitters in innings one and two – the Giants were in good shape, and I didn’t want the string of Ks to end. The word had been that the Braves’ defense and hitting were suspect, and they proved it last night – only two over .270 and two over .260. (For all their flaws, the Giants fielded three guys over .290, and three more over .260, and the other two are Juan Uribe and Pat Burrell, who I’m always happy to see step up to the plate.)
Still, the moment that worried me more than any other was seeing crafty Bobby Cox bring in lefthander Jonny Venters to face Pablo Sandoval with runners on the corners and one out in the sixth. This was the Giants’ best chance to score — but I hate to see Pablo batting from the right side, with a runner on first. Everyone in the park knew he’d swing at the first pitch, and yup, he did, right into one of his patented double plays.
I love Pablo, but I think he should give up on the switch hitting, like JT Snow did, and go lefty only. And I’d like to see Bruce Bochy outfit him for electric shocks every time he swings at a first pitch in a double play situation. Until either of those things happen, I think he should have been pulled for Mike Fontenot right then and there.
But the best moment was the ninth inning. Brian Wilson was warmed up, I thought for sure he’d come in, as Lincecum had thrown 105 pitches. Wilson was at the top of the dugout steps, but then went back in, out came Timmy, and the crowd went crazy. The Braves had the top of the order up — no matter. One, two, three, and the Giants had a one game lead.
No one wanted to leave. We were all high-fiving, cheering, drinking it all in. It felt so great.
I love the way the Giants have brought the whole city together. I wish this feeling could last forever.