The Giants and Phillies combined for the game of the year (so far) in the 2012 MLB season on Wednesday night, as Matt Cain and Cliff Lee pitched a pair of shutouts and Melky Cabrera hit a walkoff single that scored Brandon Belt for a 1-0 win in 11 innings.
Yes, it was as thrilling as it sounded -- Cain and Lee were absolutely lights-out the entire night, needing less than 200 pitches combined to complete a pair of shutouts. Lee went 10 innings, while Cain went nine, and they allowed nine hits and one walk between them, while combining to strike out 11.
The Giants kept trying to threaten throughout the night, but they kept finding Bay-Area native Jimmy Rollins' glove, feeding him seven easy ground balls, four of which were turned into double plays.
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But when Antonio Bastardo finally relieved Lee in the 11th inning, the Giants finally delivered. Brandon Crawford struck out to open the inning, but Brandon Belt -- in his first at-bat of the game -- singled to center. After Ty Wigginton bobbled an easy grounder from Angel Pagan, Cabrera stepped up to the plate with two on and laced a ball over Freddy Galvis head that scored Belt and sent the Giants into celebration around home plate.
It was the Giants third-straight series victory and moves them back to .500 at 6-6, just three games back of the Dodgers in the NL West. The Phillies fell to 5-7 and remain -- gulp -- in the basement of the NL East.
What makes this game fascinating from the Giants perspective is that the team kept finding hits against one of the best pitchers in the bigs; the problem was they kept turning those hits into two outs at one time.
But it never felt like the Giants couldn't hit -- they simply managed to only produce one run on nine hits on the night. If the lineup can keep producing the way it has through the season, and Cain pitches like he has the last two nights -- 18 innings, three hits, 15 strikeouts, no runs -- there won't be too many of these heart-wrenching thrillers on deck.
Not that anyone really minds, as long as it ends up with Melky fistpumping as he rounds first on a walkoff anyway.