It was a do-or-die game. The Giants did and lived; the Pirates got done and died. And Madison Bumgarner is a bad, bad man.
Actually is Madison a man? That would mean he is human, and that is far from a foregone conclusion. A Vulcan, maybe. Quite possibly a robot. We've heard Timmy scream "Fuck Yeah!" I've once or twice seen Matt Cain smile. Madison? He has dead eyes. They emote nothing they simply fixate. You know how some dogs turn and run when you pretend to throw a tennis ball? Those are dumb dogs. Madison knows you didn't throw it. He knows it's in your hand, behind your back, and if you try that stupid stunt again, he will tear your arm right out of its feeble socket. You'd be wise to give Madison the ball.
And that's exactly what Giants manager Bruce Bochy did for all nine innings. In a game where the victory was all but assured after the 6th, 7th inning; in a game where maybe it would have been smart to pull Madison and save his arm for the upcoming series against the Washington Nationals, Bochy knew better than to keep the ball from Madison. Bochy, the man with the biggest head in baseball, has in it a brain big enough to know that Madison isn't coming off that mound without someone getting bit or getting shot with a snot-rocket.
Madison Bumgarner, in an elimination playoff game, pitched a complete-game shutout, and it wasn't even close.
Of course, a shutout is still a 0-0 tie unless your team bats in at least one run. The Giants got eight. Half of those came in on one beautiful Brandon Crawford swing a grand salami. And as ESPN pointed out a couple dozen times, it was the first post-season grand slam by a shortstop in Major League Baseball history. That's pretty cool. Take a bow, Brandon you're in the books. Our other Brandon, Belt, batted in three more runs, and Buster brought home the eighth run because why not.
There's also this: we saw Pablo Sandoval, He-Who-Knows-No-Ball-Not-Worthy-Of-A-Swing, come up to bat four times and get 28 pitches. We saw Pablo chase down a foul-ball over the railing, into the Pirates dugout like a true Kung-Fu Panda. I felt like that guy who saw the double rainbow, wondering what it all means. It can only mean one thing: We're in the post-season!
And now, we really, really are. It's 2014, an even-numbered year. You know how we do.
Next stop: Washington D.C.