Matt Cain was able to rebound from previous bad starts, but the Giants and Pirates were so even through the first nine innings, that it required an extra frame -- and the speedy little legs of Darren Ford in order to put away the Pittsburgh 3-2.
"I saw him, and he was stopped," second baseman Neil Walker said. "I made the play to first -- I probably could have thrown the ball a little firmer, but that guy can run."
Yes, Ford's score was ridiculously impressive -- it's not often that you can score from third on an infield groundout. But that's why guys like Ford make their living as pinch runners.
And it's why if you're Joel Hanrahan, you don't want to let a pickoff throw fly, because it'll get Ford from first to third and squarely in scoring position.
"I didn't go at first," Ford said of the ball hit by Freddy Sanchez off of Hanrahan with one out. "Not at first, but he just glanced at me. He didn't stop me as an infielder -- he didn't stop me; he just glanced at me. And once he just glanced at me and then lobbed it over to first, I just took off and let my God-given talent just take over."
Sure, Ford might sound like LeBron James there, and he could probably use a little reminder that his title involves "pinch," but, hey, he won the game.
"I tell you what," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, "That was one of the most impressive displays of speed I've seen on a baseball field."
It was also another impressive outing by the Giants bullpen, who kept the Pirates off the board after Cain pitched six solid innings, allowing two earned (one home run), walking one and striking out six.
Brian Wilson picked up the save -- much to the relief of fans who were worried, once again, that the warlock world was collapsing all around us -- and Sergio Romo was dominant again.
Which, by the way, shouldn't go unnoticed -- the dude has been killing it this year to the tune of a 1.04 ERA, walking just one batter and striking out 12 in 8.2 innings through Tuesday night. Not to get over excited about a non-closing relief pitcher, but Romo's skills deserve recognition.
This win deserves recognition too, because after getting swept by the Braves, losing the series opener with this sort of pitching matchup to the Pirates is the type of thing that can get in a team's head.
You don't want to find yourself sitting in a hotel in Pittsburgh, staring at a five-game losing streak on the front end of an East Coast road trip, with just Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong available to pitch you out of that slump.
That is not a place you want to be, even if you're the defending world champs, but it's where the Giants almost found themselves, particularly after the Pirates took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning and appeared ready to shock a seemingly unprepared and a lacking-in-offense Giants team.
Fortunately, the bullpen and the uber-speedy Ford were able to make sure that wasn't the case.