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The Giants aren't just rejoicing Wednesday's 10-6 win over the Houston Astros because they won their first road series in over a month and moved back into a tie atop the NL Wild Card standings. They're also celebrating the fact that their winning pitcher is the same guy who had his skull smashed by a line drive hit four months ago and hasn't pitched a major league game since.
Joe Martinez, who endured a three skull fractures and a concussion when he was hit by a line-drive hit in this season's third game, returned to action and earned his first major league win as a starter. Not bad for a guy who was in the minor leagues and not even scheduled to make the start as of 48 hours before this game.
Twelve games over .500 sure is nice, but seeing Joe Martinez alive and pitching can give you one of those lumpy deals in your throat. And this was a comeback in more ways than one.
It wasn't just a big, emotional comeback for Martinez after that awful injury, but a comeback for the Giants from three runs down. As of the second inning, the Giants were losing this game 3-0. This was the first time all season that the Giants have been down three runs, and still came back to win the game.
And it was an Eli Whiteside grand slam in the sixth inning that put them ahead for good. Whiteside, a backup catcher, has now hit a grand slam and caught a no-hitter in the same season.
And if you're keeping count, the Giants had twenty-nine hits in the last two days! Boy can it be fun playing the Houston Astros.
So now it's back to the friendly confines of AT&T Park for these Giants, where they'll play the Reds Friday night having the luxury of Tim Lincecum on the mound. But on Wednesday, just seeing Joe Martinez back on the mound was one of the Giants' sweetest luxuries of the season.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer whose lump is still slowly dissipating from his throat.