Throwing out the first pitch on this night was a man who was playing third base for his college baseball team during the Pearl Harbor attack.
Lawson Sakai was a student at Compton College in Los Angeles, but when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during the war, his family was sent to live in Manzanar. While in camp, he volunteered for the Army where he served with the celebrated 442nd. The late Senator Dan Inouye was one of his company mates.
Sakai said he was saddened when his close friend died last year in December. “He said Hawaii would lose so much if he retired,” said Sakai. “So he died with his boots on.”
Sakai, 90 in October, is retired and living in the South Bay, where he is a Giants fan and often reflects on what the 442nd accomplished.
“We were really outcasts, in 1943,” said Sakai. “If the Nisei didn’t join the 442nd and fight the Germans, we (Japanese Americans) would not be here today.”
Now for the other pitches of the night in the actual game.
Oh yeah, the game.
This was supposed to be a pitching duel between the Phillies’ Cliff Lee, and the Giants’ best pitcher of the season, Madison Bumgarner.
In addition, the Giants came into this game euphoric with a six-game streak after sweeping the Dodgers. The Giants are now also the official comeback kids of the National League, tied with the Orioles in the Majors with 11 late rally victories.
That’s a lot of drama.
So you know it was OK to spot the Philadelphia Phillies for 3 runs in the 2nd.
They would come back, right? Even with Cliff Lee, who’s been 3-0 with a 0.51 ERA at AT&T Park?
Big question marks.
For the Giants, only Hunter Pence stayed streaky hot. He homered in the bottom of the 2nd, and scored the Giants second run after a double in the 8th.
He was the lone offensive spark on a night the other Giants couldn’t get on base.
So there was no drama. This was more an informercial for Phillies starter Cliff Lee.
The night belonged to Lee, who scattered five hits (including the Pence HR), and kept the Giants at bay with 6 strikeouts.
Bumgarner had 7 strikeouts, but the Phillies were hitting him hard all night.
S’not his night, you might say.
Bum’s line: 8 hits, 5 runs, one homer run, 2 wild pitches, 100 pitches in all.
That really might have been enough to win if the Giants were hitting like they did in the Dodger series.
No such luck with the Phillies, not when Cliff Lee is on his game to shut down the drama.
UPDATE-5-8-2013 Giants doppleganged as Phils win again 6-2
On the anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants’ arrival to the U.S. (May 7, 1843), the coincidence of having a Filipino American starting pitcher may have seemed like the stars were aligned for the Giants on Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
But Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick doesn’t know much about history—as Sam Cook would say.
He created his own history against the Giants, facing them for the first time and making them look foolish at the plate
In 7 innings, Kendrick gave up just 6 hits, 2 runs, and posted six strikeouts, with no walks.
He had it going.
And Giants hero Tim Lincecum didn’t.
Lince’s line: 7 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts, 1 HR.
Getting to be a similar story each Lince-start. Signs of brilliance, but it takes a while for it to show in a game. If he’s not on right away, he starts losing it. Runs score, maybe a big inning. And then he settles, is good. And then it’s up to the hitters. That’s the pattern.
Pitching wise, Lincecum doesn’t talk mechanics so much as his “rhythm.” His rhythm is like a dancer’s. If he’s out of step, he’s all left feet. In ballet, in baseball, it’s subtle but noticeable.
Still, it may have been a good enough effort to win, if the Giants’ batters were able to solve Kendrick.
The Giants were out-pitched, out-hit, 12-7, and with 2 errors, out-played.
This early in the season, all you can say is, “Next.”