How about that Edgar Renteria?

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I would have been mildly surprised if, before the series, you told me that the Giants would be up 2-0.  I would have been a bit more surprised if you would have told me that the Giants would be up 2-0 because Cliff Lee got lit up in Game 1.  But I would have been most surprised if you told me that a big part of the Giants being up 2-0 was because Edgar Renteria has been playing incredible baseball.  Really, that wouldn’t have computed.

As you saw last night, Renteria hit a solo homer off C.J. Wilson in the fifth inning and hit a two-run single in the eighth.  On Wednesday he was one for three and scored a couple of runs.  Each night he played some pretty darn solid shortstop, with the only blemish being a dropped throw when Buster Posey tried to cut down a runner last night.

More than anything, though, is that he has looked downright spry out there.  Intense, even. I don’t mean to disparage him or anything, but “intense” is not a word you could have used to describe Renteria’s play for the past several years.  He’s a guy who has talked openly of retirement recently. Who has business and charitable interests in Colombia that occupy him more and more as time goes on (he really is a big deal there).  He sat an awful lot in the second half of the season and it would have surprised no one if he all but disappeared as the playoffs got underway.

But he hasn’t. He’s been pretty awesome, actually. And I suppose him sitting so much in the second half has a lot to do with that. I mean, those [ahem] “35-year-old” bones probably needed the rest.  And even if Bruce Bochy never figured that Renteria was going to be an important part of the Giants’ championship push, the rest has done them wonders.

Renteria may still retire after this season. But if he does, it’s nice to see him go out looking a bit more like the exciting player we met as a Florida Marlin than the aging vet he has appeared to be these past few years.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.