The Giants returned to San Francisco from New York City around 4 a.m. Friday morning, hours after a walk-off loss to the Mets and about 10 hours before they would have to suit up for the next game.
They could only sleep and refuel on the plane, a ticked-off Bruce Bochy said before the game:
“We’ve got to protect the players. It doesn’t happen without them.”
Madison Bumgarner, Friday’s starter, voluntarily travelled along with his team, refusing Bochy’s request that he get home to refresh:
“He’s hard-headed, we couldn’t get him to leave early … He’s young, he’ll be fine.”
Bumgarner backed his decision:
“I don’t really want to be 3,000 miles away from the guys when they’re out battling.”
Tough travel is an inevitable pitfall for pro athletes, who are used to the grind and jet lag. The Giants, including Bumgarner, asserted they had enough in the tank:
“Nah, I got plenty of sleep. That didn’t affect anything.”
So, maybe the Giants rested easy as they charter-jetted across three time zones, but there was no denying Bochy’s team looked lethargic Friday night as Chris Anderson nearly no-hit them and ace Madison Bumgarner struggled early a weird 1-0 Diamondbacks’ win.
Yeah, this was a weird one. Weird because the Giants broke up Anderson’s no-hit bid in the seventh with a Buster Posey hit that bounced off Anderson’s leg. Weird because Bumgarner gave up nine hits, allowed a leadoff runner in four innings and only allowed one run with 110 pitches.
Yet, the Giants were always in it. Bumgarner tightened the screws around the seventh and the defense behind him quelled threats with a few big plays. The biggest ones: a 5-4-3 jam that stopped speedy Paul Goldschmidt from taking second and Nori Aoki’s perfect throw home that Posey quickly nabbed, tagging Goldy out at home.
Said Bumgarner of Goldschmidt, who went 2-for-4:
“If you don’t look forward to facing hitters like that, you’re in the wrong business.”
That defense was wide awake, and allowed Bumgarner to get into his groove.
Bumgarner left a few mistakes up and the D-Backs took advantage, but like Bochy said, he’s young and capable.Bumgarner pulled timely outs with runners in scoring position and made good use of his curveball bait, striking out seven through eight innings of hard work. A work horse, that one.
Bumgarner said of those nine hits:
“I thought they just kept hitting it where we weren’t.”
The same couldn’t be said for the Giants’ offense; the deep shifting defense and Anderson — who was facing the Giants for the first time in his career — wouldn’t allow it.
Balls in play seemed to find a man, and Anderson was mixing his off-speed stuff well. Buster’s big hit led to two consecutive outs, and the only Giant that could reach scoring position was Matt Duffy.
The Anderson no-hit bid looked Heston-esque as he hit Duffy with a pitch, twice. Duffy made do and took second on a few wild pitches (one stolen, one given). Aoki pulled a sharp line drive down third that looked like it could send Duffy home in the third, but third baseman Aaron Hill jumped up and nabbed it clean for an out and caught Duffy in the base path for a double play.
Said Bochy of the play:
“Nori’s ball, that one killed us … It was a tough travel day, but if we got a break on Nori’s ball it’s a different game.”
Duffy also got the only other hit of the day, finishing off the Giants’ two hit night.
The Diamondbacks scored their one run in the second when Ender Inciarte knocked a two-out single to score Wellington Castillo from second.
Night-long plane rides aside, the Giants were in this one all the way through. Except maybe in the end when Panik got two strikes down in the count with what the Giants thought was a wonky strike zone. Any chance for a comeback deflated.
“It was frustrating, Panik had no chance that last one. There’s no question it was frustrating there in the ninth.”
Chris Heston spoke with media about his no-hitter Tuesday against the Mets. He said he still feels like the same guy despite rare feat, but he’s been moved to the ‘pitcher’s corner’ of the locker room where Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Jake Peavy are parked.
The no-hitter wasn’t packed with drama, but that Brandon Crawford snag lifted him up. He said he celebrated with his girlfriend, who was there, and made sure to reach out to his family. He’s keeping the game-used ball in his locker.
The no-hitter was Posey’s fourth as a catcher, and Heston applauded him:
“He’s so smart back there. He was putting down exactly what I was thinking.”
The outfield got a bit of a shake up with Gregor Blanco (concussion) and Hunter Pence (wrist tendonitis) headed to the DL. Jarett Parker got the call up to give the three-man outfield some much needed depth. … Mike Broadway fills the 40-man as a new power bullpen guy.