Here’s your game ball, Jarrett Parker.
After 20 combined runs in a matter of three hours Saturday afternoon, the Giants exploded back when rookie callup Jarrett Parker’s eigth-inning grand slam — his third home run of the day — lifted San Francisco to a 14-10 win.
A day that started with nostalgia for many Bay Area baseball fans as Barry Zito and Tim Hudson took the mound for the A’s and Giants ended in a marathon of good hitting and bad pitching. Nearly four hours later.
Zito and Hudson both only pitched two innings, Hudson being pulled in the second and Zito in the third. Neither pitcher looked close to what they did when they played together in the early 2000s for Oakland.
It was a nice memory for the capacity crowd, and the flood of offense just added to it all. Thirty hits in total, three each from A’s third baseman Danny Valencia and the Giants’ Parker, and four from second baseman Kelby Tomlinson.
But Parker’s three jacks stole the show. Heck, they stole the series, perhaps the entire Giants season.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said:
“It’s the best offensive game I’ve ever seen in person. I’ve seen three home runs,
but to hit a grand slam with the game tied, an amazing day for this kid. He’s been swinging well since he came up here. To do what he did today truly is amazing. … He made it look easy. And we needed it.”
Parker is something else. Drafted out of the University of Virginia in 2010, Parker seems ready to emerge from years in the Giants farm system after waiting his turn behind veterans Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera.
Photos by Jeffery Bennett/SFBay
Parker spent 2011 and 2012 with the Single-A San Jose Giants, and two more years in Double-A. After playing a full season with Triple-A Sacramento, Parker became a candidate to be called up for September roster expansion.
And he’s making it count.
He’s never had a game this good that he can remember, and he tried to go all the way back to little league. Not high school, though he said he’s had some solid college games. Now he’s in a category with one Giants great, Willie Mays.
Parker is the first Giant to hit three homers and accumulate seven RBI in a single game since Mays hit four jacks and eight RBI in 1961.
“I’m speechless. I can’t understand that. That’s wild.”
Parker now has six home runs in 27 big league at-bats, pretty incredible considering the 23 he hit in 434 Triple-A at bats in 2015.
He’s now the first Giants rookie to hit three home runs in a game, and the first Giant to do so in a game since Pablo Sandoval in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. Parker said he hadn’t quite realized exactly what kind of performance he just put on:
“I think once I get back to the hotel, it will sink in a little more.”
Hudson, who’s seen his share of excellent hitting in his long career, had Parker in debt after the rookie dropped a fly ball earlier in the season. Parker told Hudson that he’d get one back for him, and hopes he did now.
“Man, he’s really coming on the scene with some authority. It’s fun to watch. He’s taking at-bats with a lot of confidence. Five or six homers, and I think he’s had one or two of them robbed. So he could very well of had seven. It was fun to see.”