This, people, is the story of how one Dodger’s no-hit bid ended with a Brandon Crawford extra-inning walkoff homer that sent the Giants to a 3-2 win on a rainy Friday night.
Where to begin?
Thursday night’s comeback win felt like a one-time thing, a statement win, but this Giants team just set the are-you-kidding-me bar a bit higher.
Dodgers starter Ross Stripling had a n0-hitter through 7-1/3 innings. The Giants lineup saw Stripling a good three times through and couldn’t get a good read on him. Trevor Brown said he looked like a veteran out on the mound:
“He had a really good cutter working tonight and he had that big overhang curveball and he was just pounding the strike zone, working both sides of the plate. And he was commanding all of his pitches. That’s tough when a guy has all of his pitches working at the same time. And it’s raining, too. It’s crazy to think that was his debut.”
Stripling had clear landing space to become the second pitcher in MLB history — after Bumpus Jones with the 1892 Cincinnati Reds — to pitch a n0-hitter in his MLB debut.
Not on new Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ watch. He, unlike an amped Dodger fan base, was thinking on an even keel. Stripling was 100 pitches deep and a year removed from Tommy John surgery.
Bruce Bochy understood:
“It’s the kid’s first start. They gotta take care of him so I didn’t think about that. Sure you’d like to give the kid a chance to get a no-hitter, but the first start, I’m sure the pitch count had been up there. You have to look after his health and that’s what they were doing.”
Friday night’s Giants starter, Matt Cain, has been on that side before:
“It’s definitely not something easy. I don’t know if maybe he had thrown that many pitches before. We don’t know what was going on their side of this so, it’s definitely something that’s tough as a competitor.”
Brown, the rookie, was a little shocked:
“I saw his pitch count was at one hundred and it’s his debut, so I see that, but honestly I was surprised to see him come out against me…it was just a sigh of relief, honestly, to get a pitcher out there.”
Stripling struck out Brown, who was up to bat next, twice. Brown capitalized.
Rain pouring, crowd still chattering out of confusion, Brown, in for Buster Posey at catcher, took Hatcher deep for his first career home run to tie the game at two. Brown, who grew up a Dodger fan, stumbled out of the box as he watched the ball leave the park:
“When I saw it land up in the stands, that was one of the most memorable moments I’ve had in baseball.”
If Hunter Pence‘s grand slam yesterday against the Dodgers hit a crowd noise that rattled some ear drums, this one probably broke a few.
Stripling earned one of those runs without a hit to show for it. He now has more earned runs than hits allowed.
Roberts, understandably fueled, ran out to dispute a ball called against Ehire Adrianza and was promptly ejected. Bochy, Robert’s former manager, chuckled:
“He was out there quick, I was a little jealous. I couldn’t get out there that quick.”
Dodger fans probably wish that ejection came a few innings earlier, but you can’t blame the man for protecting his player’s health. Right?
The game escaped into extra innings tied 2-2, before momentum completely swung in the Giants’ direction. It took just one extra before Crawford blasted his second-career walk off home run to left field. Giants win. The end.
Cain’s start shouldn’t go unnoticed amid the late-game excitement. He dished a solid six innings and, like Jake Peavy did on Opening Day, kept the gasping Giants offense somehow within reach.
Cain gave up two runs in a fifth-inning Dodger rally and, as is typical of a Cain outing, got no runs in support. This is the 47th time in Cain’s career that his offense has left him hanging.
So, maybe his best move was surrendering the mound to George Kontos in the seventh.
Reports are circulating that Brandon Belt and the Giants agreed on an extension. Brandon Belt wasn’t around after the game to discuss.