Chris Marrero waited 12 seasons in the minor and major leagues, 47 big league games, and 143 at-bats for the right pitch. He hit 140 career home runs in the minors, but none as a big leaguer. Tyler Anderson dealt the 28-year-old a two-strike changeup that did the trick.
Marrero blasted it to left field for his first career home run, pumping his fist as he turned ’round first base and Hunter Pence trotted home. Marrero thought about his family, the work, the support that led up to this long-awaited moment:
“It’s my first one. You think about every single thing.”
Those emotions lingered for Marrero as he took left field the next inning, but he also knew what those two runs meant in that moment:
“It put us up two runs with Johnny Cueto on the mound. That’s huge.”
With Marrero’s milestone moment lingering early over the dugout, the Giants put up one of their token big-offensive games, toppling the Colorado Rockies 8-2 Friday night and making Cueto the first Giant to reach three wins.
The emotional momentum might have carried over to a grieving Brandon Crawford in the fourth off Anderson, who hammered a first-pitch fastball the opposite way for his second home run of the season, he said after the game:
“That one’s for Jen. That one’s for my sister in law…I know she was watching this game tonight.”
The homer brought a tear to his wife Jalynn’s eye, too.
An overnight drive to and from Los Angeles in the wake of his sister in law’s sudden death has kept Crawford from a good quality sleep. Despite Bruce Bochy’s attempts to grant him rest, Crawford wouldn’t hear it:
“He said ‘nah,’ I want to play.”
Crawford went 2-for-4. His other hit came in rousing two-out rally in the eighth inning ignited by a Denard Span walk. Things got weird when the crowd illuminated the park with their cell phone flashlights.
Hunter Pence, Nick Hundley, Crawford and Eduardo Nunez kept the line moving, stacking a six-run lead to Cueto‘s chances at his third win. Bruce Bochy‘s dream come to life after losing four games by two or fewer runs to start the season:
“That’s something that caught up with us that last road trip. We couldn’t add on.”
Cueto (W, 3-0, 3.79 ERA) deserved the win, too. He was his typical self, throwing strikeout-worthy changeups and shimmy-ing the Rockies (7-5) out of their minds. He ran into trouble in the fifth.
Bud Black had been ejected for spewing at the home and first base umpires, presumably fuming after Anderson (L, 1-2, 8.59 ERA) was called for a club-tying two balks. The Rockies loaded the bases and scored two on a fielder’s choice and Joe Panik‘s rare error.
Still, Cueto escaped on a D.J. LeMahieu double play and he went on for seven innings, collecting six strikeouts.
The two balks and Bud Black ejection turned the tables a bit on Cueto, who’s been on the losing side of some questionable balk calls last season, said Bochy:
“It’s good to see things come over our way.”
Marrero was hitting .056 before today’s game, and Bochy has preached confidence in his struggling outfielders. Marrero said everyone’s pressing in the early season and Bochy thinks his home run, his 2-for-3 outing, could do some good:
“This is a game that should do so much for his confidence. The main thing with these young guys is we want them to get good swings and he did that…It just looked like he saw the ball much better, he slowed it down.”