The Giants were done. Down three runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Buster Posey was down to his last strike.
About 1,000 fans lingered, playing the delusional optimist, chanting ‘Let’s Go Giants’ as the 23rd hour loomed.
Then, Posey drew a walk and Bruce Bochy sent Sam Dyson to the bullpen. Yeah right, Boch. Posey stole second easily. The Padres didn’t care. Brandon Crawford drew a two-strike count and poked a single to left field. Posey hesitated at third and scored.
Pinch hitter Conor Gillaspie took the batter’s box and promptly launched a game-tying home run into the barren Levi’s Landing. At 11 0’clock, score 9-9, two of the worst teams in the National League were duking it out in extras. It was Gillaspie’s sixth career pinch-hit home run.
With just two arms left in the bullpen, Bruce Bochy had to go to George Kontos, who’d been used in four of the last five games. The Giant-killer Padres scored two in the 11th off him on a trio of singles and a walk, securing the 12-9 win just before midnight.
Kontos took one for the team, and it didn’t pay off, said Jeff Samardzija:
“Georgie man’s up and gives us an inning when he wasn’t supposed to.”
Gillaspie just postponed the inevitable.
Bochy spoke a bit before Friday’s game about Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence’s mechanical issues at the plate.
Belt hadn’t gotten a hit in four games or an RBI in the second half. Pence has had a down year all together, unable to find some consistency in his approach.
As if they heard the conversation, the pair broke out early. Belt’s RBI single and Pence’s RBI double sandwiched Brandon Crawford’s two-run single, igniting a rare 7 p.m. hour rally and giving the Giants a four-run lead in the first inning for just a second time this year.
They tacked on, too, thanks to a pair of errors and a Trevor Cahill wild pitch. The game was theirs, Cahill went a season-low 3-2/3 innings with a season high six runs allowed.
The game was theirs, Cahill went a season-low 3-2/3 innings with a season high six runs allowed. When hole was plugged for this 2017 Giants squad, the other would leak, remarked Bochy:
“That’s what’s killing us, we had the timely hits we just couldn’t put two and two together.”
Ownage would shine through, though, especially with Jeff Samardzija off his game. These games between two of the worst teams in the National League are all the same.
Hector Sanchez homered again. Sanchez has seven home runs this season. Four have come against the Giants. Two have been off Samardzija.
That wasn’t all, Sanchez went 3-for-4 on the night, a triple shy of the cycle. Sanchez is now hitting .388 against the Giants this year and .500 lifetime against his former team.
It’s clear that Samardzija has a home run problem, this season and in years past. He left a slider way up for Franchy Cordero, who 2010 Ian Kinsler-ed it off the center field wall for a triple, instead. Sanchez took a first pitch cutter, Samardzija’s home run kryptonite, and took it deep.
But trouble today didn’t come via home run. Samardzija got absolutely BABIP’d in a three-run fifth. Samardzija wouldn’t escape the inning, said Bochy:
“He was working hard and I didn’t think he had his best stuff.”
So Bochy opted for lefty Josh Osich to face lefty Cory Spangenberg, who put the Padres within one with an RBI groundout.
Cory Gearrin, fresh off his third career at bat (a strikeout), walked the Padres reliever Craig Stammen, who’d go on to score the tying run in the very next inning.
The scouts were back behind home plate tonight and the guys they were looking at probably weren’t too impressive. Eduardo Nunez went 0-for-6 (they left after five) and Hunter Strickland gave up the go-ahead home run to Myers, the first he’s given up since June and second all year, and a pair of runs on two triples.
In the end, three Padres were one hit short of the cycle. Matt Szcur entered the game in the fifth but needed just a home run to do it. Jose Pirela was also a homer shy. The Padres finished with 20 hits and two comebacks to secure their 16th win against the Giants since the 2016 All-Star Break.
The Giants were fighting to the last strike, though.
Matt Moore will look to continue his relatively solid stretch against Luis Perdomo.
Michael Morse sacrificed his nogin, and perhaps what remained of his career, in a skirmish spawned from a teammate’s grudge.
Bruce Bochy revealed before Friday’s game that Morse is back in Florida with his family recuperating from the concussion incurred from a collision with Jeff Samardzija during the Bryce Harper/Hunter Strickland brawl on May 30. Morse will soon be faced with a choice to pursue a grueling rehab regimin with a slight hope of a late-season return or stay sidelined for the rest of the season to heal. Given the spontaneity of Morse’s decision to return to baseball for one reunion season, its doubtful he’ll put himself through the grind. This could be a sad ending: a career cut off months prematurely because of a baseball brawl.