We’ve seen this before, not 15 hours ago and in a handful of games this season.
One mistake pitch digs the Giants into a hole, out of which the offense manages to nearly crawl until futility crushes them like a bug. It happened Friday night when Conor Gillaspie‘s game tying home run in the ninth inning couldn’t inspire his team to a late-night walk-off.
History has tended to repeat itself for the Giants this year, which meant a 4-4 tie headed for extra innings would result in the team’s 62nd loss. Thrice the offense put leadoff hitters on, ready to get this game over with.
The third one, Brandon Belt‘s single in the 12th, actually did produce the winning run off Nick Hundley‘s exasperated 12th inning double, giving the Giants a 5-4 win and preventing the team from entering a 10th hour of baseball over the last 48. His team tackle-tickled him in excitement on the diamond and Buster Posey said the backup catcher never looked happier.
Posey hit the 17th inning walk-off homer in early-May after catching all night, and Hundley had a response:
“My joy was about six innings less than yours.”
The Giants had an early 1-0 lead for Matt Moore. Joe Panik has a little ownage over San Diego starter Luis Perdomo — to the tune of a .600 average with three doubles — and put it to use with an RBI single in the third inning.
But Moore made a mistake to Padres starter Perdomo, who hit a two-run triple that capped a four-run fourth inning, spawned out of yet another leadoff Wil Myers solo blast. Said Bruce Bochy:
“They laid one in there to the pitcher. … I know (Moore) would like to have that one back.”
It looked like yet another Moore start would be buried under a trouble inning with the bench filling in for an extra inning loss-worn starting crew. But the triple, the rally shrouded an otherwise productive start out of Moore, who was looking to build on a seven-inning, two-run start against Cleveland last week. The other scoring hits were nothing to spit at, he noted:
“They weren’t bad pitches, those balls weren’t scorched.”
Moore’s fastball looked strong for a second consecutive start and his curveball kept the Padres off balance — he struck out six in his six innings of work and he wouldn’t be on the hook for a loss. Orlando Calixte and Eduardo Nunez knocked RBI singles to tie the game the next inning in a rally that would not be possible without the Padres’ little-league caliber defense.
Perdomo’s error in the sixth put the go-ahead runner on second. Opportunity thumped a potential for Moore, at 97 pitches, to stretch out for one more inning, said Bochy:
“If they don’t make that error, he was going out there to pitch.”
Of course, the Giants didn’t score and the game went into a deadlock between a tanking team and a hopeless one.
Those chosen to play a hangover day game would suffer a similar kind of marathon, and Friday night’s heroes would need to get involved. That meant more work for a fatigued bullpen that pulled through this time.
Vengeful Giant-killer Hector Sanchez was not in the Padres lineup, for the same reason Posey sat. Sanchez pinch-hit in a high-leverage, potential game winning situation with runners on the corners and two outs in the ninth inning of a tie game. Sam Dyson got Sanchez to ground out. Posey hit in a potential walk-off situation, but struck out in a seven-pitch battle with Ryan Buchter.
Albert Suarez, just up from Triple-A Sacramento once recovered from a calf injury, pitched two innings of scoreless ball to bridge the gap. Bochy was relieved to have him:
“He looked sharp, good velo. … I really think we missed him, but because of the calf injury he just wasn’t available.”
Dyson, Strickland and Josh Osich pitched six innings of one-hit ball. Bochy was smiling again:
“How we bounced back there was critical, after a day game like that, you get some tired guys. … You have two tired teams out there but they kept fighting.”
Pablo Sandoval wasn’t the only fresh face on the grounds Saturday.
Steven Okert and Jae-gyun Hwang were optioned and old friends. Suarez and Calixte were recalled to take their place. Bochy said he expects Hwang to come back sometime this season, but didn’t think it was fair to have him riding the bench, making spotty pinch hit appearances.