Brandon Hicks walks off, Ryan Vogelsong looks sharp

Jason O. Watson

The Indians are 0-6 in their last six games in San Francisco. We should invite them over more often.

Maybe Santiago Casilla just loves walk-off home runs.

★★★

Say, I love walk-off home runs.

★★★

Two Sundays ago, I was in a fistfight with my backyard, listening to the game on the radio, when the Giants gave up a lead late. And I thought, well, shucks, at least they're set up for a walk-off homer. Then a Brandon hit one.

This Sunday, I was in a fistfight with my backyard, listening to the game on the radio, when the Giants gave up a lead late. And I thought, well, shucks, at least they're set up for a walk-off homer. Then a Brandon hit one.

I can get used to this.

And I'm not kidding about those walk-off home runs. If the Giants are hitting them, I am resolutely for them. I'm also a little obsessed with them.This was the 26th at AT&T Park since it opened, and there's a strong chance you'll remember almost every one of these:

Yr# Date Batter Opp Pitcher Score Inn
1 2000-05-03 Jeff Kent NYM Turk Wendell tied 5-5 b11
2 2000-07-02 Marvin Benard LAD Mike Fetters tied 5-5 b9
3 2000-07-18 Armando Rios TEX John Wetteland down 3-2 b9
4 2001-08-03 Andres Galarraga PHI Turk Wendell tied 2-2 b9
5 2001-09-01 Andres Galarraga COL Justin Speier tied 1-1 b9
6 2002-04-05 Barry Bonds SDP Alan Embree tied 1-1 b10
7 2003-07-24 Barry Bonds ARI Mike Myers tied 2-2 b9
8 2003-07-25 Pedro Feliz SDP Jay Witasick tied 2-2 b9
9 2003-08-19 Barry Bonds ATL Ray King tied 4-4 b10
10 2003-08-21 Barry Bonds ATL Trey Hodges tied 3-3 b10
11 2004-05-28 Barry Bonds COL Tim Harikkala tied 2-2 b9
12 2005-04-08 Marquis Grissom COL Scott Dohmann down 8-7 b9
13 2006-04-29 Moises Alou ARI Luis Vizcaino tied 2-2 b9
14 2006-06-24 Ray Durham OAK Huston Street down 7-5 b9
15 2006-09-26 Moises Alou ARI Brandon Lyon tied 2-2 b9
16 2007-09-07 Daniel Ortmeier LAD Jonathan Broxton tied 4-4 b9
17 2008-04-08 Bengie Molina SDP Cla Meredith tied 2-2 b11
18 2009-05-12 Pablo Sandoval WSN Joe Beimel down 7-6 b9
19 2009-08-12 Juan Uribe LAD Guillermo Mota tied 2-2 b10
20 2011-07-06 Nate Schierholtz SDP Pat Neshek tied 5-5 b14
21 2013-05-03 Buster Posey LAD Ronald Belisario tied 1-1 b9
22 2013-05-04 Guillermo Quiroz LAD Brandon League tied 9-9 b10
23 2013-05-21 Pablo Sandoval WSN Yunesky Maya tied 2-2 b10
24 2013-05-25 Angel Pagan COL Rafael Betancourt down 5-4 b10
25 2014-04-13 Brandon Crawford COL Rex Brothers tied 4-4 b10
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/27/2014.

There's no way that Brandon Hicks will win the award for "Most Random Walk-off Homer at AT&T Park" -- not with Guillermo Quiroz up there. But he's on a short list of part-timers who have ended a game with one swing.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the 2010 Giants was that they were an all-pitch, no-hit team that got lucky. The team that started the season was a no-hit team -- Bengie Molina, Aaron Rowand, Mark DeRosa, John Bowker (!) -- but by the end of the year, they were something of a dinger factory. The team Brian Sabean assembled on the fly hit 36 homers in September and 98 from July through the end of the year. There were painful stretches when it seemed like they could only score with a home run.

This team kinda reminds me of that team, at least as far as dingers. Swapping Gregor Blanco and Marco Scutaro out for Michael Morse and Brandon Hicks, respectively, doesn't help the defense any, but you can sure harvest more dinger fruit from the dinger tree. Dinger fruit tastes like banana cream pie, except it's loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. Make sure that's "dinger fruit" and not "Dinger fruit," which tastes like tar and scales.

Of course, the Giants have never won the World Series in a year with a walk-off homer. So, there's that. It's fun right now, though! It's fun right now.

★★★

Ryan Vogelsong, you magnificent bastard.

It hasn't been that long since he's had a game like this; he threw eight scoreless innings against the Pirates last year after you checked out and pretended baseball didn't exist. Before that, though, you had several starts in 2012, and that's when Vogelsong was at his peak. His 2011 season was great, of course, but he was getting quality-start dandruff everywhere early in 2012.

This was as exceptional as any of his greatest hits, though, considering he had 15 swing-throughs. He had as many once in 2011, topped out at 13 in 2012, and never cracked double-digits last year. All of Vogelsong's pitches were working, but his command was even more important than his stuff. It usually is. Also, without checking, I'm going to guess the Indians aren't shy about swinging and missing. Still, that doesn't take anything away from the start. One of his best.

There was grumbling when the Giants re-signed Vogelsong, mostly because the other one- or two-year options were delightful mysteries. We never got to see the reasons why those pitchers were willing to sign a short-term deal, but we watched every single one of Vogelsong's reasons. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Looking back over the options -- Bronson Arroyo, Phil Hughes, Bartolo Colon, Josh Johnson, Dan Haren -- the Giants could have done worse. They could have given extra years to goofballs like Hughes or Arroyo, or they could have gambled on an injury concern like Johnson and lost. The early returns suggest they also could have done a little better with Colon and Haren.

But I'm okay with Vogelsong for now. He bounced back from the tire fire in Colorado with his best start in months and months. I'm cautiously optimistic. If he keeps throwing like that. He should probably keep throwing like that. That was a whale of a time.

Did I mention the walk-off homer?

★★★

New section: That Double Play. Here, let's start it.

That Double Play


Mmmpff. That double play. Mmmmmmphfff

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