clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:


Giants and Dodgers follow a tight, tense classic with a runapalooza, wild lead-changing classic where for the second consecutive night the Giants win on a walk-off HR from their catcher. Only tonight it was from the backup, Guillermo Quiroz. Look him up. He's real.

"Scut & Q's Excellent Adventure"
"Scut & Q's Excellent Adventure"
Thearon W. Henderson

That game was so crazy that I've asked Vin Scully to recap it. He was very gracious to accept my invitation and I appreciate his efforts here:

You have to go all the way back to 1987 to find the last time the Dodgers scored 8 runs but lost to the Giants. In that game it was the Giants' Rick Reuschel who couldn't make it through two innings. Tonight it was the Dodgers' Matt McGill.

McGill, you'll recall, was born and raised in Simi Valley, California, home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. His parents say Matt was a library rat, always the first one in and the last one out of the famous site every day. He admires Ronald Reagan so much, it's been said, that he tries to model his life after the President, which explains why Matt looked so out of sorts on the mound tonight. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan pitching in a Major League Baseball game? It would look a lot like what we saw tonight. The only thing trickling down were Giant hits.

In a game that can only be described as a doozy, the Giants gave back a 5-0 lead for the second time this season, and trailed the Dodgers 8-6 after a 7-run, 14-batter fifth inning, an inning that forced Ryan Vogelsong out of the game. It was such a wild inning, in fact, that Jerry Hairston, who had pulled up lame while scoring on Matt Kemp's 2-RBI single was still able to bat again! He struck out and was promptly removed from the game, but I haven't seen a player experience such a high, then low, then high again, only to end the night in disappointment since Rick Monday rescued an American flag from being burned on the outfield grass by two protestors back in 1976. He followed up the flag rescue by stubbing his toe, but then he went 3-for-5 with an RBI. It was only later that night where he truly struck out, trying to regale a young woman with his patriotic heroism in an effort to score one more time.

Baseball is so maddening sometimes that it seems like it'd be easier to comb your hair in a tornado than understand this game. Given everything that happened tonight, it's hard to remember that it was Ryan Vogelsong who started for the Giants. Ryan Vogelsong had a career renaissance in 2011 and followed it up with an equally great 2012, but he has really hit the skids in 2013. There's no obvious sign of decline in terms of his velocity and yet he's been as useful to the Giants as swim trunks in the Sahara. You want to talk about ugly: not since Fernando Valenzuela's never-released spread in Playgirl has there been such a terrible display by a starting pitcher. A pitcher falling apart suddenly and inexplicably is not new to baseball, and if this is indeed the end of Ryan Vogelsong's remarkable comeback, it will be sad to see him go for the Giants and their fans, but a potential boon to their division rivals.

Another cause for concern for the Giants could be their pitching overall. Javier Lopez, whose wife has a PhD in Counseling Psychology, draws a major league salary solely because of his ability to retire left-handers efficiently. His walk to Dee Gordon in the top of the 7th was a whopper of a mistake, but unlike most of us who might have jobs where we have a multitude of tasks, might make a mistake in one place but make up for it somewhere else, Javier Lopez is asked by his manager Bruce Bochy to do only one thing: retire left-handers. Tommy Lasorda used to say, "If you can't do the one thing I expect you to do, son, then you have no place in this family." You have to wonder how much longer the Giants will put up with Javier Lopez failing to do the one thing they need him to do.

But ultimately that didn't matter, as it was Guillermo Quiroz who was able to put the Dodgers out of their misery. Quiroz, from Venezuela, grew up in Maracaibo, and was the first person on his block to have a video game console. As the story goes, he'd invite people over to play something called "Super Mario Brothers" and would charge them to keep playing after their character died. He was basically running a video game arcade out of his living room. Eventually, his mother and father got wise to his scheme and demanded a cut of the action, but eventually Quiroz was able to get both his parents hooked on the game and even get them to pay him the same way as his chums did. Isn't that something?

On virtually the same pitch Buster Posey hit out last night, the Giants' backup catcher crushed a ball into the left-field bleachers and that's all she wrote. Of course, the Giants have beaten the Dodgers with a walk-off home run from their backup catcher before. Brian Johnson in 1997. Coincidentally, that was the day I discovered my first gray hair, and wouldn't you know it, that wasn't the last gray hair I'd find on my person? Of course, nowadays I bleach all my body hair to retain the appearance of vim and vigor.

Let's get back to this one.