We're in Year 20 of interleague play, which means we're in Year 20 of the Giants and A's playing each other between 4 and 6 times every year in a matchup that we should all care about deeply, we guess. But way back in Year 3, in 1999, the Giants and A's played a game in the last year that professional bsaeball was played at Candlestick Park, and it went 15 innings, and everyone was tired at the end of it. Let's take a look back!
The Giants came into the game shorthanded, with Barry Bonds having been on the DL with bone spurs in his elbow for almost two months, and Jeff Kent, resting because of a minor foot injury. Their starting pitcher was Chris Brock, who would later that year lose his rotation spot to Livan Hernandez and whose only notable accomplishment as a Giant was being traded after the 1999 season for Bobby Estalella (who, fun fact, had a grandfather who also played in the majors and whose name was also Bobby Estalella). The A's lineup was at full strength, and they started Gil Heredia, who you probably remember as the only baseball player to ever be named Gil Heredia.
The A's started off with a first pitch leadoff homer by Tony Phillips, and after Brock dispatched Miguel Tejada and Jason Giambi – that A's lineup was loaded – he walked Matt Stairs and Ben Grieve, setting the table for Eric Chavez. Chavez was not yet the player he'd eventually become, but that year he was about a league average hitter, and Chris Brock was terrible. Still, Brock got through him, getting Chavez to pop up to shortstop on the first pitch to end the inning.
The Giants responded in the second inning on back to back doubles from Ellis Burks and Brent Mayne. Brock would survive a single, walk, and wild pitch in the third, but in the fourth, A's catcher Mike Macfarlane hit his own first pitch leadoff homer, and the A's backed that up in the fifth when, with Giambi and Tejada at second and third (Giambi at second on a stolen base, his only one of the season adn 5% of his career total), Brock threw a wild pitch and Tejada scored.
But that's when things started to turn around for the Giants. In the bottom of the inning, Rich Aurilia, seeing the success that the A's had had with the approach, decided to give that whole first pitch swinging thing a shot, and hit his own leadoff homer. Then Alan Embree came in for the Giants and pitched two good innings, setting the stage for Rich Aurilia, again, to hit another solo homer. Just like that, after the Giants starter had walked 5 and given up 5 hits in 5 innings, the game was tied.
Aurilia's homer was followed by a Wilson Delgado single, and Art Howe took Gil Heredia out of the game in favor of Doug Jones. Doug Jones, former dominant closer, came in, immediately struck out a pinch hitting Jeff Kent, and shut the Giants down for two and a third innings. Both bullpens were excellent, in fact, with the first 5 A's relievers combining to go 7.1 innings and allow 5 baserunners, and the Giants bullpen, in 10 innings, gave up 6 baserunners and no runs.
After Jerry Spradlin finished his third inning for the Giants, striking out five and walking one, they came up in the bottom of the 15th, tired as hell. F.P. Santangelo, who was a professional baseball player, if you didn't know, led off the inning with a walk. Dusty Baker told Marvin Benard to bunt him over. Marvin, like a true Marvin Benard, failed to do that twice, but then worked a walk himself. Bill Mueller got the bunt down, though, advancing both runners, and after that the A's intentionally walked Stan Javier to give themselves a force at home.
The game and both team's opportunities to get a small amount of sleep were both on the line here as JT Snow stepped in against the A's Billy Taylor. In order to secure the best chance for getting that out, Art Howe brought Matt Stairs in from the outfield to act as a fifth infielder, but it didn't matter. Snow hit a fly ball out to Tim Raines in left, and he throw home was nowhere near the plate, as Santangelo scored and won the game.
On June 4, 1999, the Giants beat the A's 4-3 in 15 innings. The game started at 7:36 and ended at 12:33. The Giants used 21 members of their 25-man roster, and it was worth it. They won, the A's lost, and hopefully that result will repeat itself tonight. Please try to have a good day.