Somehow, someway, the Giants won a game they had already lost. You better believe I was mostly done with a recap written the other way and had to flip it to accommodate the fact that Nick Hundley gave them a 6-5 walk-off win over the Padres.
I’m not sure how they came back to win against Brad Hand and the Padres, even though we all know how they came back and won. Andy Green put Brad Hand into the game in the 8th inning, and by the time he had gotten to two strikes against Buster Posey in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs already recorded and a runner on first base, he ran out of steam.
Posey worked a 10-pitch walk, Evan Longoria hit a Texas Leaguer, or basically a pop up that just got past the infield and between the left fielder thanks to the Padres being in a no doubles defense, and then Nick Hundley simply drove the first fastball he saw right back up the middle. It was the hardest hit ball the Giants had had since basically the first inning, and it was enough to win the game. It was enough to turn a loss into a win and keep the charging Padres at bay one more night.
Let’s talk about these stupid sexy Padres. You could throw them all in a bag, blindly reach into that bag, and pull out a younger, faster, stronger, and simply more virile player than anyone on the Giants’ roster.
::reaches in to metaphorical bag::
Oh look, Franchy Cordero, stinging the baseball all over the field, flashing blazing speed on the basepaths. On the broadcast, they indicated that he leads MLB in home runs hit 450 feet or greater. He crushed a hanging splitter into the left centerfield gap and it looked like he lunged for the pitch and used his hands to generate his swing’s power almost exclusively. A double, a single, and two walks. You can argue all you want about the strike zone, but the Padres got their walks because the Giants’ pitchers were afraid to throw pitches anywhere near the zone.
:: reaches in again::
Manuel Margot! He was injured in the previous serious, but his speed in the field and quick bat showed up in this series. His hard hit ball in the sixth inning abused Evan Longoria at third base.
... hit the tip of the glove and glanced off the ankle leaving Longoria on all fours. That is quite the moving baseball.
José Pirela just jumped out of this metaphorical bag I’m holding and Eric Hosmer has climbed out with him. The Padres’ roster is 3.5 years younger than the Giants’ and over the past 4 games it has really shown. Tonight’s win was as much about jumping on a rookie pitcher settling into the game and a young manager settling into late inning situations as it was about the Giants simply seizing the few opportunities they had to make noise.
You would’ve liked to have seen them pour it on after the 3-run first inning, because they were really making rookie pitcher
Matt Eric Lauer work. After the 3-0 lead developed, he still had to face the rest of the order, and after his 21st pitch of the inning, here was Lauer’s reaction to a Kelby Tomlinson foul ball
That’s a man who’s lost hope and thinks it’s all going against him. But after this first inning, the Giants seemed to let up just as he settled in. After the Padres took the lead in the 6th, the Giants’ plate appearances seemed to get even worse, but Austin Slater’s HBP to lead off the ninth was just the crack of light they needed to open the door, and unlike last season, when nothing went right and nothing they could do would work, they only needed that little crack of light to make something happen.
Earlier today in the series preview, I went on and on about how the Giants could clinch their first full winning month since June of 2016 and several commenters accurately reported that I am a huge knob and an even bigger moron, as I had included the 2-1 record from the end of March in my very strict “first of the month to 30th/31st of the month” definition of first full month but had excluded it when making both the proclamation and giving the Giants record. The Giants were 12-13 in April heading into tonight’s game, and they end the first full month of the season 13-13 and 15-13 overall to begin the season, which is fantastic, but I was still wrong. In another sense, though, I was right, in that the Giants are beginning a new month with a winning record for the first time since September 2016.
Still, I am very dumb, and I apologize.
Buster Posey locked up on a 94 mph fastball that was up and in the strike zone. A pitch he could’ve been out in front of and absolutely clobbered if this were five years ago. He wound up working a walk. I am calling this at bat a metaphor for the Giants-Padres going forward. There’s so much youth and vitality on the Padres’ side of the ledger that it’s kinda scary. Look at the Giants’ roster: that’s a portrait of mortality.
The relentless nature of youth is why the Giants seem to struggle so much against the Padres. They just won’t ever sit still. The Giants need peace and quiet so they can focus. If I’m being ageist, it’s only sports-related ageism, I assure you. Wisdom and experience do have their place, but playing a kid’s game late on a Monday night will usually favor the team that’s not so old that it’s still recovering from a long weekend.
Despite all that youth, though, the Padres are 10-20. The elderly Giants, meanwhile, have won 7 of 9 — let’s just assume they haven’t done that since 2016, either. Finally, to steal some more notes from the broadcast: they have the most walkoffs in the major leagues (3) and tonight was their first win when trailing after 8 innings (had been 0-13 before).
Jeff Samardzija showed improvement from his previous start but still signaled that he’s making his way back. He looked like he could throw all his pitches, but he certainly did not have control of them. And his fastball velocity stayed in the 91-93 mph range, which can certainly work for a starting pitcher, but is not anywhere near Peak Jeff that the Giants will need in the coming months. This could all be related to his injury or it could be another sign of the dreaded aging curve that befalls them all.
My one big stat about Samardzija: he has averaged 1.1 home runs per 9 innings for his career. He has pitched 13.2 innings so far this year and allowed only 1. This both means that he’s due but also that he’s still Jeff Samardzija, and I find comfort in that.
One final note: I’m sorry that I keep screwing up these really straightforward math scenarios. It’s happened multiple times in the past week and I offer no excuses. I am that dumb. I hope you’ll keep reading the site and not hold my stupidity against the brilliance of the other contributors. There will be an announcement tomorrow morning about a new writer joining the site and Wednesday another writer will be added. So, reinforcements are on the way and you won’t have to put up with my stupidity for very much longer or as much.