I had my eye on this one, knowing Ty Blach still has something to prove as a starter this season. While the Giants have won four of his last five starts, Blach has been unable to be as effective the second time through the lineup, with only four of his last 10 starts being quality starts. With a bullpen that has been taxed with no-off days, an extra-inning game, and more innings than, say, when Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto are in the rotation, I was hoping to see increased effectiveness as the game went on.
The day started off strangely enough with a lineup revealing that Buster Posey would be batting in the two-hole. The last time Buster batted second? 2010.
Buster wasted no time proving Bruce Bochy is some sort of mastermind, tripling into right-center field and scoring the first run of the game when Evan Longoria lined the ball into left-center.
While the Rockies were unable to score the first time through the line up (Blach retired them in order in the 1st and induced a double play after loading the bases with one out in the 2nd), the second time through was less successful with batters going 4-for-8 and cashing in on two runs in the fourth.
Of note, Austin Jackson, whose defense and offense has been questioned, allowed a Trevor Story double to sail over his head to score a run. Not sure if he misread the ball or just didn’t want to hustle and whiff on the ball, but it definitely will not be on the ESPN highlights for the evening. You gotta imagine Steven Duggar’s defense is looking PRETTY PRETTY good in Sacramento right now. Or even Gregor Blanco or Gorkys Hernandez getting more starts in center. Listen, I’m not picky.
Blach continued to struggle and with Story on base, allowing an RBI single to Noel Cuevas giving the Rockies the lead, 2-1. Fortunately, the Brandons were able to help out when Pat Valaika doubled on a line drive to sometimes-left-fielder Belt. Brandon Number One nailed an assist to Brandon Crawford who threw a laser to Nick Hundley, preventing another run from scoring and ending the inning. Just your typical 7-6-2. Of note:
Craw's throw clocked in at 90.5mph... the fastest recorded throw for him this year pic.twitter.com/sPTWnXWMgS— Ahmed Fareed (@FareedNBCS) May 20, 2018
In the fifth, Blach got into another jam by giving up a single to to the pitcher (!?!!!), walking Charlie Blackmon, and giving up a single to Arenado. Blach exited after 4.1 innings (8H, 4R, 2BB, 1SO) leaving the ball with Cory Gearrin and the bases loaded. Up next, Story hit a soft ground ball to Crawford who relayed it to Nick Hundley who missed the ball on a tough hop, allowing Tyler Anderson to score on a fielders choice putting the Rockies up 3-1. While Gearrin ran into some trouble by walking Cuevas and walking in a run (4-1), he was ultimately able to get out of the inning by striking out Blackmon.
As I was about to enter my dark place because the Giants offense had been retired in order two innings in row, OFFENSE! Miguel Gomez (aka our 4th 2nd basemen) singled, priming the one and only Gorkys Hernandez to gork the ball out of the yard to cut the Rockies lead to 4-3.
In the sixth, Will Smith pitched a clean inning retiring Pat Valaika, Anderson, Blackmon on three strikeouts. A quick aside on Smith, he’s been so absolutely wonderful to have back in the bullpen. He’s only allowed one earned run on three hits with 11 strikeouts in nine appearances (8.0 IP). It’s almost like he’s getting jiggy wit it. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. This is my first recap and I needed one Will Smith pun. Just ONE.
The bottom of the sixth was also a good one for the Giants starting with a lead-off single by Belt, walk to Crawford, and good ol’ SPECS TOMLINSON came through with a clutch line drive to left, scoring both Brandons to give the Giants the lead, 5-4.
Sam Dyson walked the leadoff runner to start the 7th (fun fun fun fun FUN) and Hundley airmailed a ball on a steal by Desmond, allowing the runner to advance to third. Dyson then gave up a single to Arenado (which leads me back to my favorite pitching tip: Don’t Pitch To Nolan Arenado), tying the game up 5-5. Arenado stole second, with another throw that wasn’t particularly close by Hundley. Thankfully, Dyson was able to minimize the damage by striking out Story and Cuevas but alas, the damage had been done.
THIS IS WHEN THINGS GET EXCITING AND WE TALK ABOUT THE DINGERS FROM THE HEADLINE. Gorkys singled off Rockies relief pitcher Bryan Shaw to start the inning, followed by a walk by Longo. Lefty Jake McGee came into face Belt - presumably to limit the damage. Of Belt’s 10 home runs, all of them have been off of righties... UNTIL NOW. Belt launched a three-run shot into the Arcade for his 11th homer and put the Giants up 8-5. Hundley decided to join the party by homering for his fifth of the season, giving the Giants a little more breathing room, 9-5.
And that was basically all she wrote. Hunter Strickland came in to close out the game and it was relatively pain free with only a single off Story’s bat to muck up his perfect inning.
With that, the Giants have somehow found themselves at .500, only half a game back from the Rockies, and two games back from the first place (and floundering) Diamondbacks.
Now onto Houston to face the reigning World Series champs. While it doesn’t sound like Mac Williamson will be joining the team on Tuesday, it does sound like the Cubs series is a more likely target. And finally, Madison Bumgarner is going to have a rehab start this week!
Literally. Can’t. Wait.