The Padres had the game wrapped up in the 11th. With the score tied at three, they had runners at second and third with one out against Sam Dyson. All they needed was a seeing-eye grounder or a fly ball to the outfield. Instead, Austin Hedges bunted. I guess it was a safety squeeze, but it seems like a weird call with one out. Maybe with no outs you can try it. If it works, hey, the game’s over. If it doesn’t, you get another shot to get the runner in without a hit. But with one out, it has to work.
It almost worked! Sam Dyson nearly threw the ball into right field, but Austin Slater made a scoop on the low throw like he had been playing first base all his life and not just because Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval are hurt.
Will Smith then came in and struck out Carlos Asuaje on three pitches and sent the game to the 12th inning.
Gorkys Hernández led off trying to hit one into the bleachers. Mike Krukow lamented that you can’t adjust your approach like that just because the game is in extra innings, that you have to play the game, whatever that means. On the very next pitch, Hernández put the ball in the upper deck.
This was a game that the Giants were supposed to lose. The Padres haven’t been able to win and the Giants haven’t been able to score. The conditions were right for a perfect storm where the Padres would suddenly become unbeatable and the Giants would continue to not score runs.
Eric Lauer is the unholy trinity of pitchers who eat the Giants alive. He’s left-handed, a Padre, and sub-replacement. The last time the Giants faced him, Lauer went six innings and gave up just one run. The Giants, who have been one of the very worst offensive teams this month, had virtually no shot. But then, troubadour and musketeer, Chase d’Arnaud hit a d’Arnaud-doubter off the Western Metal Supply building for a three-run dinger.
Without that swing of the bat, the Giants would have gotten shut down by Lauer. Whatever strange magicks that prevent the Giants from hitting pitchers like Eric Lauer must not have soaked into d’Arnaud yet. Though perhaps some even stranger counter magicks are at work because in 12 games, d’Arnaud has d’oubled his career home run total. He just needs two more to tie Buster Posey on the team.
Derek Holland pitched better than his final line suggests. Bruce Bochy pulled him after only 75 pitches in the sixth when he allowed a lead-off walk to Eric Hosmer. He made mistakes to Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges, but other than that he pitched well.
Holland mostly stayed on the edges of the plate which allowed Buster Posey to show that he’s still got it when it comes to framing. I didn’t appreciate Posey’s framing as a visual art form until I started to watch a lot of Willson Contreras. When Contreras frames, or attempts to frame, he’s stabbing at the ball and moving the glove a foot back to the plate after catching it. When Posey frames, he doesn’t look as if he’s doing anything at all which is probably why it’s so easy to overlook unless you’re nose-deep in a Baseball Prospectus leaderboard.
Another thing that I had noticed subconsciously but had never put into words is how Posey not only knows how to frame a pitch, but he knows when to frame a pitch. He doesn’t try sell every pitch, only the ones that are truly borderline, that can actually go either way. He only cries wolf when there’s an actual wolf.
Holland gave way to Reyes Moronta who threw two scoreless innings. Moronta kept Hosmer at first after Holland walked him which earned Moronta another belly shake from Derek Holland.
Derek Holland and Reyes Moronta is the buddy cop action comedy we both need and we deserve. pic.twitter.com/Re4gaH6aGo— LOLKNBR (@LOLKNBR) July 31, 2018
It would not surprise me at all if this were the sort of thing where one of your coworkers gives you a mean nickname, and they think it’s all in good fun, but really you don’t like being called Harry Potter (just because you have glasses and are into wizard stuff), and you don’t want to ruffle any feathers because you have to be around this person for eight hours a day. I think it’s kind of like that whenever Holland shakes his belly at Moronta because Moronta’s expression always reads like, “Haha, yes, that is a very funny and original joke, Derek. I suppose I am kind of plump even though I’M A PROFESSIONAL G-D ATHLETE, DEREK.”
Evan Longoria became the tenth runner to get picked off by Lauer this year. 10! He’s hit double digits in pickoffs. It’s July! With that in consideration, it’s perhaps a little easier to forgive Longoria for getting picked off without a slide. Dude’s tricky.
The career record for pickoffs is 146 by Steve Carlton. The next closest is Mark Buerhle at 100. Lauer is 6.9% of the way to the record, and he’s only 18 games into his career. He might run into the same problem as Casey McGehee ran into when he tried to break the single-season GIDP record: he’s probably not good enough to keep playing.
It just makes it all the more impressive that Steven Duggar stole second off of him.
The Giants were 2-for-2 on steal attempts which is noteworthy because the Giants have not been a good base-stealing team. Before tonight’s game, they had the fifth worst stolen base percentage at 65%. In the sixth, Austin Slater stole second off José Castillo. Naturally, Slater got TOOTBLAN’d on the next play when he tried to advance to third on a grounder to short. Later in the inning, Duggar got thrown out trying to advance on a dirt ball when he over-slid second.
The Giants are now on a two-game winning streak and are thus unstoppable. They should probably go for it and trade for Bryce Harper.