If you were feeling a little 2014 nostalgia during tonight’s game, it’s hard to blame you. The Giants defeated the Cardinals 3-2. Brandon Crawford scored one of those runs on a wild pitch, Pablo Sandoval hit a home run and Hunter Pence scored the winning run.
And they did all of this on the back of another excellent start by Dereck Rodríguez and a fantastic defensive performance by soon-to-be All Star, Brandon Crawford.
Rodriguez pitched six and two thirds innings of two-run ball, with two walks and a strikeout. And he did so with his dad sitting behind home plate. Gee, no pressure dad.
Iván Rodríguez was interviewed during the game, and though I didn’t hear this live, the broadcasters made sure to mention that he said his son doesn’t have power. It’s one thing for your dad to dis you, but when you’re a professional pitcher and your dad is a former catcher, well, I think it’s safe to say that Rodríguez may end up on the DL with a major burn.
In all seriousness, his dad was quite proud of him and no one can argue with the results tonight. Though his last two starts were technically better, six plus innings and only two runs is nothing to sneeze at. Rodríguez had another excellent start exactly when the Giants needed him to, furthering his candidacy to keep his spot in the rotation when Jeff Samardzija returns.
He did so by inducing a ton of ground ball outs, keeping Brandon Crawford on his toes for most of the game. Crawford would initiate the plays on eight of 27 outs, including this gem in the second, where he effectively wiped Jedd Gyorko’s triple off the board at home plate:
Despite an excellent start by Rodríguez, his team was getting ready to hand him a loss in the seventh.
The team had previously only been able to score two runs at most in a game this week and it felt like all hope was lost when Rodríguez allowed the second run, with a runner still on third and two outs.
But here’s the thing about the two runs Rodríguez allowed: neither felt particularly well earned. Alen Hanson slightly misread a ball hit to left field by Kolten Wong, then had to detour away from it to avoid tripping over the bullpen mounds (GET RID OF THEM!), Crawford had to back him up and it allowed Paul DeJong to score from first.
Later, in the seventh, with DeJong once again on base, Wong hit a ball to right field that took a bad hop away from Andrew McCutchen. So it’s not exactly like Rodríguez was making mistakes.
But that was enough for Bruce Bochy to pull him for Reyes Moronta with two outs, and he got Harrison Bader to strike out swinging.
Tony Watson and Will Smith combined for a spotless eighth and ninth inning, with Smith getting his third save of the year.
Getting back to the offense, Crawford’s run came in the second inning, an inning that went like this:
- Crawford walk
- Sandoval walk
- Joe Panik sac fly
- Wild pitch to Gorkys Hernández scores Crawford
- Hernández ground out
- Rodríguez strike out
A run on no hits, it doesn’t get more SF!
Pablo Sandoval’s home run came in the bottom of the sixth to give the Giants their first lead in the last five games.
And it was McCutchen who got the clutch hit in the seventh to score Pence and give the Giants and Dereck Rodríguez the win.
Buster Posey, who was 2-for-3 with a walk tonight, hit a double in the bottom of the fifth then momentarily forgot he was Buster Posey as he rounded first to go for second. José Alguacil had to remind him who he was and call him back to first base before he could be thrown out on a rocket of a throw by Bader in right field.
And in some sad news, Joe Panik exited in the fourth inning. Panik had singled with two outs, then Hernández got a hit to the left field corner. Panik had time to score from first but pulled up short at third. There was speculation about whether he thought there was fan interference or that it was a ground rule double, but unfortunately, the injury bug claims another victim, as Panik will be heading to the disabled list with a groin strain.
Hanson is likely to get his starts and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kelby Tomlinson recalled again.
But at least they walked away with a win and cannot possibly be swept in this series. Little victories!