The San Francisco Giants won their first game of the season tonight, besting the San Diego Padres 3-2. In a series that hasn’t seen much offense by the Giants, three runs is an embarrassment of riches and the pitching staff showed their appreciation by (mostly) being flawless.
But it was Reyes Moronta who had the night of his life and made the baseball world sit up and take notice. Moronta entered in the sixth inning to replace Travis Bergen. With no outs, a runner on second and a one-run lead, Moronta was brought in to face Manny Machado, Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe. No big deal, super easy. No pressure.
No really, no pressure. Because Moronta had this. He completely transformed in front of our eyes. Not only did he strike them all out, he struck out Machado and Renfroe with three consecutive low-80s sliders, and rang up Myers on three consecutive high-90s fastballs, topping out at about 98.5mph. He didn’t even get fazed when Machado complained about the color of his glove being too light, causing him to have to switch it out for a darker one. Nothing can faze Reyes Moronta. He is our king now.
And then, for some reason, he was called upon to pitch the seventh. He struggled just a bit, losing a lengthy battle with Greg Garcia, who hit one up the right field foul line for a double, but ultimately got two more strike outs and got through it unscathed. He was truly the story of tonight’s game.
But he wasn’t the only one. Young starting pitcher Dereck Rodríguez pitched five scoreless innings before being pulled from the game in the sixth. Bergen entered the game after Rodríguez had allowed a ground rule double and a single. Bergen immediately cashed in both of those runs by allowing a double to Eric Hosmer. But still, not a bad night at all for Rodríguez and hopefully a sign of more good things to come.
Tony Watson allowed two hits and no runs in his inning of work and Will Smith struck out two to round the night out with a save in the ninth.
Defense was an issue once again, unfortunately. Yangervis Solarte, who started the game at short stop, short-hopped two throws to Brandon Belt, one resulting in an error and both likely resulting in an annoyed giraffe.
Buster Posey missed out on two throw-outs at second, not able to get the ball out of his glove quickly enough. And Michael Reed collided with Brandon Crawford (who entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning when Evan Longoria was pulled between innings after fouling a ball off of his calf). From the looks of the play, it doesn’t appear that either Crawford or Reed called for the ball. It doesn’t look like either of them ever looked where they were going.
I may have never played professional baseball, but I was in marching band. And there are certain rules that translate. If one person is moving forward and the other is moving backwards, the onus is on the person moving forward to make sure they don’t collide because the person moving backward can’t see as well.
But really, someone should have called for the dang ball.
Anyway, maybe you were here to find out how the Giants, they of no run support in 2019, managed to give those pitchers runs to work with in the first place. I get it! Multiple runs being scored in a single game, let alone inning, seems like an urban legend with this team, based on the short sample supply of two games.
But we’re not quite done talking about mistakes. Fundamentals have been an issue for the Giants so far in this young season. And that’s not just defense, it’s also been base-running since opening day. After getting thrown out at third base last night, Steven Duggar appeared to have learned his lesson in tonight’s game. Duggar had a single to lead off the third inning, then he stole second during Solarte’s at-bat. Solarte hit one straight at the short stop and Duggar inexplicably took a step towards third base, after which, presumably, his entire life flashed before his eyes and he turned back and ran for second, just barely making it safely.
Along this line, you all know that I am quite fond of Buster Posey. But I would assume that he knows he’s Buster Posey. Which is why it is almost extremely unsettling to see Buster Posey try to score from second base on a single when he is, in fact, aware that he is Buster Posey, he of the cement legs. I mean, it’s fine that he’s not very fast, but he and the base coaches need to accept his limitations.
But I digress.
That Posey out ended the sixth inning, where the Giants did their damage. The rally was kicked off by another Steven Duggar single (he went 2-for-4 on the night with a run scored and a strikeout). This knocked starting pitcher Nick Margevicius out of the game and brought in Robert Stock. Literally a Stock pitcher, it couldn’t get any more Padres.
Anyway, he had absolutely no control tonight. After taking two pitches dangerously inside (in a game where three different Giants players were hit by pitches) Solarte came back and smoked a double up the right field line that went by Hosmer so fast he hardly had time to react. Duggar, who had stolen second during one of those inside pitches, scored.
Evan Longoria was no longer the only Giant to score a run this season, but rather than be annoyed by this, he singled to Franchy Cordero, who couldn’t get a grip on the ball and allowed Solarte to score easily. (Solarte went 2-for-5 on the night with one run and an RBI.)
After two outs, Gerardo Parra won a battle with Robbie Erlin (who was pulled after the second run scored), walking to load the bases. This brought up Joe Panik, who singled to right, allowing Longoria to score and allowing Posey to think he was going to score for a brief moment, before being tagged out at the plate.