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Erik Kratz and Brandon Belt save the world, win 18-inning standoff against Rockies

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The pitching was absurdly good, the game was absurdly long.

Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Tonight’s recap is brought to you by Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

/checks word count

Ah, okay. So I guess we’ll have to get into this one a little bit more in-depth.

First of all, you probably went to bed well before the game ended, so here’s what you need to know the most:

In the bottom of the 18th inning, Brandon Belt came up to bat and everyone was thinking of 2014. And then he hit a ball that would have been a home run in ANY OTHER BALLPARK, but it only netted him a double. You have never heard a crowd so disappointed for a double before.

Brandon Crawford was intentionally walked, as was Gerardo Parra, to get to Erik Kratz. Mind you, Kratz had been in the squat for 18 innings at this point and the Rockies’ defense reflected that, with five infielders and two shallow outfielders on the left and right side. With the bases loaded, Kratz hit into a fielder’s choice, allowing Belt to beat out the tag at the plate and score the winning run.

The only satisfying ending possible to a ridiculous game that didn’t have to be that way.


It was the longest game the two franchises had ever played against each other. It ended up being tied for the longest game ever played at the ballpark.

“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was sung twice. And yet they stopped serving beer in the seventh inning. They ran out of strike out signs on the arcade wall and human beings stood there of their own volition pretending to be the letter “K.”

It was fireworks night at Oracle Park, and there were exhausted parents as far as the eye could see, imprisoned by sleepy yet eager children who came to see fireworks and were not leaving without them.

And all of that could have been avoided in the fourth inning if the umpires hadn’t decided to go rogue.

In the fourth inning, Garrett Hampson hit a triple with one out. It split the outfielders and got to the wall. Next up was a rare one-pitch pop-up from Nolan Arenado to Brandon Belt.

What followed should have been the final out of the inning. Trevor Story hit what should have been a fly out to Belt. He made an excellent running catch, tracking the ball over his shoulder, which should have ended the inning. Instead, the umpire called a balk on Drew Pomeranz.

As a Giants fan, I have seen some balks. But friends, this was no balk. That is a hill I will plant my flag on and wait for the devil to find me. I would embed a video, but you know how MLB feels about anyone sharing any baseball content.

Here was the play by Belt, in case you want to wistfully think about what might have been, in a world where we all got to go to bed before 1:00 am.

Of course, you can’t argue a balk. You can’t challenge it. The umpire can just put their hand on the scale of the game and such is life. Hampson “scored” the first run of the game. But it didn’t end there, oh no. Story’s at bat continued, and he singled, then stole second during Ian Desmond’s at bat. And after what should have been a third strike (to ONCE AGAIN end the inning) was called a ball, Desmond hit a double to score Story.

I call shenanigans.

Sure, the Giants hit into double plays in the first two innings. And sure, the defense was less than stellar, (Arenado got two bases on two errors in one inning, after all). And yes, there was some bad base-running. None of that was good, but that wasn’t the problem. If we’re looking at the game that was, the Giants would have ended this game in the ninth inning if the ump hadn’t decided to get cute.

Pros:

  • Excellent pitching. Pomeranz pitched five innings of two run ball, striking out five. Then the bullpen put up THIRTEEN scoreless innings. It’s just that the Giants couldn’t buy a hit to save their lives, until the magical 18th, that is.
  • Pablo Sandoval’s leadoff double, Steven Duggar’s check swing roller that got Sandoval to third, and Joe Panik’s sac fly to tie the game in the sixth. The only other Giants run before that came on a double play, because of course it did.
  • Tony Watson pitching through a bases-loaded jam like his middle name was Houdini.

Cons:

  • /gestures vaguely at the majority of 18 innings of offense and the concept of time.

Oh yeah, and today is a day game. Nothing like the equivalent of three baseball games played in 24 hours, that’s what I always say. Goodnight, folks.