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Hypothetical recap: Brandon Belt’s 8th inning homer leads the Giants to a win

The Giants picked up their first win in a while.

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

With the MLB season suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, there are no baseball games and limited baseball news. So I’m creating a hypothetical season — complete with news and recaps — until baseball resumes. All news and recaps will have the hypothetical tag, so you can at least know when you’re suspending reality. And you can click “hypothetical season” above the headline to see everything that has happened in this “season.”


Hey, I’ve got some good news for you. The San Francisco Giants didn’t lose! That’s the first time that’s happened in ... /checks notes ... quite some time. Let’s not even go there.

They won on Tuesday, and that’s all that matters. Don’t focus on the loss on Monday. Or Sunday. Or Saturday. Or Friday. Those don’t matter anymore.

Tuesday matters, and the Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies. Celebrate. Pop that $5 bottle of “champagne” that you keep in the fridge for itty-bitty celebrations. Or go crazy with the $6 bottle. Your call. I won’t tell you how to live.

In what wasn’t the most exciting game of the year, the Giants and Phillies certainly made Rob Manfred happy by playing very quickly. The jogged onto the field, did their work, and jogged off. The game was shorter than a Tarantino film, and Manfred maniacally tapped his fingers and grinned.

That isn’t to say it was a pitcher’s duel, though from a strict runs-prevented sense (which, it should be noted, is the whole goal for a pitcher) it came across that way. Jeff Samardzija and Vince Velasquez both allowed just a single run in 7 innings of work, but neither was dominant, or close to it. Samardzija struck out just 4 batters, and Velasquez 5. But Samardzija didn’t issue a walk, and his counterpart issued just 1 free pass.

Neither even gave up many hits — Samardzija allowed 5, and Velasquez 6.

But my goodness was there hard contact. Replay those pitches tomorrow and they give up 5 runs instead of 1. Replay it in Colorado and they give up 9 runs instead of 1.

But luck, ballpark, and Rob Manfred’s marionette strings combined for just 1 run apiece from each pitcher. You can probably see the burn marks in the gloves of the defenders backing them up, but that’s neither here nor there.

Both managers wisely turned things over to their bullpens in the eighth inning. Actually, the wise thing would have been turning them over a bit earlier, but hey, we’re working on a wisdom spectrum here.

First came Jarlin Garcia and whoooo buddy let me tell you I like this guy a lot. He has been pretty spectacular all year, and seeing him blow by Bryce Harper on three pitches — two of them swinging — was an absolute thing of beauty. He can stay.

Remember when the Miami Marlins purposely got rid of him? The same Marlins who are the only team in the NL with a worse record than the Giants? Yeah, that was silly.

The Phillies countered with Seranthony Domínguez. He set down the first two batters with ease, but then came the top of the lineup.

Domínguez, a righty, was now tasked with facing left-hander Mike Yastrzemski. They battled. Holy heck did they battle. Yaz fouled off four pitches, Domínguez refused to give in, and on the eighth pitch Yastrzemski walked. At that point Domínguez had faced three batters, and Joe Girardi was now allowed to take him out and bring in a lefty to face Brandon Belt.

Joe Girardi did not take him out and bring in a lefty to face Brandon Belt.

Joe Girardi should have taken him out and brought in a lefty to face Brandon Belt.

But I repeat: Joe Girardi did not take him out and bring in a lefty to face Brandon Belt.

Brandon Belt hit one into the arcade, which is a great thing to have happen, and the Giants took a 3-1 lead.

I was convinced Trevor Gott would channel his inner Brian Wilson, but he didn’t. The ninth inning went calmly, and the Giants got back in the win column.

Gabe Kapler picked up his first win against the team that fired him a few months ago. The Giants are now 12-18. That’s better than they were a few hours ago.