Hey it’s me, Brady.
You might remember me from such hits as my Aug. 11 tweets, like these ones:
/looks at Giants score pic.twitter.com/Y0YnYJjPED— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) August 12, 2020
To no one's surprise, it appears that the Giants were the cure to what ailed the struggling Astros— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) August 12, 2020
That day off on Thursday cannot come soon enough.— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) August 12, 2020
Also for the Giants.
If you're not watching the Giants game, let me catch you up real quick: Don't watch the Giants game.— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) August 12, 2020
Wow, look at me. Such innocence. Such dumb.
Look, I’m not above taking a massive L from time to time, and there’s nothing I would rather take it for than my proclamations that the San Francisco Giants suck at baseball. Give me that any day of the week. Make me look like an idiot for saying the Giants are bad, and I’ll revel in it like an Indy 500 winner revels in a sweaty shower of cheap, room temperature milk.
Just as in Monday’s series opener, the Giants fell behind and carried a large deficit late. This time they trailed the Houston Astros 6-2 entering the seventh inning. And, as in Monday’s game, they made a furious rally in the final innings.
But unlike in Monday’s game, they were able to slingshot past their opponent, like a Mario Kart driver gifted three red turtle shells that they didn’t deserve but use anyway, and pull away at the last possible moment.
It was the seventh inning where the magic happened. The tie, lead, and win that followed were great on their own, but they largely served to let us enjoy what happened in the seventh.
As I mentioned, the Giants entered the inning trailing 6-2, having scored on a solo home run by Wilmer Flores and an RBI single by Alex Dickerson.
The inning started unassumingly. Brandon Crawford flied out, then Chadwick Tromp walked. They made it a pattern when Mauricio Dubón flied out, and Mike Yastrzemski walked.
I consider myself an optimist, but it really felt like the Giants were going to make just enough of an effort to frustrate you, without ever really leaving your belly with that warm sense of hope that we all search for.
And then, with Dickerson due up, Gabe Kapler made the call to have Hunter Pence pinch hit against a right-handed pitcher.
I’m sure some people groaned, but even without the benefit of hindsight it was the right call. If you think Dickerson is better than Pence, even against righties, that’s fine. But if the Giants think that, then there is absolutely no justification for keeping Pence on the roster.
If they think he should be on the roster, then they have to play him when the situation warrants it.
The situation warranted it.
And Pence — hitting just 2-32 on the year — was up to the task against the team he started his career with.
We have liftoff!— SFGiants (@SFGiants) August 12, 2020
@hunterpence | #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/vqbQTgvuIq
It was a beautiful moment, and if it didn’t warm your cold heart then I have some choice words for you, pal.
But Pence wasn’t finished. As good as the home run made everyone feel, the Giants still trailed 6-5. There was work to be done.
The ninth inning came around, and Pence wanted to help out again. After a leadoff flyout by Dubón, Yastrzemski once again drew a walk (he’s been doing that a lot, even as his bat cools off).
Pence again went the other way, this time for a single that allowed Yaz to take third base.
A Darin Ruf ground ball found a hole — despite everyone thinking for a split second that it would be a game-ending double play — and the game was tied.
DARIN RUF TIES THE GAME pic.twitter.com/mJgR5ABdwS— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 12, 2020
Just like that, Pence had doubled his hit total for the year. You love to see it.
The Giants inked their 7-6 win in the tenth inning, grabbing their first win with the new extra innings rule. They handled things pretty perfectly, until they didn’t. Flores started on second, and Austin Slater bopped in a single to move him to third. Crawford added a single to score the run, and just like that the Giants had scored the freebie runner, while putting two runners on base without an out.
Tyler Heineman laid down a bunt, which felt brilliant — the Giants didn’t bunt over the initial runner, but did do so when the force play was on. But Dubón popped up with a runner on 3rd, and Yastrzemski grounded out to end the inning. The lead was tenuous.
But out came Tyler Rogers, and despite the fact that he took a beating in the tenth inning of the Giants only other extra-innings game, he felt like the right choice. Groundball pitchers are exactly what you want when the other team is gifted a free runner.
Rogers did work, striking out Carlos Correa after the Astros runner had moved to third, and ending the game with a strikeout of Kyle Tucker (on a pitch hilariously outside of the strike zone, but...).
It was fun and it was exciting, and just as importantly, it was a win.
Way to go, team.