I can’t make you watch a baseball game. I don’t have those powers yet, though I am asking for that to be included in my job description going forward. I’ll keep you updated.
I also can’t help you go back in time, though I’ve already put in the request with the higher-ups to have a time machine expensed.
If those two work perks come through, then I’ll make you — yes, you, internet stranger who opted to spend their Saturday night not watching the San Francisco Giants play the Los Angeles Dodgers — go back to 6:10 p.m. PT on Saturday and watch the game.
Because that was emphatically and unequivocally a baseball game.
A weird and funky and delicious baseball game, like one of those bottles of wine that you can’t decide if you like but you keep pouring more glasses of.
It started off weird in the Giants favor. In the third inning, Austin Slater hit his first home run of the year, taking high-school-senior-beating-up-on-the-middle-schoolers ace Clayton Kershaw deep to dead center.
Two batters later, Mike Yastrzemski also put a ball over the fence.
Kershaw had given up two home runs to the Giants across 2018 and 2019 combined, and now the Giants had matched that output in a single inning.
It was just third time the Giants had managed a two-dinger game against Kershaw, who has been tormenting them for a decade. The other times? Hunter Pence and Buster Posey in 2017, and Madison Bumgarner and Ehire Adrianza (LOL) in 2016.
It was the first time the Giants had ever hit two home runs against Kershaw in the same inning.
And then, two innings later, Slater did it again, with a home run so similar that I honestly thought I had missed the broadcast showing a replay, until my brain processed the words coming out of Duane Kuiper’s mouth.
Hilariously, Yastrzemski almost followed Slater’s lead again, banging one off the wall for an RBI double.
That’ll do nonetheless.
Slater’s second big fly gave the Giants three home runs against Kershaw for the first time in ... /checks notes ... ever, and also made Slater the first Giant to hit two dingers off Kershaw in a single game.
On that note, here are the last seven home runs the Giants have hit against Kershaw, a run that spans four seasons:
If that doesn’t make you guffaw, while bemoaning how stupid baseball is and how much you adore it, then maybe this isn’t the sport for you.
Fast forward to the sixth inning. The Giants are winning 5-0, and Johnny Cueto hasn’t allowed a single hit.
And then this happens:
Tough way to lose a no-hitter pic.twitter.com/saPkkCoOBD— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 9, 2020
It’s not every
day year you see a Major League outfielder miss a routine fly ball by a good 30 feet. And it’s not every day year decade you see that be the play that breaks up a no-hitter.
Poor Pence. He couldn’t see it from the get go, and it clearly got lost perfectly in the lights. At no point did it seem like he had ever been able to locate the ball. I can’t imagine the helplessness of knowing that a very hard yet invisible object is lingering a hundred feet over your head, waiting for gravity to do its thing. And that’s before you get into the whole feeling guilty because you lost the no-hitter thing, something that Pence was very visibly distraught about.
Hunter Pence said he was sick to his stomach after misplay in left because he felt Cueto had something special going. "To spoil that feels awful," he said.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 9, 2020
Yet despite that, it was great theater, accompanied by spectacular images.
Oh yeah. That’s the one.
Because baseball is silly and stupid, that was a triple not an error, and it later resulted in an earned run on Cueto’s line after an RBI groundout. I repeat: This play was not ruled an error.
On the "triple" that ended Johnny Cueto's no-hitter when Hunter Pence lost it in the twilight...— David Adler (@_dadler) August 9, 2020
Kiké had an .060 xBA.
The ball was in the air for 6.7 seconds.
Pence had a 99% catch probability. pic.twitter.com/yPL1hHIJII
But Cueto was shaken. He walked two batters and then gave up a home run to Justin Turner, and just like that it was a ball game. A ball game that Cueto was no longer pitching in, let alone dominating.
And yet the Giants bullpen was able to hold on against a dangerous Dodgers team, despite seemingly all the momentum going in LA’s direction. Tony Watson came in for a one-pitch out that ended the inning, then gave way to Tyler Rogers who was perfect in 2 innings.
Trevor Gott pitched the ninth, and worked around a walk to earn the save.
A few notes from a weird, weird baseball game:
- Dubón had an extremely important and impressive at bat in the sixth inning. With Pence on third and one out, Dubón ripped a ball down the third base line. It would have been a two-run double, except it was called foul. Dubón disagreed with the call, and replays showed that the main reason he disagreed with the call was because the call was incorrect. But it’s not a reviewable play, and so Dubón was forced to step back into the box. He proceeded to fly one deep into the right field corner, resulting in a sacrifice fly that ended up being the critical run.
- Joe Kelly — who is appealing the suspension he received for throwing at the heads of Houston Astros players numerous times — pitched the ninth inning. He brushed off two Giants near the head, first Slater and then Donovan Solano. Solano gave him a good stare down, and then ripped a single on the next pitch. It was glorious.
- Solano had a three-hit night. He’s now hitting .462/.473/.654, and has a 13-game hitting streak.
- Somehow, someway, the Giants are even with the Dodgers after six road games. They’ll go for a series win on Sunday afternoon.