The San Francisco Giants Sunday matinee against the Arizona Diamondbacks got off to an ominous start.
The Giants took the field, and were ready to go.
The Diamondbacks put on their helmets and, with leadoff hitter Tim Locastro striding towards the batter’s box, were ready to go.
The cardboard cutouts, lifting their $18 Lagunitas IPAs into the air, yelled to signal that they too, were ready to go.
The clock struck 1:05 p.m.
Except the umpires were nowhere to be found.
Finally, at 1:09, they came trudging to the field. You wondered if someone’s constitution was unhappy with the garlic fries, but no: they apparently just had the start time wrong.
The umpires apparently had the start time wrong and weren't on the field. And Johnny didn't want to start warming up too early. (It's 95 degrees, so "warming up" takes on a different meaning today.)— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) September 6, 2020
After the two teams gave a standing ovation to the umpires, the game finally got underway. And after I spent the gamethread talking about how the Diamondbacks didn’t have a single above-average hitter in their lineup, Locastro smoked the third Johnny Cueto pitch of the game into the bleachers.
And then, after the Diamondbacks scored a second run, we went to the bottom half of the inning, and it only took two pitches for Doug “I forgot what time my shift started” Eddings to get grumpy about the very valid complaints levied on his strike zone.
I don’t wanna hear any more, he yelled to the Giants dugout, and just once I’d like to try doing that after showing up late to work.
Home-plate ump Doug Eddings yelled back at the Giants dugout after the called strike two to Austin Slater, telling them to quiet down. Slater was the first Giants batter, so we're off to a good start. pic.twitter.com/N5Jwr6Yw1A— Mark W. Sanchez (@MarkWSanchez) September 6, 2020
Just lovely, I repeat.
So it was an ominous start for the Giants, but the ship would right itself.
Cueto settled down after that shaky inning, and managed to go 5.2 innings without giving up any more runs, though he certainly flirted with it.
Eddings settled down and started making bad calls that negatively impacted the Diamondbacks as well, with some barking at their dugout for good measure.
And the Giants bats settled down, and, as they’ve done so often this year — it feels so weird to say that — used the home run to power a win.
First up was Chadwick Tromp, who hadn’t had an extra-base hit since August 3. He cut the deficit in half in the third inning.
Chadwick Tromp - San Francisco Giants (3) Solo. pic.twitter.com/5GG9J6nfI1— MLB HR Tracker (@hr_mlb) September 6, 2020
Then it was Donovan Solano, who finished a triple shy of the cycle (and had a walk), who helped the Giants leapfrog their adversaries in the sixth inning.
Solano launches one for the lead pic.twitter.com/bzMkub1pcP— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 6, 2020
And finally it was — who else — Brandon Belt, who made a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh inning and did something that’s almost become boring he’s doing it so much lately.
Stay hot Brandon Belt pic.twitter.com/SyqeYUgiVR— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 6, 2020
Belt since August 16 is now 27-55 with 6 home runs, 8 doubles, 1 triple, and 11 walks to just 10 strikeouts.
And that was it. The Giants didn’t score any runs that weren’t off of the long ball, and they didn’t give up any runs after that first inning. And that was good for a 4-2 win that gives them a chance to win the four-game series on Monday.
A few notes:
- Cueto got into trouble in the fifth inning, but, with the help of a fine defensive play from Wilmer Flores, got out after loading the bases. He ended it with a full count strikeout, and was justifiably stoked.
.@JohnnyCueto is fired UP pic.twitter.com/HEYfNgAz30— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 6, 2020
- Alex Dickerson has been winning the Giants some games with his bat lately, but on Sunday he helped out in a big way with the glove.
It's gotta be the flip-up shades.— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 6, 2020
- For the second game in a row, Gabe Kapler deployed Caleb Baragar to bail out a starting pitcher. And for the second game in a row, it worked. This time Baragar came into the sixth inning, with two outs, after Cueto had loaded the bases for the second consecutive inning. He forced a weak fly out from Jon Jay to get out of the inning.
- Jarlin García, Tony Watson, and Tyler Rogers handled things the rest of the way, with each reliever striking out a pair of batters in their inning.
- The Giants are within a game of .500. I vote they go for it.