Let’s start at the bottom of the sixth inning.
The San Francisco Giants trailed the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0.
They’d sent 15 batters to the plate and experienced 15 outs. No, they weren’t being no-hit, but they hadn’t had a runner on base since Mike Yastrzemski led off the first inning with a weak single, and was promptly retired on a double play.
Zac Gallen — who had yet to allow more 3 earned runs in any of his 23 career starts — had struck out 6, and allowed essentially no hard contact.
And so in the sixth inning you expected nothing. It was the back third of the lineup, with a struggling Pablo Sandoval followed by two righties, and you were already looking to the seventh inning.
And then the rally happened. Oh did the rally happen. And it was a glorious rally.
A day after the Giants hit three homers, which were responsible for all of their runs, they rallied like this:
Just like that they had scored four runs, and had the bases loaded with no outs. Never mind that they wouldn’t get any runs out of that bases loaded situation; the damage was done.
And it was all they would need, as they won 4-2 for the second night in a row.
That was kind of it for the Giants. They had 4 hits and 3 walks without getting an out to start the sixth inning. Take away that little run and they had 2 hits, 0 walks, and 24 outs.
It was a masterclass in effective sequencing. Getting 4 runs on 6 hits, with just one extra-base hit (a double by Ruf) is rather sensational, and a touch silly.
The big hit came from Darin Ruf, who broke a tie with a two-run single. Ruf hasn’t had many opportunities about righties, but he replaced Alex Dickerson in the fourth inning, after Dickerson fouled a ball off his foot and left the game. And Ruf came through when it mattered most.
Darin Ruf for the lead!— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 8, 2020
One of the underrated parts of the Giants home run renaissance is that it makes these silly rallies and wins even more enjoyable. In years past this would have been a game where you thought, “I don’t know how the Giants won, but this is not sustainable.” But now, because they have more weapons at their disposal, it is sustainable, and these weird wins are a funny blip rather than a prayer occasionally answered.
Kevin Gausman had to throw more pitches than he would have liked, especially given how poor Arizona’s offense is. And he certainly backed himself into corners more than he would have preferred.
But it worked, and he was sensational most of the time. Gausman pitched 6 innings, and gave up 2 hits, 3 walks, and 1 earned run, while striking out 9, all by way of the swing and miss.
He had to throw 100 pitches, but 20 of them — 20 of them — were swinging strikes. He loaded the bases with one out in the third inning, and then put two on with no outs in the fourth inning, and only gave up a single run over the course of both pickles.
The Giants are now 21-21, and certainly look smart for having kept Gausman at the trade deadline.
San Francisco opened the series by losing a demoralizing clunker of a game on Friday. It’s not easy to win a four-game series when you lose the opener. For those of you who don’t have a mathematics PhD, you have to win three games in a row. You can have that one for free.
The Giants were up to the task. The 4-2 win gave them their third straight victory, and another series win. It also means they won the season series 8-2, while allowing just 2.7 runs per game.
Stay hot my cleat-wearing friends.