There were a lot of parallels between the San Francisco Giants game on Wednesday, and their season opener six days prior.
Kevin Gausman pitched brilliantly in both games, and gave the Giants a lead to protect.
The Giants used the power of the long ball to get said leads.
The bullpen gave up those leads.
Extra innings arrived, and you remembered how much you hate the new runner on second rules.
Only this time, against a better team in the San Diego Padres, the Giants didn’t have the full-on bullpen collapse. They just gave back a simple one-run lead, as happens. And this time they looked like a competent baseball club on both ends of the field when the tenth inning rolled around.
As a result, this time they won, 3-2.
So how did they get there? It started with a two-run home run to dead center by Darin Ruf, that had an unexpected layover at Jorge Mateo Airport.
Sorry, but that is just objectively hilarious. Even a Padres fan can recognize how funny that is. In fact, why don’t we bring a Padres fan in here so we can talk to them about how hilarious that play was. Let’s listen to their takes on the play.
I didn’t see a definitive angle that showed whether or not Ruf’s homer was bound to leave the park without the assist from Mateo. It very well might have been one of those plays where you’re either a hero for robbing a home run or a joke for not robbing a home run.
Either way, the play was a joke, and unlike most jokes the Giants have participated in this season, this one made me laugh.
That was enough to give the Giants the lead for a while, as Gausman was absolutely delightful. It was not a dominant performance from the Giants No. 1 starter, as he wasn’t racking up swinging strikes or even pounding the zone. But it never felt like the Padres were comfortable against him, and the Padres are comfortable against everyone. As such, he went 7 innings, and allowed just 4 hits, 1 walk, and 1 earned run, while striking out 5.
Gausman’s line is now 13.2 innings, 6 hits, 3 walks, 2 earned runs, and 11 strikeouts, but the Giants have yet to reward him with a win on his record.
Things got hairy in the eighth inning, when Tyler Rogers allowed a game-tying home run to Wil Myers. It wasn’t a nice sight, but I have to say this: it happens.
The Giants bullpen is on the receiving end of a lot of ire these days, which is understandable given the Opening Day fiasco. But bullpens will give up runs, and it’s not the end of the world. It’s not a meltdown that the bullpen gave up a lone run in 3 innings against an elite team.
And while Rogers will want to forget the game, Jake McGee was perfect in the ninth inning of a tied game, and Wandy Peralta worked some magic in extras.
In the top of the tenth, the Giants were able to just barely squeeze the free runner home. An Austin Slater fly ball moved Alex Dickerson to third, and a swinging bunt by Mike Yastrzemski put runners at the corners. With only one shot at a sacrifice hit, Donovan Solano — who went hitless for the first time all year, but still had one of the biggest offensive plays of the game — hit a ball just far enough for a stuck-in-first-gear Dickerson to get home.
Giants take the lead in extras‼️ pic.twitter.com/wGAd28YKox— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 7, 2021
In the bottom half of the inning, Peralta worked a strikeout with a runner on third and one out — after a stellar defensive play by he and Brandon Belt to get the first out — and induced a game-ending fly ball.
That not only gave the Giants a 3-2 victory, but it gave them a series win, on the road, over a team that is projected to have a close encounter with 100 wins. And sure, Fernando Tatís Jr. was injured, but holding the Padres to 7 runs in a three-game series at their home park is mighty impressive.
And going 3-3 on a road trip to start the season?
No complaints here. Enjoy the off day, Giants.