The San Francisco Giants could have avoided any and all shenanigans if they just had a little bit of luck. Just an extra little puff of air from the wind. Just an extra MPH of gas on the pitch from Jefry Rodriguez. Just one baseball park architect settling on a wall height two inches lower than what they eventually chose.
Had any of those things happened, the Giants would have beaten the Washington Nationals 1-0 in a normal-length game. And by “normal” I mean “demonic,” because MLB is still playing seven-inning doubleheaders for reasons I refuse to understand.
But those things didn’t happen.
Remember when Buster Posey hit a home run that only barely cleared the wall on Friday, and that was the only run that was scored?
That could have been Mike Yastrzemski, had any of those aforementioned things happened.
Instead, this happened:
At the time it seemed inconsequential. The Giants had a leadoff double — he’d score eventually, right?
He did not. That was the only hit of the regulation innings for the Giants. They failed to get Yaz home, or even to third. They failed to get their walks home, too.
Yet unlike in the first game of the doubleheader, the Giants’ inability to score in the first seven innings of a seven-inning game did not doom them. In a scheduled bullpen game, the Giants cobbled together seven scoreless innings from a well-rested ‘pen: two from Conner Menez, and one each from Jarlin García, Dominic Leone, Zack Littell, Tyler Rogers, and Jake McGee.
Somehow, despite having scored one run through three games, the Giants were headed to extra innings with a chance to take a lead in the series.
And then the offense came alive. Briefly. Very, very briefly.
With perhaps the slowest person on the team in Curt Casali occupying second as the ghost runner, LaMonte Wade Jr. led off the extra inning — formerly known as the eighth — with a single. Casali read it as a hit the whole way — which almost backfired on him — and scored easily.
Wade took second on a wild pitch, and the Giants were officially in business. That business expanded when Donovan Solano hit a grounder to the left side and Wade took off for third, forcing a throw from Trea Turner and beating it out. And then that business opened a second franchise when Brandon Belt drew a walk to load the bases. And then that business had a successful IPO when Wilmer Flores singled in a second run.
Bases loaded, no outs. A sacrifice fly or two away from a comfortable lead. A gapper away from an extra-innings laugher.
And then that business went bankrupt. Mike Tauchman couldn’t get a run home. And then Mauricio Dubón couldn’t get a run home. And then Austin Slater couldn’t get a run home.
So just a few moments after looking like they’d break the game open, the Giants took just a 2-0 lead into the bottom half of an inning that featured a free runner.
And when Caleb Baragar allowed a leadoff double by Starlin Castro to score that first run and put the tying run on second with no outs, you thought “oh no.”
And when Baragar hit Victor Robles to put the walk-off run on base with no outs, you thought “OH NO.”
And when Josh Bell hit a deep fly ball to center field that would move the tying run to third with just one out, you thought “OH NO!!!”
And when Robles for some inexplicable reason tried to take second on that fly ball, and flew roughly 20 feet past the bag trying to avoid a tag, doing his best impression of me in Mario Kart taking a hairpin turn without letting off the gas, you laughed and laughed and laughed, and by the time you stopped laughing Turner had popped up to end the game, and the Giants had won 2-1.
The Giants have only scored three runs in 24 innings this series, and one of those runs started on second base for free.
Somehow they’re winning the series.