You’ve heard this stat before, so I’m going to tell it to you again. That’s what we in the industry call the “hammering it home” effect, which is a term I definitely didn’t just make up.
In their four-game series with the Washington Nationals, the Giants scored three runs. Three. One of them was gifted to them by a horrific rule that no one likes. In terms of runs they actually generated from scratch, as a baseball team is supposed to do, they had two in four games and 33 innings.
It turns out that helps.
But it wouldn’t be Giants baseball without taking us on a wild ride. It wouldn’t be Giants baseball if it wasn’t a happy ending that detoured through “pull all of your hair out” before reaching its destination.
In the bottom of the first, LaMonte Wade Jr. led off with a four-pitch walk. Good start. Would usually portend solid things.
After two outs were recorded, Brandon Crawford singled and Brandon Belt walked. Bases loaded.
They did not score.
Justifiable, if frustrating, to not score with the bases loaded when you didn’t get a runner in scoring position until there were two outs. You wouldn’t have thought anything of it had they not invented new ways to not score over the weekend. But they did, so you did, and it hurt, so you drank.
Or maybe it was just me.
The bottom of the second inning began with a Curt Casali single and a Jason Vosler double. There were runners at second and third with no outs. Even with the pitcher coming to bat you thought this would surely be the time the Giants scored, right?
Remember how I said they were inventing new ways to not score? That reached a peak in the second inning with their finest work.
After Alex Wood struck out, LaMonte Wade Jr. hit into a 3-4 double play. The 3-4 double play is not common, but also not unheard of.
However, scientists discovered a new variation of the 3-4 double play on Monday. It was not the standard 3-4 double play species that we’re used to, where the first baseman fields a ground ball, gets the force out at first, and then throws to second to tag out the runner going from first to second. It wasn’t even the rare but still observed 3-4 double play species where a first baseman catches a line drive and picks off the runner at second.
No, this previously undiscovered 3-4 double play featured the first baseman fielding a grounder, taking the ball to first base for one out, and then firing to second to tag out the runner who had already started the play at second base but got confused about whether or not to run to third.
And the Giants did not score.
They finally broke through in the third inning on a pair of doubles by Donovan Solano and Belt. The run was nice, but you still couldn’t stop thinking about how it was only one run, despite multiple extra-base hits.
We were three innings into the game and the Giants had mustered three doubles, two singles, and two walks, yet they’d only scored one run.
And then, mercifully, Brandon Crawford happened. As he has happened so many times this season, and in the 10 prior seasons.
Crawford stepped up in the fifth inning with one man on — courtesy of another Solano double — and no outs, in what was now a 1-1 game.
And he launched his 15th home run of the season.
The 15 home runs are the second-most he’s had in a season in his career. This is the 66th game of his 11th season.
I do not know what is happening, but I sincerely hope it continues to happen.
Three runs felt like a revelation — again: same number as they had in the entire four-game series in D.C. — but thankfully the Giants weren’t done.
They struck again in the eighth inning, with two hitters is dire need of hits: Steven Duggar, who singled, stole second, and took third on a wild pitch, and Austin Slater, who singled home Duggar and then scored
on a Mike Yastrzemski double after Mike Yastrzemski hit a ground-rule double and Crawford hit a sac fly.
That, and a clean ninth inning by Jake McGee — who at least has temporarily re-taken the closer spot, with Tyler Rogers heading back to the eighth inning — was enough for a 5-2 win.
It was also enough for the Diamondbacks to lose their 11th straight game, their 28th in their last 31 contests, and their 20th-straight road game.
Make it 12, 29 in 32, and 21 tomorrow, Giants.