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Giants grant Diamondbacks a 7-run handicap, win anyway because that’s the season those respective teams are having

Mike Yastrzemski’s two-out grand slam in the eighth inning gave the Giants a highly memorable win.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants
Yep. Admire it, Yaz.
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve heard these stats before but I’m going to tell you them again. Because you need to hear them again. You need to really internalize them. Inject them into your veins, as the kids say (disclaimer: McCovey Chronicles and Vox Media do not encourage injecting anything into your veins, unless administered by a healthcare professional).

Entering Tuesday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants, the Arizona Diamondbacks had lost 11 straight games. They had lost 28 of their last 31 games. They had lost 20 consecutive road games.

The last time the DBacks won a game outside of Phoenix was when Madison Bumgarner threw a seven-inning no-hitter on April 25.

April 25 was 51 days ago.

So when the Giants fell behind 4-0 before registering a single out, a funny feeling arose. Those four runs the Diamondbacks had scored — with two runners on base, and no outs in the first inning — were more than they had scored in 16 of the games in their 20-game road skid.

And when the Diamondbacks made it a 7-0 lead before the Giants had hit in the second inning, that funny feeling bubbled over. Those seven runs were more than Arizona had scored in any of those 20 losses.

We were only 1.5 innings into the game, yet at this point we knew there were only two possible outcomes.

Either the Giants would lose to a team that has perfected the art of not winning, or the Giants would win one of the most disrespectful games you’ve ever witnessed.

The Giants won one of the most disrespectful games you’ve ever witnessed.

If you don’t believe me, let the Diamondbacks social media manager tell you.

The Giants have overcome bigger deficits — remember when they erased an eight-run deficit to beat the Cincinnati Reds two years ago? — but I can’t imagine there are many more disrespectful games in franchise history.

Giving the Diamondbacks, who are legitimately mired in one of the worst slumps that baseball has ever seen, not just a big lead but a big early lead truly made it feel like a handicap. You could almost see Gabe Kapler, between sips of his coconut water kale smoothie, yelling over to the Diamondbacks dugout, Hey, have a few of these, you’re gonna need ‘em.

And then the Giants didn’t get them back immediately. They chipped away, proving that the seven-run handicap was exactly the right size. The whole point of a handicap is to make for a fair and close game, and that’s what it was.

The Giants chipped away. They scored three in the second, led by a slump-busting splash hit from Steven Duggar.

They gave one back in the fifth, but in a rare case of one step back, two steps forward, added a pair in the sixth to make it an 8-5 game.

And then the eighth inning came around.

The Diamondbacks had not done much with their handicap. They’d given up a bit of it, and only added one run to it. But they also needed to just get through two more innings with a three-run lead.

Brandon Belt led things off with a double (his fourth extra-base hit in the last two games), and Donovan Solano followed with an infield single. The Giants seemed in business to narrow the deficit heading into the ninth.

But then Mauricio Dubón had an unproductive fly out, and LaMonte Wade Jr. had a ground out, and suddenly two were retired. The Giants pinch-hit with Curt Casali, he of the .135 batting average, and he did a stellar job drawing a walk against a right-handed pitcher to load the bases.

Up came Mike Yastrzemski. Sweet, beautiful, perfect Mike Yastrzemski. Flawless Mike Yastrzemski who can do no wrong. Mike Yastrzemski who deserves a life of resplendent glory and infinite puppies.

Forget the context. This is one of the prettiest swings you will ever see.

Now watch it again, but with context. The Giants trail by three. The bases are loaded. There are two outs in the eighth inning. It’s a 1-2 count. The Dodgers are winning and could catch the Giants in the standings by the end of the night.

Oh Yaz. May no harm ever befall you.

My sister loves to play ping-pong against me. She is better at most things in life than I am, but ping-pong is not one of those things. She wins maybe one or two games out of every hundred.

But, being an honorable and authentic sibling, she is convinced that she will beat me. Every time. Every single time.

And with every attempt to do so, she becomes more and more focused, gaining such intense tunnel vision that she loses track of her surroundings.

Being the good younger brother that I am, I abuse that. I give her handicaps, but I don’t tell her, and she doesn’t notice.

She took me to overtime once, and when she came over to gloat she realized that I played the whole game on a skateboard. I beat her once standing on only one foot. Once I used a miniature paddle.

It’s rude and entirely disrespectful, to see just how much of an advantage I can give her before pulling her out of the jaws of victory. So very disrespectful.

But damn if it isn’t a hell of a lot of fun.