I thought for a moment that maybe, that yeah, it’s possible, that oh my word, yes ... what looked like a routine fly ball to the outfield was going to lazily sift through a humid Atlanta night and land in the bleachers to tie the game.
It happened in the first inning with a Buster Posey wand wave that somehow floated out to right to give the San Francisco Giants an early 2-0 run lead and left everyone, especially Max Fried confused.
And then it happened again in the ninth, when Wilmer Flores somehow muscled a handsy fastball into the first row of the left field stands to make it a one run ball game.
So when Tommy La Stella put the ball in the air to right and Joc Pederson kept slowly following its arc deeper and deeper, closer and closer to the wall, I was trained to believe, to think, nay! to know that the ball would clear the fence.
I put down my phone, closed my computer and moved my cat from my lap as I got up off the couch, pumping my fist in the air because the Giants had done it —
But instead, the ball found the palm of Pederson’s glove, contrary to his best efforts to be a starfish and stick himself to the outfield fence, and the Giants lost to the Braves 6 to 5.
It was a good game. It was a weird game. It was a good, weird game.
Kevin Gausman was not the All-Star starter he was earlier in the season, but he was a veteran and sharp-ish. Bats weren’t swinging and missing at a splitter falling off the table, but he was able to keep a potent Braves lineup in the park (except for a #foreverGiant Adam Duvall solo shot in the second).
Also, just some not-crazy but not-normal stuff happened.
Gausman had to deal with a half-hour rain delay in the first inning that paused a two out showdown with Charlie-Culberson-I-mean-Dansby-Swanson in the middle of the at-bat.
He also had to recover from a hard-to-watch play covering first where he slipped off the base and did the splits, aggravating a bothersome hip.
On the play at first base, Kevin Gausman said he aggravated the hip injury that had nagged at him earlier in the season but he felt OK to pitch and felt a responsibility to soak up more innings.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) August 28, 2021
So, all in all, it wasn’t June 2021 Gausman. But it was a version of Gausman Gabe Kapler and the Giants will happily take in late August when everyone is hot and tired and wanting to go home.
I mean, pitching 6 complete innings of 2 run ball is a stat line that has often lead to a Giants win.
So what happened?
I’m not sure...I went to get a seltzer in the 7th and the Giants went from being up 4-2 to being down 6-4.
I mean, it was really three pitches that kind-of decided this one.
Tony Watson’s ill-advised and a real pants-kicker of a walk to Joc Pederson.
Which set-up pinch hitter Guillermo Heredia’s first pitch single.
Which set-up Ozzie Albies lacing a first pitch RBI double.
Which led to Watson being replaced by Zack Littell, who threw a 94 MPH fastball at the top of the zone to Jorge Soler, who did this:
And made this Win Probability chart do this:
But you have to tip your cap to the Braves because they basically did to the Giants what the Giants did to the Mets not too long ago (i.e. yesterday).
Atlanta hung in there and kept the game close against a tough starter and jumped on the reliever the moment they got an opening. Joc Pederson’s one out walk was that opening.
A tough loss, but there’s another game tomorrow! *says this as he nervously eyes the score of the Dodgers game*