The story has a sad ending.
I just need to preface that for you. I don’t know how the rest of y’all are feeling these days, but personally, I need to know ahead of time if a story has a happy or a sad ending. It’s 2021; the last thing anyone needs is to be aimlessly scrolling through their oversized phone while enjoying their morning constitutional, and then BAM! sadness ensues, uninvited and unprepared for.
So this is my warning. This story has a sad ending. Wait until you’ve left the bathroom, grabbed your tissues, taken some deep breaths, and checked in with yourself. Then you can read it.
It was the first time since Sept. 4 — when they played each other — that both of those things happened on the same day. It was the first time since Sept. 4 that the Dodgers have gained ground on the Giants.
If you want a hint of happiness to go along with this sad story, know that the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Giants still get to face them. And if you want a hint of niceness to accompany the sad, they lost 6-9.
But they lost. So RIP to this magical stat.
Dodgers are 31-10 (.756) since the start of play July 31.— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) September 15, 2021
They gained a half game on the Giants (31-11, .738) in that time
OK, it’s time for me to walk out of the funeral parlor. The Giants still have a 1.5 game lead in the division with 16 games left, with a Wild Card spot guaranteed if they stumble. They’re in a great place.
They were just in a much better place a few hours ago.
Anyway, to the game. Depending on your pair of glasses, the Giants either opted for, or were forced to play a bullpen game for the second time in three days.
It worked brilliantly on Monday. Wednesday? Not so much. Dominic Leone instantly found himself in trouble, and faced only the minimum of three batters, leaving two on base for Jarlin García, who let them both score. Aided by a Brandon Crawford error, García then left two on base the next inning for Zack Littell, who kept the dance going by allowing both of them to score, and then added a bonus run for good measure.
Just like that, the Giants were down 5-0. But they never seem out of it, and indeed, they weren’t. They got those five runs back, plus an extra one. They just unfortunately allowed four more in the process.
Still, they made it interesting, thanks to their long ball affinity. After Evan Longoria doubled home a run in the second, Thairo Estrada cut into the lead with a pinch-hit home run in the third.
This ball got out in a hurry pic.twitter.com/hkE2aVZIEt— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 16, 2021
Kris Bryant bopped one over the fence in the sixth to make it 5-3, and give you hope, that dangerous thing.
But the seventh inning was dastardly. José Quintana retired the first two batters, and looked primed to give the Giants a solid chance after the stretch. Then he walked Ha-Seong Kim and allowed a homer to Jurickson Profar, putting the game a little out of reach.
That hurt extra in the bottom half of the inning, when the Giants hit two line-loving solo shots — one by Steven Duggar and another by Brandon Belt — that would have tied the game were it not for that ridiculous rule that states that the runs the Padres score in the seventh inning of games count.
But if you thought the seventh inning was bad, have I got something for you: the eighth. Against the struggling Emilio Pagán, the Giants had their chance. Pagán couldn’t find the strike zone, and walked LaMonte Wade Jr. on five pitches to open up the inning.
He continued to not find the zone against Bryant, walking him on five pitches as well.
He kept with the trend against Crawford, throwing two straight balls to make it 2-0. Forced to come across the plate, he gave Crawford something to hit, and Crawford dialed it up and pressed the “swing” button.
He popped it up. He just missed it.
Pagán and Longoria then battled, resulting in a full count. Forced to come across the plate, he gave Longoria something to hit, and Longoria dialed it up and pressed the “swing” button.
He flew out. He just missed it.
Duggar was the last hope in the inning, and after falling behind 0-2 took advantage of Pagán’s ball-throwing ways, and worked the count full, before striking out swinging on a pitch roughly even with his nose.
The rally was dead. The Padres would add insurance runs in the ninth, making the bottom half of the inning rather unexciting, even though the Giants scored.
They lost. It happens.
But the nine-game winning streaks are more fun than the one-game losing streaks, aren’t they?