I’ve written a bunch of different opening sentences to start this recap, taking various angles on how to approach what occurred at Oracle Park between the Atlanta Braves and our San Francisco Giants this Friday night—but all of them have come off as stale, awkward, boring, not-good.
The root of the problem is that I have to actually use words to explain what happened and right now, after watching that game, words aren’t doing it for me.
I kind of just want to lay in my bed with the blankets pulled over my head and watch Donovan Solano’s two-strike-two-out-bottom-of-the-9th-game-tying home run disappear into the left field tunnel over and over and over...
or watch Brandon Crawford pick a 110 MPH grounder diving to his right over and over and over...
Austin Riley tipped his cap and the crowd chanted "MVP" after Brandon Crawford did this pic.twitter.com/yIZU5mRiLM— KNBR (@KNBR) September 18, 2021
or watch Brandon Belt swat a two-run homer into the arcade over and over and over...
Captain Belt's 26th homer of the season ties it up pic.twitter.com/mQzMwmfm1S— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 18, 2021
or watch LaMonte Wade Jr. splash down into San Francisco Bay over and over and over...
LaMONTE WADE JR. SENDS IT TO THE BAY pic.twitter.com/s6Q9R1bLt6— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 18, 2021
or watch Logan Webb throw a left-turn slider for a wave-and-a-miss strike three over and over and over...
Slow motion look at a beautiful Logan Webb slider pic.twitter.com/Hk621DQyP4— Ben Palmer (@benjpalmer) September 18, 2021
or watch Kevin Gausman unload like 1997 Ken Griffey Jr on a 3-2 fastball with the bases-loaded in the 11th over and over and over...
This is not a hot take, but the 2021 Giants are a fun team. What makes a team fun is they not only win, but they win in unexpected ways. This 6-5 walk off win against the Braves is a prime example of “unexpected”.
What set the tone early was Brandon Belt’s two-run homer off Ian Anderson.
Logan Webb had just seen his first inning turn on a dime: after striking out the first two batters he faced, he gave up three quick hits that resulted in two runs and left Webb feeling blindsided. It was a disorienting turn of events—but before Webb threw another pitch, the Giants punched back. Ruf walked to lead off the inning and Belt went deep to knot the game up at two runs a piece.
It was an immediate pick me up and Webb didn’t waste the restart. He threw six more innings of shut-out baseball, allowing only three more singles and notching nine total strikeouts for the game.
During those eight innings, I was having a lot of fun.
The Braves were being aggressive in the box, swinging at early pitches and putting the ball in play. The Giants were getting outs with little stress. Logan Webb’s sinker, slider and change-up were dancing all over the place. Brandon Crawford was humbly adding to his career year with power hitting and defensive highlights. He and LaMonte Wade Jr. both contributed home runs, running the score to 4-2 entering the 9th.
But Tyler Rogers, filling in for Jake McGee in the save situation, gave up two singles on two pitches to Austin Riley and Adam Duvall. Two batters later, Rogers slung an 82 MPH fastball up to Travis d’Arnaud who lofted it into the left field bleachers for a three run homer and the lead.
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That was about where I stopped having fun for a bit.
In the heat of my indignant disbelief and righteous anger, I flash-backed to August 27th when Jorge Soler hit a three run homer in the 7th to snatch the lead and the win from the Giants. It was going to be eerily similar. An established lead gone in a swing in the heat of a pennant race. Will Smith warming in the bullpen, coming in against his old team to close out the game and runaway with a win that was rightfully ours...
But just as they did in the first, the Giants offense unplugged the power cord and forced a hard reset of the game with Donovan Solano’s pinch-hit blast in the 9th.
Shoutout to the heroics of the one they call Donnie Barrels pic.twitter.com/n6VQB0FTuR— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 18, 2021
Tony Watson and Camilo Doval stranded their inherited runners in the 10th and 11th to pick up Tyler Rogers and set-up...and I find myself here again, trying to explain the inexplicable.
So why try? Words are dumb.
Let’s just watch and enjoy it and not try to understand.
Kevin Gausman, bottom of the 11th, bases loaded, full count...