I don’t like the San Francisco Giants official hashtag, nor do I like the fact that official hashtags for baseball teams are apparently a thing.
I apologize deeply for those of you have to see that my luddite is showing, but MLB social accounts using overplayed Gen Z slang and plastering it on every tweet is not something that needs to exist, even if I begrudgingly acknowledge the quality puniness of it all.
No, I don’t like the #ResilientSF hashtag. But damn if it isn’t right on the money. Damn if this isn’t a team displaying admirable levels of resilience nearly every time they take the field.
Damn if this doesn’t just tell the story of win No. 98, but at least 40 others along the way.
The Giants started their game rather perfectly, thanks to a leadoff home run from Tommy La Stella. It feels like they’ve had an abnormal number of leadoff home runs this year, but I think that’s mainly because they’ve just had an abnormal number of home runs, period, and they gotta get allocated somewhere.
But the fun did not last. Kevin Gausman gave the lead right back to the San Diego Padres in the bottom half of the inning, en route to allowing four runs in the first three innings, and getting knocked out after just four innings, with nine hits allowed.
The splitter that has been the main protagonist as he reinvents his career in San Francisco decided to take a rare day off from work. I get it. I support that. We should all do that more.
Kevin Gausman has thrown 1,264 splitters as a Giant over the past two seasons. Here's a full accounting of the home runs he's allowed on the pitch:— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) September 22, 2021
Fernando Tatis Jr., 4-24-2021
Jon Berti, 9-16-2021
Manny Machado, tonight
Manny Machado, tonight
Tommy Pham, tonight
The Giants trailed 4-1 and it was right around this time that the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies in extra innings, meaning the NL West would be tied if the Giants and Padres score held.
It didn’t hold. Because, you know, resilience and what have you.
They clawed back for two runs in the fifth inning, on a pinch-hit RBI single by Wilmer Flores and a sacrifice fly by Buster Posey.
They tied it in the sixth inning when Kris Bryant led off with a double, then was replaced on the bag by Brandon Crawford one batter later, and Crawford touched home to give the Giants a 5-4 lead a few batters later on a Mike Yastrzemski sacrifice fly.
And then they gave it right back, again, in the bottom half of the inning, when Austin Nola, one of the great home run artists of our time, hit his second dinger of the year.
It was a tied game going into the seventh, courtesy of the Padresian homers, Giant resilience, and Buster Posey throwing out two runners.
And it is at this point that baseball did that silly thing that it so often does.
Manny Machado — who already had two home runs in the game — led off the bottom half of the inning and hit a ball 106.2 mph and 398 feet, with a .930 expected batting average. Yastrzemski caught it.
Adam Frazier followed it up with an 88.5 mph fly ball that went 341 feet, which LaMonte Wade Jr. tracked down. Then Wade chased down a 102.5 mph, 332-foot, .480 xBA bomb by Tommy Pham, and the tie was intact. Somehow. Dominic Leone’s BPM is probably still firmly in the triple digits, but the tie was intact.
It would stay intact through the top half of the inning, despite Steven Duggar hitting a pinch-hit ball that cleared the fence.
Who the hell invited Wil Myers to the party? Did he just crash it no invite? I bet he crashed it, no invite.
And then to the ninth, where baseball, still thinking about those Padres missiles from the seventh inning, decided to really remind you of its eternal silliness.
With one out, Brandon Belt hit a ball 71 mph for a single. Posey followed him up with a 74.7 mph knock to put runners at first and second. And then Wade — sweet, beautiful, 12-19 in the ninth inning Wade — hit a ball 64.8 mph that just barely somehow scarcely hardly got past the athletic extension of Fernando Tatis Jr. for a single.
Belt had to hesitate, but still went all in to try and score, and Pham came up throwing, putting one right on the money for what looked like an out at home.
But Nola did what anyone should do when staring down the barrel of a 6’3”, 231-pound human running full speed at you: he dropped what he was holding.
Is it late night? ✅— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 22, 2021
Is it LaMonte? ✅ pic.twitter.com/KSTIjlz6FB
The Padres had magic of their own in the bottom half of the inning, putting two men on thanks to a ground ball that forgot to bounce (thus going under Crawford’s mitt for an error), and a ground ball that made up for the ground ball that forgot to bounce by bouncing so high that it was in the air at least 35 seconds before returning to earth where Crawford was waiting for it, with no chance of a play at first base.
It was tension time, but resilience, it turns out, is tension’s antidote.
And so, in fitting fashion after Machado homered twice, and after the Giants took the lead on a series of chip shots, Machado ended the game on a 112.2 mph bullet that Belt, Crawford, and Tyler Rogers somehow turned into one of the best double plays of the year.
It’s a one-game lead with 11 games left. Somehow they just keep doing it. Almost like they’re resilient, or something.
I dunno, just spitballing. Don’t quote me on that in any tweets.