That felt really good to write. I’m just gonna write it again real quick.
The San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Sunday night to take the season series 10 games to 9 and re-claim sole ownership of the NL West.
Here’s a fun graphic with fireworks to illustrate my point.
I’ll be honest, I did not have high hopes for San Francisco in this game. I don’t think anyone did. It was another scheduled bullpen game for the Giants—a bullpen that the Dodgers had just worked for 6 runs the previous night—and on top of that, Dodger-ace and Cy Young front runner, Walker Buehler, was on the mound.
As I’m sure you know, Buehler’s history with the Giants is well-recorded and very one-sided. In 12 games and 10 starts, Buehler is (was) 7-0 and owns (owned) a 1.83 ERA against the team.
Sunday was supposed to be a highlight generator for Walker’s end-of-the-year video essay explaining why he should win the National League Cy Young Award. That project will still get turned in at the end of the year and it will probably be damn persuasive—but it will have zero footage from September 5th, 2021.
So let’s get into it.
The day started with a solo shot in the first off the bat of Brandon Belt. It was the team’s first homer of the series, and his 21st of the season.
Then the second inning started.
The Dodgers cheekily tied the game with two singles and a walk against Jose Alvarez before he could record an out. Gabe Kapler replaced Alvarez with Zach Littell who promptly frisbee-d a slider into the dirt, letting Cory Seager and Will Smith advance to second and third with no outs.
Belt’s home run was fast becoming a fond, but distant, memory.
But Littell got Chris Taylor to pop up to short, struck out Cody Bellinger, and then—thank God for the National League—got Walker Buehler swinging to end the threat and preserve the tie.
The Giants bats quickly backed up Littell’s stop job in the bottom half of the inning. Brandon Crawford led off with a walk and advanced to third on Yastrzemski’s double over Cody Bellinger’s head in center. Curt Casali popped up, but Steven Duggar, who was called up to replace Austin Slater after he was placed on the 7-day concussion IL, turned on a 91 MPH cutter and sent the ball tracing the first base line all the way to the right field corner. Two runs were in and Duggar was standing on third, screaming into the Giants dugout.
DUGGAR GIVES THE GIANTS THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/oE6EJ7INCS— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 5, 2021
It was at this point that I realized this game was going to be different.
Sure, it was a bullpen game, but it won’t be like yesterday’s. Yesterday was yesterday, so long ago, full of so many problems. Today is today, and it is beautiful. I am writing poetry.
Darin Ruf singled home Duggar, and the Giants added two more runs in the next inning with the help of back-to-back doubles by Crawford and LaMonte Wade Jr.. The Giants had hung 6 runs on Walker Buehler in the first three innings and they never looked back.
Brandon Crawford and Curt Casali both knock in insurance runs pic.twitter.com/w8uhU9ugAH— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 6, 2021
Sure, there some scary moments, some infuriating moments, some moments when I sat on my couch in complete darkness trying to center myself and find an inner peace as I waited for Jon Miller’s call to filter in through the radio static. Fair or foul, Jon? Ball or strike? Is the ball playable, Jon?? Just tell me, Jon!
The Dodgers threatened again with the bases-loaded in the third inning before Jose Quintana, who came in to bail out Jay Jackson, got Will Smith to fly out to right.
Quintana pitched a clean fourth, but couldn’t buy the third out in the fifth after giving up a single to Mookie Betts and two walks—all with two outs. Camilo Doval took the mound and walked Will Smith on a *cough* questionable call, forcing in the Dodgers 2nd run home, before striking out Chris Taylor on 6 pitches to stifle the rally.
Then, of course, in the 9th, Albert Pujols hit a two run homer off of Jake McGee to make the game way more interesting than it needed to be. Max Muncy then got his first hit of the series with one out and brought the tying run to the plate in Mookie Betts. McGee struck out Betts on a *cough cough* questionable call that Mike Krukow couldn’t help being audibly disgusted in, and then sealed the deal with Turner fouling out to Mike Yastrzemski.
Ball game. Sunday capped off an incredibly tight and wild and maddening and glorious 19 games of rivalry baseball. The Giants and Dodgers have no equal.
The Giants and Dodgers played 19 times this season. The Giants won 10 games and scored 78 runs, the Dodgers won 9 games and scored 80 runs. If they play again, it'll be in the postseason.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) September 6, 2021
Oh, and the Dodgers City Connect uniforms are terrible.