The San Francisco Giants defeated the Cleveland Guardians tonight, 4-2. They did so primarily on the back of Brandon Belt, who had two RBI and scored a run himself. Also, a little help from the Guardians’ defense, but more on that later.
Things started off rough for the Giants. Starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani ended the day after four and two thirds innings, having allowed five hits, two walks and two runs, with four strike outs. Which ended up being a lot better than it could have been. He struggled from the start of the game, falling behind in the count, missing his spots, but thankfully the Guardians were not able to capitalize on it too much.
In the bottom of the first, Myles Straw seemed like he was out after hitting a ball down the third base line to start off the inning. Joc Pederson fielded it and made a great throw to third to try to beat Straw, and it looked like he had. It was initially called an out, but it was overturned on review, which allowed Straw to score the first run of the game on a sac fly by José Ramírez.
The Giants were hitless until the top of the fifth inning when Thairo Estrada hit a line drive to left field. This was followed by a double from Steven Duggar, which looked like it might have been headed out, but bounced off the top of the wall, sending Estrada to third. Mike Yastrzemski got a quick 3-0 count and decided to swing at, well, everything for a couple of pitches. But he ultimately walked to load the bases for Brandon Belt.
This knocked Guardians starting pitcher Cal Quantril out of the game, after four and two thirds innings. Belt looked at two pitches way outside and fouled one off before hitting a single up the middle to score Estrada and Duggar to take their first lead of the game.
At this point, I stood up and saluted my television. As you do.
But the tables would turn on the Giants in the bottom of the inning when DeSclafani had more struggles of his own. Owen Miller doubled off of the left field wall to start the inning. DeSclafani was able to get two outs, but after giving up a double to Straw, which brought home Miller to tie the game, DeSclafani was pulled for José Álvarez, who got Steven Kwan to ground out to end the inning.
Kwan, noted Bay Area native, went 0-for-4 for the day and apparently was quoted as saying he used to slide down the Coke bottle as a kid. One of us. One of us.
Anyway, back to the game. John Brebbia came in to pitch the sixth inning and gave up a single to Ramírez before getting two outs and being pulled for Jarlín García, who gave Giants fans a bit of a scare, walking two in a row, before getting Ernie Clement to ground into a force out to end the inning.
In the top of the eighth, Belt hit a single that only just got past Miller at first to lead off the inning. With one out, Austin Slater (who had replaced Pederson in the sixth) hit a bloop single over the head of Clement into shallow center field, moving Belt to second. Brandon Crawford walked to load the bases, and that’s when things got weird.
With the bases loaded and one out, Wilmer Flores hit into what really should have been an inning ending double play (not that I’m complaining), but it ended up being a fielder’s (questionable) choice, as Clement made a great play on a one-hopper to get Crawford out at second, but the throw to first was not in time because Miller was late getting back to the bag, allowing Belt to score the go-ahead run. With Estrada batting next, a wild pitch from Nick Sandlin allowed Slater to score the final run of the game.
Tyler Rogers pitched a great eighth inning. He allowed a single to to Ramírez, before getting a fly out, followed by a double play in which another Guardians player was off the bag at first, allowing Estrada to make the play at second and get it to Belt in time for the out.
Noteworthy offense of the ninth includes Joey Bart and speeeed. Bart struck out, but the ball got away from catcher Bryan Lavastida (but I believe it was ruled a wild pitch by Sam Hentges) allowing Bart to reach first safely. The hustle was real, but it definitely did not stop there. With Yastrzemski batting, Bart stole second, his first career steal. Ah, the legHe then tagged up on Yastrzemski’s fly out and reached third before ultimately being stranded.
Jake McGee entered to pitch the ninth inning. And I know you guys know everything turned out fine because I’ve already said what the final score was, but friends, it was a roller coaster of emotions. It was McGee’s first appearance since last Saturday....in which he allowed the Marlins to score the winning run. And tensions were similarly high in this one.
McGee allowed a single to Josh Naylor to start the inning, followed by a four pitch out to Miller. Clement grounded into a force out that allowed Naylor to reach third base with one out. But it was fine. Of course it was, you know the final score. Oscar Mercado came in as a pinch hitter and struck out, before Straw hit a ball back to McGee himself, who got to make the throw to Belt to end the game and lower blood pressure across the Bay Area*.
*Before they were immediately raised again by postseason basketball. Go Dubs, #BayAreaUnite.