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Home runs and Carlos Rodón: still the greatest love story of our time

Wilmer Flores and Austin Slater homered, Carlos Rodón struck out 9, and the Giants beat the A’s.

Oakland Athletics v San Francisco Giants
Wilmer Flores and Austin Slater, who both hit 3-run home runs, high five after the Giants beat the A’s 8-2.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants have figured out a fairly flawless plan when it comes to winning baseball games: hit some home runs, and let Carlos Rodón pitch.

You know the whole overplayed question about why they don’t make the whole plane out of the black box? Well why don’t the Giants make the whole season out of Rodón pitching and the dudes hitting the dingers?

Might mess around and win 107 games, or something.

As it is, the Giants will continue to turn to Rodón only once every five games, and he’ll continue to make you wonder why you can’t clone four more of him, or maybe two more and then throw in Logan Webb and one of his clones, just to mix things up a little. Love you, Webby.

Rodón set the tone in the first inning, when he found himself with a runner on third and only one out (partially of his doing, given that he allowed a single, but partially not of his doing, as Sheldon Neuse stole second and took third when Joey Bart apparently thought Neuse was stealing center field instead). With the game’s first run just 90 feet away, Rodón calmly pumped 98 and 99 mph fastballs to Bart over and over until the remaining Oakland A’s hitters had struck out in debilitating fashion.

And that was the night for MLB’s strikeout leader. He found trouble in the third inning, when he needed 30 pitches and allowed his only run of the night, but he finished with a mesmerizing display of heat and deception, with a healthy sprinkling of Grit™ on top. He allowed just five baserunners in six innings, struck out nine, and now has the following line through four games: 23 innings, 11 hits, 8 walks, 3 earned runs, 38 strikeouts.

Can I get a “Yeesh”?

The Giants didn’t need to give Rodón much run support to give him his third win of the year, and Wilmer Flores provided all that was needed — and more.

With one run already in in the second inning, Flores launched one to left field. It had the look. It had the sound. It had the trot from Flores and the call from the booth.

And then, like so many balls have in this season of mystery baseballs, it fell short, ricocheting off the wall, and serving as merely a one-run double.

When Flores came up an inning later, with the Giants once again sporting a one-run lead, he learned from his mistake, and decided to take the wall out of the equation entirely.

Smart baseballing, Wilmer. Very smart baseballing.

That seemed to put the game away. Rodón was cooking enough that the only worry was his pitch count, which took him out after six innings thanks to 104 pitches. But with the way the Giants bullpen has performed, you weren’t too worried, and while Dominic Leone did allow a run, the A’s never felt like they had a chance.

And if they had? It would’ve been taken away by one Austin Slater.

Slater’s season has been slept on a little, because he’s been best known for being the guy who repeatedly replaces Joc Pederson when Joc is on pace to hit 17 home runs in a game. But it’s been a strong year from Slater, and it’s been a strong year from the Giants social media content creators, and those two came together for one glorious oppo-pop of a three-run dongeroonie and one equally glorious reference to the perfect year that was 2002.

Of course it wouldn’t be an A’s game if it didn’t include something embarrassing about the green and yellow franchise, and that came in the form of A’s president Dave Kaval deciding to publicly call the Giants out for their — get this — poor attendance. What’s next, calling them out for not spending more money? For trading prospects? For publicly having an affair with Las Vegas?

Not only that, but Kaval got in so deep that he found himself arguing with ... umm ... well ... a seagull.

In the interest of not getting bopped on the head like little bunny Foo Foo by my mother, I feel the need to point out that, while we adore the lovely birds that grace Oracle Park with their presence, they are not actually seagulls. They are gulls.

OK, moving on.

Oh wait, that’s the end of the story. The Giants won 8-2. The Dodgers lost.

The Giants are atop the NL West.

Take that for data.