Hernández had entered the day with 14 home runs allowed.
To put that in context, Giants starters Carlos Rodón, Logan Webb, and Alex Wood have allowed 13 home runs.
And each of them have faced significantly more batters than Hernández had.
So you would expect that the Giants, a team that prides themselves on their charming charisma, dashing good looks, and ability to hit baseballs over the fence, would feast.
But the Marlins expected this too. And so they called an audible. Rather than letting Hernández pitch the first inning — where he’s been especially dinger-prone — they went with a left-handed opener to both circumvent that issue and force Gabe Kapler’s lineup hand.
At first it didn’t work out, as the Giants used a small-ball rally to eke out a run against Richard Bleier.
But then it really didn’t work out. Because the Marlins turned things over to Hernández in the second inning, and it turns out that pitchers who give up home runs to 7.2% of the batters they face aren’t magically cured by avoiding the first inning.
And so, in Hernández’s first inning of work, with a rally already well under way, Mike Yastrzemski did the very predictable: he hit a home run.
And, in Hernández’s second inning of work, the even more predictable happened: Joc Pederson, one of baseball’s top home run hitters, faced Elieser Hernández, one of baseball’s top home run allowers, with a handedness advantage, and ... well, yeah. I don’t really need to explain it. You know where this is going.
Now watch and enjoy.
The Giants let Hernández have his third inning, because why not. The lead was big, the batteries needed recharging, and they didn’t want to be too rude.
But in Hernández’s fourth inning, they again did the predictable: hit a home run (you’re understanding that’s always the predictable thing, right?). This time it was Thairo Estrada.
Three’s company, but four’s more, so in Hernández’s fifth inning, Jason Vosler decided to step outside, pick a lime off the tree in the front yard, bring it in, roll it on the counter for a while to get the juices flowing, cut off a big chunk of it, and pour it in Hernández’s wound.
Jason Vosler Jason Voorhees— SFGiants (@SFGiants) June 4, 2022
Nightmares near bodies of water pic.twitter.com/4D4LTMXwL1
At long last, Hernández was mercifully relieved of his duties as Home Run Derby pitcher. And, exactly one inning later, Brandon Crawford, apparently unaware that there was a new pitcher in the game, did that cool thing where you hit a home run when there are runners at first, second, and third base.
I think there might be a name for that, but I’m blanking on it. It’s Friday. It’s been a long day. It’s been a long week.
Crawford’s slam marked the 50th time since the franchise moved to San Francisco that they had hit five home runs in a game.
It was just the eighth time in the last decade that they’ve done it.
Since you’re all bored on this Friday night, and since I know you love your Giants history, let’s revisit the other seven times. I know we all love remembering some former Giants.
- July 21, 2021, in an 8-6 win over the Houston Astros: Mike Yastrzemski, Darin Ruf, Wilmer Flores, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Donovan Solano.
- June 16, 2021, in a 13-7 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks: Wilmer Flores, LaMonte Wade Jr., Brandon Belt, Steven Duggar, and Buster Posey (❤️ ).
- April 20, 2021, in a 10-7 win over the Philadelphia Phillies: Wilmer Flores, Tommy La Stella, Alex Dickerson, Buster Posey (❤️ ), and Buster Posey again (❤️ ❤️ )
- August 16, 2019, in a 10-9 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks: Brandon Belt, Kevin Pillar, Kevin Pillar again, Mike Yastrzemski, Mike Yastrzemski again, and Mike Yastrzemski a third time.
- July 12, 2019, in a 10-7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey (❤️), Austin Slater, Evan Longoria, and Tyler Austin.
- April 23, 2014, in a 12-10 win over the Colorado Rockies: Brandon Hicks, Michael Morse, Michael Morse again, Hector Sanchez, and Héctor Sánchez again.
- September 4, 2015, in a 13-5 win over the San Diego Padres: Brandon Crawford, Héctor Sánchez, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, Pablo Sandoval again, and Pablo Sandoval a third time.
Well, that was fun.
But the fun was just getting started. Sure, the Giants wouldn’t hit any more homers, and yeah, they wouldn’t even score any more runs. But with the blowout win secured, it was time for position players to pitch.
And it was time for a legendary position-player-turned-pitcher experience: Willians Astudillo.
Astudillo, who is built and moves like an All-Pro offensive tackle, threw 15 pitches. According to ESPN’s play-by-play data, 11 of them were eephus pitches.
The eephuses .... eephi? eephum? ... dipped to 37 mph, and topped out at 46. In between he sprinkled a few fastballs that questioned the first half of the compound word.
But the Giants had an answer of their own. Despite their go-to position player pitcher, Luis González, leaving the game after getting hit by a pitch, they still dipped into the well and let Donovan Walton try things out.
In many ways, Walton one-upped Astudillo. His eephus dipped all the way down to 33 mph, which truthfully challenged my understanding of physics. And while Astudillo’s fastballs all sat in the 70s, Walton managed one all the way down at 59 mph. Heh.
He also got tagged for three runs, but who cares when position players are soft-tossing pitches in big league games?
The Giants won 15-6. It was fun. We had a good time.