When your team is in a bit of a funk, best not to over complicate things. Alex Wood kept things simple and he kept things moving on Wednesday night, throwing 7 innings of 1 run ball against the Colorado Rockies in about the same runtime as Pixar’s “Monster’s Inc.”
69 of Wood’s 101 pitches were strikes. He K’ed 5, walked none, and kept balls on the ground. It was Wood’s longest outing of the season and the pace he maintained over the 7 innings was effectively brisk. He was the dog unraveling its leash to its full length, pushing forward, pulling everyone else along, restrained not by choice but by the overarching structures of the game. If Wood could pitch without having to wait for a ball, he would.
"I was really happy he let me go tonight."— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) June 9, 2022
Alex Wood was pleased that Gabe Kapler let him pitch deep into the game tonight pic.twitter.com/CQSrH2oeAU
The only drag of the game was that Rockies’s starter Antonio Senzatela, who matched Wood’s pace and effectiveness. He went 6 innings, struck 6, walked 1 and allowed 1 run. On paper, he was a pitcher you’d expect the San Francisco Giants (and most Major League teams) to tee off on.
Senzatela throws a 94 MPH 4-seam fastball around 50% of the time. It’s a pitch that hasn’t been great for him this season: the league is hitting it and hitting it hard. But his game isn’t to blow you away, it’s pitching to contact, it’s location—and that’s what Senzatela did. He put on his white coveralls and spent the evening painting the corners of the plate, mixing in his secondary slider and change-up to great effect.
In the 6th, facing the heart of the order for the third time, he struck out Joc Pederson, Darin Ruf and Tommy La Stella.
For the fastball diners, the meal was a tease. Pederson struck out three times against Senzatela, with four total on the night. Wilmer Flores made loud contact but was unable to elevate anything over the head of any outfielders.
It would’ve been nice to have an offensive outburst line-up with such an effective outing from the pitching staff. But that’s not how life works (and who really wants to be spoiled like that anyway?)
The runs were few and far between for either team. The Rockies slapped 3 consecutive, shift-busting singles in the third to take the lead. The Giants answered in the fourth with a two-out RBI of their own: a Thairo Estrada dying fly to left that cashed in Darin Ruf’s one-out double.
San Francisco had another scoring opportunity in the 5th with one-out and runners at the corners. Luis González was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on Wilmer Flores’ line out to Charlie Blackmon in right.
"This is one of our better defensive games in recent memory."— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) June 9, 2022
Kapler was pleased with the Giants' defense in big moments pic.twitter.com/eI05W0I0AG
The pleasant surprise of the night was the Giants defense. They’ve been under a bit of scrutiny as of late—their inability to convert certain ground balls into outs, their outfield range. Wilmer Flores playing third, Darin Ruf at first, Donovan Walton at short—all competent…sure…but this is not the infield Kapler drew up pre-season. I wouldn’t say the speculation was put to rest, but in this game, the leather was working.
Thairo Estrada made a nice backhand play up the middle. Walton showed his range as he kept Brandon Crawford’s seat warm. Ruf spent his evening picking short hops at first.
With Charlie Blackmon on second in the Rockies’ 6th, Yaz laid out in right center to take a hit away from C.J. Cron and keep a run off the board. In the 10th, with another runner in scoring position, Joc Pederson tracked down a Ryan McMahon liner to deep left in support of Camilo Doval.
In the bottom of the inning, Luis González flipped a single into right in front of a charging Charlie Blackmon. After what happened in the 5th, Donovan Walton wasn’t going to push for home, he didn’t get a good jump anyway. But an over-zealous Blackmon—maybe convinced that Walton was going to challenge him—overran the ball and allowed the winning run to score.
GONZALEZ COMES THROUGH AND THE GIANTS (EVENTUALLY) WALK IT OFF pic.twitter.com/ICOVkrZNo3— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) June 9, 2022
As they say in Baseball Economics 101, run prevention is akin to run accumulation and the Giants’ defense stepped up when the bats didn’t.
A win is a win is a win and sometimes 2 runs spread thin over 10 innings is enough to tally a ‘W’.