There are two ways to look at the San Francisco Giants 3-2, extra-innings loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night. The cynic’s viewpoint is that the Giants had numerous opportunities to win the game, and failed to take advantage of any of them. The flowery viewpoint is that it’s a testament to the Giants that they were even in such a position at all, given that it clearly was not their game to win.
At the risk of “both sidesing” a baseball game, you’re right either way you look at it.
The Giants did, indeed, botch their opportunities.
In the 10th inning they failed to score the Manfred Man, even though it was the speedy Mike Yastrzemski. And even though Yastrzemski, after watching Brandon Crawford fail to move him to third, took the initiative to steal third while there was still just one out.
They left the bases loaded in the eighth inning, despite sending last year’s pinch-hit extraordinaire, Darin Ruf, to the plate against a left-handed pitcher.
They hit just 1-9 with runners in scoring position.
But the Giants also had no right being in that position in the first place.
They had just four hits on the day, despite allowing 13.
Their Cy Young candidate (Carlos Rodón) lasted just five innings, while Milwaukee’s (Corbin Burnes) lasted 7.1 innings — and gave up three fewer baserunners.
Their defense made things harder on Rodón than it needed to be, even if they avoided the meaningless and arbitrary classification of “errors.”
They (who is “they,” anyway?) say that it’s the mark of a good team when you can play poorly and still win. Which I guess makes it the moral victory for a good team when they can play poorly and almost win.
And they did it with admirable moments.
In the second inning, Rodón loaded the bases with nary an out. He then struck out the next three batters, keeping the Brewers off the board.
In the third inning, the Giants manufactured (with ample Milwaukee hospitality) a run, all while being no-hit by the reigning Cy Young winner. Yastrzemski took first on a leadoff walk. He took second on a stolen base. He took third on a wild pitch. And he took fourth on a passed ball.
They led 1-0. They had no hits. That changed a minute later when Joc Pederson singled home Joey Bart to extend the lead to 2-0.
In the fifth inning, Yastrzemski (you may be sensing a theme, which is that Yaz tried really hard to not let the Giants lose) did the remarkable:
And in the tenth inning, Camilo Doval — pitching his second straight inning — made hitters look foolish, while Thairo Estrada made a remarkable barehanded play, and Austin Wynns kept a few run-scoring wild pitches in front of him, through what I can only imagine was magic and the harnessing of Matilda’s skills.
Yet despite those things, Jonathan Davis still managed to hit a ball 66.8 mph straight into the ground (the ball traveled one foot before hitting earth!), rolling it along the grass with precision and accuracy you won’t find even if you’re spending this week watching The Open, until it nestled home somewhere between third base and the pitchers’ mound, scoring the go-ahead run in the process.
That was all the Brewers needed.
The Giants got quite unlucky. And unluckiness, combined with an inability to do anything, is a helluva drink.
Not a good drink though. Don’t order it. Stick with whiskey.