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Giants gifted a balked-in run, beat Brewers 2-1

In what was easily Alex Cobb’s best start of the season, it was the home plate umpire that was the star of the show, gifting the Giants the winning run on a bases-loaded balk.

Photo by Michael Urakami/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants beat the Milwaukee Brewers tonight 2-1.

It was easily Alex Cobb’s best start of the season, in which he allowed only an unearned run on four hits with five strikeouts and no walks in seven and a third innings, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd when he exited in the eighth.

It was a pitchers’ duel all around, with the first run from either team not arriving until the sixth inning. Brewers’ starter Eric Lauer allowed one run on two hits, with four strikeouts and three walks in seven innings.

Unfortunately for Lauer, though, one of the Giants’ two hits was a home run from Darin Ruf in the bottom of the sixth.

One of the things that I love as someone who writes about baseball games is how every game has a narrative, and you don’t know what it’s going to be until it gets there, and sometimes it feeds into a larger narrative in the series or even season.

Last night, with the Giants down in the ninth, Mike Yastrzemski came up to bat and hit the Giants’ first walk-off grand slam in nearly fifty years. Some nights you’re the hero. And then the next night you’re in the right place at the wrong time and you get slapped with an error that ultimately allows the tying run to score.

That’s basically what happened to Yastrzemski in the eighth inning of tonight’s game. Hunter Renfroe hit a fly ball that Austin Slater misplayed, and Yastrzemski was there to back him up and play the carom. But the ball fell out of his glove, allowing Renfroe to get to third base on what should have been a double, after which he was knocked in on a sac fly to tie the game.

In the bottom of the inning, though, the Giants threatened and it looked like something was brewing. Slater and Wilmer Flores both singled, and with Slater’s speed, he was a real threat to score on a base hit. Unfortunately Ruf grounded into a force out that turned Flores into the lead runner (with just a bit less speed). Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Remember that narrative, though. Because one day after being the big hero Friday night, up came Yastrzemski once again with bases loaded. The crowd was playoff loud, you could probably hear them from Sausalito. They remembered last night’s game and they were hoping to see a little bit of that magic themselves.

What they got instead was a balk call from home plate umpire Pat Hoberg against Brewers reliever Jandel Gustave. Which was, well, questionable in my opinion. But it gave the Giants the lead nonetheless.

During his post-game interview, Darin Ruf told the KNBR broadcasters that he believed that the amped up noise of the crowd during Yastrzemski’s at bat deserves the credit for the balk call, saying that he believed it caused Gustave to not be able to hear his pitch com, which caused him to flinch, which was then interpreted as a balk.

Generous take on it, but I’ll go with it.

With that, the Giants have taken a series lead and have won six of their last eight games.