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Giants do the sensible thing and finally win a damn game

You didn’t think they would, though.

Giants outfielders celebrating after winning Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

This is the story of how the San Francisco Giants won a baseball game, even though you were convinced the entire time that they wouldn’t.

The entire time.

Don’t try to tell me you weren’t. It’s revisionist history. I call shenanigans.

There was no point at which you thought the Giants would beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, and even when they did win you looked around like Tim Lincecum after recording the 27th out of his first no-hitter, not yet realizing what exactly had happened.

You certainly didn’t think they’d win in the bottom of the first inning, when Alex Cobb started the game by striking out two batters, then allowed a two-out, 0-2 double to Ketel Marte, which prompted Hunter Pence to deliver this gem of a line: “Pitching through a little traffic can be good for the soul. Just a little traffic.”

It’s obvious, with the benefit of hindsight and this lede, that there was more than just a little traffic. There was a walk and a single, and suddenly the blissful inning was a 1-0 deficit.

You certainly didn’t think they’d win in the second inning, when perpetually snake-bit Cobb was helped out by the absolute worst kind of defense, which is fitting for the Giants right now: the kind that bungles plays enough to make you pull out your hair while runs score, but not quite enough to be scored as an error that will keep the ERA on the downturn.

The D-Backs had four hits in the inning, but the back-breakers were a single by Jose Herrera that had a .240 expected batting average, followed by a Josh Rojas double that had a .180 expected batting average. It’s a 4.3% chance that both of those would be hits at all, let alone one for extra bases but that, my friends, is the type of season that Cobb is having, and the type of own goals the Giants defense is scoring.

It was 4-0 Diamondbacks, and you didn’t think the Giants would win, even though Jon Miller made you smile (as he so often does), when he said, “Painting word pictures artistically,” which is one helluva phrase. Wish I could say things like that.

You didn’t think the Giants would win in the fifth inning, even as the team rallied behind a Brandon Crawford double and a Tommy La Stella walk. You even didn’t think they’d win when Joey Bart, a few hours after returning to the roster, hit a 3-run home run.

And your belief that they wouldn’t win was validated when the umpires reconsidered the home run, determined that a fan had interfered, wiped two runs off the board, and gave Bart a double.

LaMonte Wade Jr. would hit into a run-scoring fielder’s choice to make it 4-2, but you still didn’t think they would win.

You didn’t think they’d win in the sixth inning, when they went down 1-2-3 on 10 pitches, or in the seventh inning, when they did the same on two fewer pitches.

You didn’t think they’d win in the eighth inning, when the Diamondbacks turned to Joe Mantiply, who’d allowed just one walk, one home run, and four runs in 32 innings.

You didn’t think they’d win when Austin Slater led off the inning with a bunt single. And you would have been right if we were playing in a more antiquated era of baseball, because Slater was initially called out despite beating the throw by a few feet.

And you didn’t think they’d win when Darin Ruf stepped in as a pinch hitter, and you pined for the simpler days of 2021, when Ruf had 16 home runs in 312 plate appearances (versus six in 259 this year), and the Giants had nearly twice as many pinch-hit homers as any other team, with 18 of them (compared to all of zero this season).

And then Ruf tied the game on one swing, and even though you still didn’t think the Giants would win, you at least enjoyed the heck out of it.

You didn’t think they’d win in the ninth inning, even when they put two on with no outs, thanks to Mike Yastrzemski getting doinked and Wilmer Flores hitting a single. And you really didn’t think they’d win when Crawford hit a routine ground ball, even though he put his head down, downshifted, and beat it out.

And after La Stella walked to load the bases, and Slater came through in a huge way with a two-run double, you briefly entertained the idea that the Giants could shock the world and win a baseball game, before remembering the grim reality that no, they wouldn’t.

You probably didn’t even notice when Austin Wynns hit a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 7-4.

You didn’t think the Giants would win when Camilo Doval, who had a fairly epic walk issue at every level before it magically dissipated at the Majors, started the ninth with a five-pitch walk. You would think retiring the next two batters would have instilled confidence in you, and perhaps it briefly did, but that confidence was ripped from your soul by the firm clutches of another five-pitch walk.

A Marte single put the walk-off run at the plate, and you’d seen this story before. You knew it. You didn’t need to see it again. But you stayed to watch it painfully unfold, because you’re a sports fan and that’s what we do.

You saw Doval engage in a 10-pitch battle with Christian Walker, which rose his pitch count to 37 in the inning. It finally culminated in another walk, and you sure as shoot didn’t think the Giants would win then.

You didn’t think they’d win when Gabe Kapler slowly walked to the mound, doing his best impression of a funeral march. You wondered who he’d bring in. Maybe the ground ball specialist, Tyler Rogers. Maybe the old closer, Jake McGee.

You didn’t think the Giants would win when Kapler called on Sam Long.

Yes, Sam Long. Sammy Long. S. Long. Whatever you wanna call him.

The starter/long reliever/opener, who hadn’t closed a game since playing in A-ball five years ago.

With the bases loaded. And the tying run at second. And the walk off run at first.

You didn’t think they would win when he lobbed a first-pitch change up into the zone for strike one.

You didn’t think they would win when he went right back with the same pitch for pitch two and it was fouled off.

And you didn’t think they would win when he threw an 0-2 curveball with more movement than me trying to walk up my spiral staircase after my fifth beer of the evening.

But Jordan Luplow swung through it for strike three.

And that was it. They won 7-5. It was their first win since June 28.

They won.

Shows you what you know.