With the team in somewhat of a free fall lately, they needed someone to step up and today that someone was Carlos Rodón, who channeled the spirit of Tim Lincecum with his dominant complete game performance.
Rodón threw 112 pitches over nine innings, allowing just one run on three hits, with 12 strikeouts and two walks to lead the Giants to a much-needed victory. It was his fourth double-digit strikeout game of the season, with three of those coming in a hat trick against Manny Machado, who was 0-for-4 on the day. After the second inning, Rodón would go on to retire 21 Padres batters in order before allowing a walk in the ninth inning.
The second inning is where both teams did early damage, before it turned into an exceptional pitcher’s duel. Brandon Belt walked to lead off the inning, before Luis González walked. David Villar singled to load the bases for Brandon Crawford who hit a sacrifice fly to score Belt.
In the bottom of the inning, Jorge Alfaro singled to lead off before Austin Nola singled as well. After striking out Brent Rooker, Rodón allowed another single to Trent Grisham before Jose Azocar reached on a fielder’s choice/fielding error by Belt, allowing Alfaro to score to tie the game.
After that, it was a battle of attrition with both Rodón and Padres starter Yu Darvish throwing extremely well. Darvish would allow just one run on three hits with six strikeouts and two walks in seven innings, but at 101 pitches after the seventh, he was removed and the Giants would go on to win said battle.
After being hitless on the road trip, All Star starter Joc Pederson walked with one out in the eighth to set the stage for Flores’ to hit a low liner to left field, just over the head of Rooker at the wall to give the Giants a two-run lead.
Which fired up Rodón, who hadn’t had a base runner since the second inning and was determined to finish this game.
He did indeed take the mound for the ninth inning, striking out Jake Cronenworth and getting Machado to ground out before walking Luke Voit on four pitches. Andrew Bailey made a call to check on the readiness of the bullpen, but it was ultimately unnecessary. With the multitude of Giants fans in attendance at Petco Park on their feet, Rodón threw three straight 98-99 mph fastballs to Alfaro to strike him out and end a complete game victory that Giants fans, and the players themselves, so desperately needed.
Some slight bad news, Brandon Belt left the game in the eighth inning after sprinting out an infield single. It sounds like more of the same tenderness in his knee that he’s been dealing with, but there’s no swelling, so he’s not likely to be missing much time, if any.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks.