This game was the best of times, it was the wildest of times, and occasionally, it was the scariest of times. But at the end of it, the San Francisco Giants had their first win of the season, defeating the New York Yankees, 7-5, today in New York.
Things didn’t look so promising early in the game. In the bottom of the first inning, with two runners on, Giancarlo Stanton was given a gift when he hit a comebacker to Giants starting pitcher Alex Cobb, who then threw way over the head of Thairo Estrada and into the outfield, turning what could have been an inning-ending double play into the Yankees’ first run, as Aaron Judge came in to score.
That felt almost as ominous as the storm clouds rolling in later in the game would.
The Giants’ bats were quiet the first few innings and the Yankees got another run from Stanton, who hit a solo homer off of Cobb in the bottom of the third to give them a 2-0 lead.
But things turned around quickly for the Giants in the fourth. Joc Pederson worked the count and turned a 10-pitch at bat into the Giants’ first run of the season, with a golf swing solo home run of his own.
JOC GOES YARD pic.twitter.com/XAApq1TNZ5— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 1, 2023
Mike Yastrzemski followed that up with his first hit of the year, hitting a ball up the first base line that rolled all the way out, allowing Yastrzemski to stretch it into a double. This brought up Brandon Crawford, who the Fox broadcasters made sure to praise as one of the all time great Giants.
Turns out, that’s all you need to do to get Crawford to put on his cape and take control of a game. One a 3-0 count, Crawford had the green light and boy did he use it, sending the next pitch on a ride to the fans sitting in deep right center field, and giving the Giants their first lead of the season.
*ahem* may we have another ☄️ @bcraw35 pic.twitter.com/8TaYLsQMqF— SFGiants (@SFGiants) April 1, 2023
The Yankees fired back in the bottom of the fifth. Jakob Junis had entered in relief of Cobb at the end of the fourth, and he started the fifth inning allowing a double to LeMahieu, followed by a single to Judge. Anthony Rizzo hit a line drive to the right field wall that scored LeMahieu to tie the game.
That tie would last until the sixth inning, when David Villar lead things off with a line drive single to center. Crawford followed that up with a double down the right field line that Stanton couldn’t get to before it rolled to the wall.
Blake Sabol received his second hit-by-pitch of the game (rough day) to load the bases for LaMonte Wade, Jr.. Wade’s motto must have been “whatever it takes” because he hit a soft ground ball towards the third base line, just feet out in front of the plate, that worked, somehow. The Yankees couldn’t make a play and Villar scored, allowing the Giants to re-take the lead.
Sure, that works pic.twitter.com/PJzetjR2ss— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 1, 2023
With two outs, Thairo Estrada hit a line drive to Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe who attempted a diving catch, but it rolled out of his glove and he wasn’t able to make a play. This allowed Crawford to score and give the Giants a two-run lead.
Taylor Rodgers entered to pitch in the bottom of the eighth, getting Stanton to ground out, before allowing a solo shot to Josh Donaldson to cut the Giants’ lead in half.
That was fine, though, because the Giants added on in the top of the ninth, and they would ultimately need it.
With one out, Pederson singled to right, which was followed by possibly the two funniest things in this game. Yastrzemski doubled on a sharp line drive to the gap in right center field, where it would roll to the wall, allowing Pederson to score from first base. I hope they got him an oxygen tank.
.@mikeyaz18 gets in on the fun pic.twitter.com/ivZ7lHMD67— SFGiants (@SFGiants) April 1, 2023
This was followed by Crawford’s third hit of the day, a single over the head of Donaldson at third and up the left field line, allowing Yastrzemski to score from second to give the Giants a 7-4 lead.
And then the second funniest thing happened. Jimmy Cordero entered to replace Yankees’ closer Clay Homes, and Crawford immediately stole second. Crawford only stole one base in 2022. He is 36 years old, but today, you wouldn’t know it. We truly love to see it.
What we don’t necessarily love to see is what unfolded in the bottom of the ninth, although we’re all well accustomed to torture at this point.
Giants closer Camilo Doval entered and was immediately at a disadvantage due to the new rules causing him to get a pitch clock violation, though he was able to strike out Aaron Hicks nonetheless.
And that’s when things got a little scary. Volpe singled to center where Bryce Johnson had entered in replacement of Sabol in the eighth inning. This was followed by a walk to LeMahieu and then a single to Judge, knocking in Volpe and cutting away at the Giants’ lead.
If you felt a little bit of panic when Doval walked Rizzo to load the bases for Stanton with only one out, well, I’m right there with you. But everything was fine. Everything was just fine. Stanton grounded into a double play to end the game (after a failed challenge by the Yankees of the play at first), giving the Giants not only their first win of the season, but an exciting one at that.