The Padres kept collecting hits and striking out in this game, but their method worked. It took 13 innings and over four and a half hours, but they won 5-3. The Padres ended up with 18 hits, but if it weren’t for Will Venable making a catch so fantastic it looked like an optical illusion, the San Francisco Giants would’ve had yet another walk-off win.
Venable isn’t allowed to go by the name Willie after his superhuman catch in center, but he earned the polite applause he received from Giants fans as he returned to the dugout. Brandon Belt was on second base with two outs in the 12th inning. Juan Perez hit a drive that soared through the fog and past a flock of impatient seagulls. Venable broke perfectly on the ball, sprinted toward the 399 sign, leaped and made a play that made a Padres win seem inevitable.
Thanks to four singles in the 13th (including a bunt for a base hit) allowed by Jose Mijares, and a walk with the bases loaded off Jake Dunning, the Giants were down two headed into the bottom of the 13th. But before the Padres were retired in the top of that inning, a ball was hit down the line that landed foul but was called fair. It was a fly ball down the right field line that may have hit Hunter Pence as he slid to make the catch, but it looked foul to Bruce Bochy. Bochy came out and argued a bit before removing Mijares in favor of Dunning.
The weird part about the pitching change was that Bochy made a double-switch, lifting Belt in favor of Buster Posey. Except it sure seemed odd that Posey (who wasn’t used as a pinch hitter in 12th with Belt on second and one out, probably because with an open base it would’ve been a wasted move) was placed in Belt’s spot in the order (seventh), which meant he’d hit eighth in the bottom of the 13th if the game went that far. It didn’t, and it probably didn’t matter that Posey was slotted where he was, but I asked Bochy about it after the game anyway. Bochy was very candid:
“I messed up the double-switch. I got distracted. I was upset, I was out there arguing, I brain-cramped on that,” Bochy said. “Once I said it wrong, I was done. I knew that. It’s a first. I probably should’ve stepped back and thought a little bit. I was looking for the right spot.
“A couple times I was going to double-switch and put him in the game at first base if we had to, but the pitcher got out of it. Just wasn’t a real good spot there where they had to pitch to him. He needed a day, but he was available to come off the bench. Like I said, I just brain-cramped on that,” Bochy said.
“Shouldn’t happen, but it did. It didn’t really change the game any, but still, we’re hoping to have him in the right spot. If it was a one-run game, he would’ve led off,” said the Giants manager, referring to the double switch he should’ve made.
If Dunning’s spot (fifth) came up in the bottom of the 13th, Bochy said Marco Scutaro would’ve hit and Chad Gaudin would’ve replaced Dunning on the mound.
Bochy’s “brain cramp” was an interesting footnote, but it had nothing to do with the Giants losing this game. He took full responsibility for putting Posey in the wrong spot in the order, plus there’s a pretty good reason why Bochy did what he did: the Giants played a 13-inning game Monday night after arriving in San Francisco early the same morning. Bochy mentioned how getting upset with the call made by first base umpire Manny Gonzalez led to his tactical error, and that makes sense. When you’re exhausted and something makes you angry, mistakes get made.
It’s definitely something I’m not immune to. In fact, I’m pretty tired right now and will probably make a few typos and other assorted mistakes on this post. And I haven’t been on a plane in months.
Just a coincidence …
Barry Zito had eight strikeouts (Giants pitchers struck out 16 overall). It was the first time Zito had struck out that many in a game since August 6, 2010, when he reached the 10-strikeout plateau in a hot night in Atlanta. Okay, I don’t know if it was actually hot, but it would seem safe to assume …
(Checks Baseball Reference — that game actually started at 9:20 pm, with a recorded temperature of 75 degrees. Not safe to assume, turns out.)
At this point, the only reason to bring Barry Zito on road trips is because the rest of the team seems to like him. Also, if he only started games at AT&T Park there’d be no way to get those bad starts out of his system, so he’d start pitching poorly at home half the time. If the first two sentences of this paragraph sound muddled and illogical, it’s because Zito’s home/road splits are beyond explanation.
Yeah, the park here is bigger and Zito is comfortable with the mound and the view behind home plate. But Zito was an effective strikeout pitcher on Monday night, and now his home/road splits currently look like this:
- Home: Hooray!
- Road: Booooo!
Sorry, it’s 12:30 am. No more stats until tomorrow.
Juan Perez, the would-be hero
Perez almost went 3-for-5 and would’ve taken some shots to the ribs from his teammates had Venable not gone into Superman mode, but he made a pretty spectacular defensive play of his own in the 9th:
One last thing: Huston Street might want to think about wearing pants that are a size or two bigger. He isn’t in college anymore.