There were signs on Monday, but it was probably a little too early to tell. But after the Giants — led by Buster Posey and a group of
seven eight relievers who all deserve medals of honor after what they’ve done over the last two games — won 9-6 in 14 innings, it’s getting difficult to ignore. This looks suspiciously like a baseball team that’s having fun again.
I know, I know. Small sample sizes, jinxing, recency bias … there are plenty of reasons to pooh-pooh the idea. (And I figured a recap of this game was as good a place as any to use the phrase “pooh-pooh” for the first time.)
But after Posey hit that game-tying home run off Jonathan Papelbon …
… Madison Bumgarner and Tim Hudson didn’t look like they had any thought of losing this one, although the Giants came awfully close to doing just that in the bottom of the ninth.
Both starters, who seem to get along really well (surprise surprise), yelled up toward the box seats, which had likely been the source of countless taunts throughout the evening. Philadelphia hecklers even brought a few of the same lame signs we’ve seen before, including “HIPPIE TRASH,” which some dopes held up in an attempt to taunt Tim Lincecum during the 2010 NLCS.
Lincecum’s hair isn’t as long as it was back then, but it’s getting there. It was sweaty by the end of perhaps his wackiest outing yet — two outs, both well after midnight local time. He got the first save of his big league career, but the honor should be spread amongst a set of relievers that combined to pitch 15 innings since Ryan Vogelsong left Monday’s contest. The bullpen didn’t allow a single run in Philadelphia until the 14th inning.
That run was charged to George Kontos, who put forth one of the more admirable two-day performances in recent memory. He pitched two innings on Monday, two and 1/3 on Tuesday. If Bochy Brownie Points existed, Kontos would’ve earned an entire tray with what he’s done since getting called back up from Fresno.
Each Giants reliever chipped in on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, but for a while it looked like the Giants’ offense might have been tapped out after Posey’s ninth inning blast. Extra innings kind of meshed into a blur of groundouts, flyouts and missed opportunities, and every 15 minutes or so you’d look up and see it was an inning later than before.
Then Posey flipped a double to right-center with one out in the 14th, his fourth hit of the night. The rally continued after Pablo Sandoval (who took a couple tumbles in the first inning, doing a bit of a faceplant the second time he hit the ground) was walked intentionally. Kontos came to the plate — his fourth career plate appearance — and laid down the second sacrifice bunt of his career. Gregor Blanco worked a full-count walk (not a plate appearance that’ll come to mind immediately when we think of this game years from now, but an important one nonetheless), and up stepped Brandon Crawford.
Crawford, who committed an error in the bottom of the ninth on a routine play, was let off the hook when Jeremy Affeldt retired two straight to get out of that jam without allowing the winning run. That kept the game going, and Crawford made good on his chance to end it. He took a changeup out of the zone before clearing the bases with a double off the left field wall on a fastball from Jeff Manship. Oh, poor Manship. The Giants had
seven eight lions in their bullpen on this evening, while the Phillies were stuck with Manship, who went on to allow an RBI single to Hector Sanchez and infield hits to Tyler Colvin and Hunter Pence before Manship finally got out of the inning on an Ehire Adrianza fly ball to right.
— With the count 2-2 to Blanco in the 14th, there was a shot of a few Giants watching the game from the dugout steps. Michael Morse tried to pour sunflower seeds into his left hand, but he dropped the bag over the rail. He sure looked upset, but maybe this will be the team’s latest good luck charm. In 2012 they threw seeds all over the place and onto each other; maybe Morse can “accidentally” drop a bag onto the field whenever the Giants really need a run. They can call it Rally Littering! Alright, the name can probably use some work.
No, I didn’t photoshop the same Cain face into every picture. He doesn’t care about lost seeds when Blanco’s at the plate with men on second and third … and neither should we, probably.
— Hunter Pence hit a ridiculously long home run to center in this game. He’s having a good year. (GIF via @Gidget)
— I had no idea that the Giants had 18 hits in this game until at least an hour after it ended.
— The Dodgers lost 12-7 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. That game was almost as wild as the one in Philadelphia, if you account for the Pirates throwing at Dodgers hitters and vice versa. The Giants are now a game ahead of Los Angeles in the National League West.
— Papelbon allowed his first home run since Sept. 28, 2013. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t wearing Dodger blue by July 31. He belongs there.
— I just read “The Art of Fielding” a couple weeks ago. I won’t give away the ending, but a central character who normally plays outstanding defense at shortstop loses the ability to make a certain type of play. Crawford isn’t experiencing quite the same difficulties, but it’s a little eerie how he’s been having trouble with so-called routine ones lately. Anyone who’s read the book will understand why I’m bringing this up; sorry for the tangent — I just watched over 500 pitches of baseball and linear thought isn’t one of my strong suits right now.
— I have a feeling that, someway somehow, Yusmeiro Petit will not make his next scheduled start (7/27 vs the Dodgers). I don’t know if the Giants will bend to temptation and trade for Bartolo Colon, but I can’t imagine they’ll go much longer without a true fifth starter, now that Cain can’t pitch through his elbow crankiness.
— Speaking of acquisitions … if you want to read something that’ll make you angry, check out my list of 10 veteran power hitters I can see the Giants signing in the next year or three.
— Blanco has gotten on base in 10 out of 22 plate appearances since the All-Star Break. Posey is 10-for-23 with two walks since the team reconvened in Miami.
— It didn’t lead to anything, but Sandoval had a tremendous 10-pitch at bat that ended with a single in the seventh.
— Anyone who watched the Giants broadcast will always remember Duane Kuiper’s call: “Colvin … Colvin … COLVIN!!!” Domonic Brown almost won it in the 12th for the Phillies, but not quite. Posey barely missed a home run earlier in the day as well, hitting a double off the cyclone fence above the padded outfield wall.
— Every time I hear the name “Cody Asche,” I think about the guy who used to win all the hot dog eating contests until Joey Chestnut showed up. And on that note …
It’s the fourteenth inning. I just ate a plain hot dog bun. All I could find.
— Dave Flemming (@FlemmingDave) July 23, 2014
— Dave Flemming (@FlemmingDave) July 23, 2014
Yeah, it’s definitely time for bed. Hopefully Flemming’s hotel room has a good mini bar, stocked with the standards: Snickers, some sort of granola bar no one eats, trail mix and, of course, Pringles.