I’m going to go ahead and assume that really happened, because my dreams never last that long. The San Francisco Giants, who fell behind 8-2 at what we thought was the midway point of this game, tied the game at 9-9, fell behind 10-9, and eventually won 11-10 in the 13th inning. The comebacks were probably the most normal thing about this game, one us TV watchers and the 768 fans who saw it in person will remember forever.
It was like a never-ending avalanche of weird. Andrew McCutchen paced behind a duck couple in center field with his hands on his hips. The Giants kept collecting base hits with runners in scoring position, and had 20 hits in all. Hector Sanchez had four of them to lead the team. Bruce Bochy used two pinch runners in the ninth, and both were out within two minutes of checking into the game.
However, there’s a special weird wing we need to build for Jean Machi, the man who was credited for his fifth win after one of the wackier two-inning appearances in franchise history.
McCutchen greeted Machi with a single to lead off the 11th, the reigning NL MVP’s fourth hit of the game (he finished a homer shy of a cycle). After striking out Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte hit a comebacker. Machi wheeled around, hurled the ball toward second base and plunked umpire Gerry Davis in the arm. Davis barely even flinched, which was admirable, but the Giants were screwed because a potential double play became runners at first and second with one out.
Two pitches later, Ike Davis hit a sharp grounder up the middle … but the Giants’ defensive shift had Brandon Crawford in the perfect spot and he completed a 6-3 double play.
The Giants seemed like they were sure to lose on several occasions on Monday night/Tuesday morning in Pittsburgh. The Pirates’ 8-2 lead after Yusmeiro Petit threw 4 1/3 innings of batting practice and Jake Dunning threw 14 wild pitches in the fifth inning was one of those times. There were a few others, including the 12th when Joaquin Arias hit a first-pitch groundout with men on first and second and two outs.
Machi came out for the bottom of the 12th, and his adventures in the field continued. He didn’t hit another umpire, but he deflected balls all over the infield. Somehow he got out of that jam when ex-Giant Chris Stewart grounded into a double play. Then things got even more Machified.
Hunter Pence walked, and Pirates reliever Jared Hughes hit Juan Perez with a sinker. Machi had to hit for himself because the bench was a distant memory, and he dropped the prettiest bunt since Barry Zito’s on Oct. 19, 2012. And he ran! Oh, did Machi run. It took him several steps to realize he could part ways with his bat, but his speed probably surprised Hughes, whose low throw got by Davis at first base. That allowed Pence to come around from second and score the go-ahead run. The Giants dugout was ecstatic, laughing, clapping and spanking each other with vigor.
But the game wasn’t over yet, not even close. Sergio Romo threw an inside fastball to Neil Walker on 0-2, and Walker (who’d fit in well with the L.A. Clippers) stuck his hip into the pitch to earn a trip to first base. McCutchen really wanted to end the game with a home run, but his fly ball was caught in medium-deep center by Angel Pagan. Pedro Alvarez grounded into a 4-6-3 double play three pitches later, the third straight inning-ending double play for the Pirates and a shockingly quick ending to a game that lasted five hours and 29 minutes.
— Jean Manuel Machi is 5-0. And just think — he used to be known as the guy who farted in the bullpen. Okay, maybe that’s how he’s still known by most, but that’ll change if he becomes the Giants’ first 20-game winner since Bill Swift and John Burkett back in 1993!
— The Giants have won six in a row, matching their longest win streak in 2013. Their 21-11 record is second in the majors behind the Brewers (22-11).
— Anyone who didn’t get a foul ball in this game had to leave feeling pretty salty. One guy (total bro) got one, and did a little jig that looked straight out of Jersey Shore. Then Paulie D ran over and handed the ball to a little girl, going from douche to hero in a three-second span.
— The Giants scored 11 runs, but their streak of consecutive games with a homer ended at 11 games.
— Pablo Sandoval went 1-for-4 to raise his average to .173.
— On the other end, Buster Posey went 3-for-4. His slash line is currently .292/.380/.509 … that’s up from .219/.313/.397 on April 25. I’m feeling slightly better about my 2014 NL MVP prediction now than I did a week and a half ago.
— Santiago Casilla was great, but he supplied one of those “welp, they’re going to lose” moments in the 10th inning when he wild-pitched Chris Stewart to second and Sanchez passed-balled him to third, but Casilla saved his and the Giants’ night with a 95-mph fastball. Walker swung and missed at the 3-2 pitch, the 14th of the at-bat. It was the first pitch from Casilla that Walker missed after fouling off 10 others.
— I wonder how many fantasy baseball players in traditional leagues that use pitchers’ wins as a category have either already picked up Machi or will do so tomorrow.
— Machi even stole a base! Alright, it was defensive indifference and it took the bat out of Brandon Belt’s hands, but who cares. ¡Viva Machi!