The Giants walked off their 2015 interleague debut with what turned out to be an awesome pitcher’s duel/really weird late inning pie fight with the Angels on Friday night.
Both Chris Heston and C.J. Wilson were fantastic for most of the game, and had it not been for a Nori Aoki double to lead off the bottom of the first, along with some nifty run manufacturing, this game would have been all knotted up at goose eggs come the seventh inning.
The early innings were peppered with beautiful scenes, including Heston striking out Mike Trout, and coolest name in baseball candidate Kole Calhoun completing a nuts diving catch on a bloop from Andrew Susac into shallow right-center.
But the seventh was, of course, where things began to get wonky. Calhoun, who made his presence known Friday night, got on with a base knock, and although Heston induced the double play grounder from David Freese on the very next at bat, McGehee dropped it. More on that play later.
It unraveled for Heston from there, who had held on, very Matt Cainily, to a 1-0 lead until Matt Joyce tied it up with a seeing eye grounder. That ended Heston’s night, and put the onus on a run of Jean Machi, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla to finish it off.
It was a see-saw from there. The Giants retook the lead compliments of Andrew Susac, but things got weird again after Duffy committed an error at second and Romo gave up the single, which Erick Aybar reached third on after a strong throw from Pagan skittered past Casey McGehee. Then David Freese knocks in Aybar with a sacrifice, and we’re aaaaallll tied up again.
*Takes deep breath*
It was a relatively stress free top of the ninth for Casilla, who only had to contend with Efren Navarro after the pinch hitter rolled an infield single, and it didn’t take more than a fly ball to left to smother the threat.
*BUT* there was a way more interesting infield single in the bottom of the ninth from Buster Posey, who departed after accomplishing that momentous feat to make way for pinch runner extraordinaire Gregor Blanco. Justin Maxwell dropped a sac bunt, advancing Blanco to second, and then Joe Smith nailed the home plate umpire with a wild pitch that put runners on the corners for Brandon Belt.
Belt struck out, which Bruce Bochy said, “So, what?” to before sending in Panik to pinch hit again.
And, *crack* — the Giants walk off.
Some notes, and a goodbye
— The replay official in New York must have forgotten his glasses tonight. It took him far too long to call Angel Pagan out on a close play of second that, in slow motion, wasn’t all that close. Then they go back to him again on a close play with Calhoun, who gets called out even though he was clearly safe. Baseball. An imperfect sport.
— Heston finished off his night with 6.1 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 ER, 1 walk, 5 ks. 61 of his 97 pitches were strikes. He’s got command, he’s calm, he’s … really damn good. It’s scary to think where the Giants would be if Heston hadn’t come in and basically been exactly what they hoped Matt Cain would be this year.
— The same cannot be said for Casey McGehee tonight, who at least lifted a ball to the outfield. His defense has been atrocious, he’s an automatic out at the plate … he’s all kinds of flustered right now, and a DL stint should be in his very near future.
I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet, and sorry to get sappy. I reached out to BASG over three years ago and asked if he needed someone to cover the Sharks. Confession time: I loved the Sharks, but I didn’t really want to write about hockey all that much. I just wanted to get my foot in the door of sports writing, and hopefully end up covering the Giants and the 49ers.
After spending several months writing about all of these teams from home, I got my first shot to cover a sporting event in a press box: It was a Giants-Braves game, and Barry Zito was pitching. I remember he pitched a gem, and I was all full of piss and vinegar because I had called some sort of Zito/Alex Smith-like redemption at the beginning of the season.
(That was 2012…)
From there, I got to fulfill several life-long dreams of mine. I covered Stanford games, Cal games, Sharks games, 49ers practices and finally, 49ers games in the Candlestick Park press box. Trust me, that press box was as shabby as it gets, but walking within it was an accomplishment I had been waiting on since my elementary school days.
I got into this stuff because I was a fan first, and I love to write. What I found out was that it isn’t completely for me. I’ve struggled with the fact that, often times, the objectivity of sports journalism makes it impossible to be a fan. You overthink the game, because you have to, and soon it becomes one of two things: way too important, or just a stupid, meaningless game.
So after a couple hiatuses and some stints back in the saddle, I’m hanging up my reporter hat to pursue other career directions. This is all after having written several hundred stories, sixty-some-odd thousand tweets, covering dozens of games and meeting some really freakin’ awesome people.
I want to say thanks to everybody who read us, supported this site, and stuck with me through my growth as a writer – I hope you guys will all still follow me on Twitter, because I’ll still be jawing on there.
Thanks to all of the awesome BASG writers and contributors who made an awesome team to work with.
And of course, thank you to Steve for giving me, some rando from Twitter, a chance to write on his site, which has become such an awesome entity in Bay Area sports media. I’m proud to have been a part of its growth.
So I lied about keeping it short, and this may not be goodbye — I may still contribute guest posts, and there could be a future in journalism for me somewhere down the line — but for now, that Joe Panik walk off RBI single seems like a good place to put the pen down.
Because the next time the Giants walk a team off, I’d like to be in the stands with the rest of you.