Long seasons, short memories. Giants fans should know as well as anybody that deficits — whether in games or series — can be overcome during the postseason. Yet lessons are easily forgotten when the team isn’t hitting and the Royals are scoring runs using what are supposed to be the Giants’ preferred methods.
But there’s a hero around every corner. Yusmeiro Petit isn’t exactly this team’s Barry Zito — Petit comes at a fraction of the cost and is in the midst of a better five-month stretch than Zito ever enjoyed in San Francisco. But Petit, like Zito in 2012, rescued the Giants when less hardy fans were ready to jump ship.
Petit gave up two hits over three scoreless innings, and the career .049 hitter even blooped a single of his own. Another Petit display was almost as rare — he screamed and waved his arms as he stomped off the field after the top of the sixth inning, a journeyman pitcher now secure in his belongings and coming through on the grandest stage.
The Giants also needed some offense to avoid going down three games to one, and they got 15 hits other than Petit’s. And that’s how a 4-1 deficit became an 11-4, series-tying win.
Ryan Vogelsong’s last start for the Giants(?)
Vogelsong looked great early, and got hosed in the third. Well, the beginning of that rally was pure hosery with the infield hits and Brandon Belt not coverting a double-play that he usually turns in his sleep. Then Vogelsong lost sight of first base, then he lost his way on the mound, then he lost his chance to put one final stamp on his Giants career. And it’s sad, because Vogelsong wanted so badly to dominate on Saturday night to make up for his NLCS start, when Petit had to come in and hold down the fort while the Giants came back. (Sound familiar?)
But hey, the Giants are 7-0 in Vogelsong’s postseason starts.
Rally Enchiladas/Spaghetti/SuperDuperBurgers for everyone!
Bruce Bochy probably knows more about this stuff than we do
I was more than fine with keeping Madison Bumgarner on schedule. The Giants have been abnormally good at keeping their starting pitchers’ arms intact over the years, Bumgarner has pitched over 250 innings this year since Spring Training, and the Giants just don’t put guys out there on short rest. And I was fine with starting Vogelsong, as long as Petit’s arm was covered with an electric blanket cranked up full blast so he’d be warm enough to come in on a moment’s notice.
But I wondered aloud why Bochy even thought about bringing in Jean Machi in the third. I know Bochy prefers to bring in Petit for a “clean inning,” and the pitcher’s spot was set to lead off in the bottom of the inning, but Machi has been awful for a while now and at that point it appeared that the Giants couldn’t afford to give up any more runs.
So what happens? Machi walks Jarrod Dyson and got a gift called third strike after running the count full to Jason Vargas. (After Vargas ran to first on ball three, stopped in his tracks after a few steps, then sheepishly walked back to the plate and asked home plate umpire Ted Barrett, “Has anyone ever done that before?”)
So Matt Duffy comes in and pinch hits for Machi, and of course he drills a single to left and scores later on a two-out single from Buster Posey.
Welcome back, offense
Petit kept the Royals from changing the tone of the game, and Jeremy Affeldt’s effort was huge in the seventh inning after the Giants took a 7-4 lead. In particular, Affeldt not tearing his groin to shreds when he slipped and fell trying to field Eric Hosmer’s squibber was a true miracle. #blessed
But for the first time since Game 1, the Giants finally took advantage of a Royals pitching staff that is very mediocre other than the “HDH” crew at that back end of their bullpen. The Giants’ top six hitters got on base 16 out of a possible 30 times (11-for-25 with five walks and a gorgeous sacrifice bunt by Joe Panik).
- Blanco manufactured a run almost on his own in the first inning and forced another error on a bunt when Omar Infante just about whiffed completely on Tim Collins’ throw.
- The masses screamed at Pablo Sandoval to put his switch-hitting days behind him after striking out in his first two at-bats against Vargas, then he hit two singles from the right side. One kept the Giants’ fifth inning rally alive that eventually tied the game; the other drove in two to make the score 6-4.
- Panik’s first double to lead off the fifth set the table, and his double in the seventh put the game on ice. Both doubles were off lefties.
- Pence raised his World Series average to .467 with three hits tonight.
— Pence also made a great sliding catch in the ninth inning with Hunter Strickland(!) on the mound.
— Fool Me Only Once (@FoolMeOnlyOnce) October 26, 2014
That tongue, though.
— Reminder: You can get your “YES! YES! YES!” and “Champion Blood” t-shirts here.
— Loved how the Giants came back and tied the game in the fifth, and all Joe Buck and Harold Reynolds could talk about was Jarrod Dyson’s catch to rob Juan Perez of a single … the play that brought made the score 4-4 since Pence tagged up and scored.
— Vargas didn’t look nervous in his first World Series start, I’ll give him that.
Tranquilized, perhaps. In danger of a severe case of cottonmouth for various reasons, sure. But definitely not nervous.
— Interesting sweater choice from Erin Andrews (insert Ray Ratto joke here).
Nice of the Giants to bring Jason Schmidt back into the fold (photobomb, bottom right — it’s not Schmidt, but it’s a pretty close doppelganger).
— We knew the Giants would tender a qualifying offer to Sandoval, but they really have no choice but to “overpay” now. He’s a finalist for the Gold Glove award with a .329 career average in the playoffs … I guess we can talk more about this later.
— Great game for Perez, who was one Dyson catch away from going 2-for-4 and made a superb diving grab down the left field line. Several called for Michael Morse (who worked a walk in his pinch-hitting appearance) to start Game 4, but he said after the NLDS that he didn’t think playing defense was in his future. Morse would probably perform better defensively at first base anyway, and Brandon Belt (1-for-3 with two walks and an RBI) has consistently put together some of the best plate appearances on the team throughout the postseason.
— We attended last night’s game — we didn’t get home until around midnight if you’re looking for a “here’s why there wasn’t a recap” explanation.
Two notes on last night’s game that have nothing to do with the offense’s meager collective effort against Jeremy freaking Guthrie:
- We watched Tim Lincecum warm up from section 234 (down the left field line), and he didn’t come close to throwing strikes.
- We were sitting in the back of the section, in front of the suite, and Morse’s foul ball looked like it was headed right at us … then it kept hooking and soaring and landed six feet over our heads, about 10 feet to our right. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in person (non-Barry Bonds division).
Anyway, I wasn’t surprised that Bochy had Lincecum warm up but never used him.
— Bumgarner against “Big Game” James Shields tomorrow, then it’s off to Kansas City for Game 6 on Tuesday. No matter what happens in the rest of this series, counting the Giants out before the last out of the last inning of the last game isn’t the smartest move.