Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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MLB Scores: Giants beat Padres, 6-1

MLB Scores: Giants beat Padres, 6-1

Many people have asked me, “What makes you like baseball so much?” And there are so many answers I can give them – how a butcher’s eyes twinkle when he sees his home run leaving the yard; grind of a 162-game season that culminated in a euphoric post-season release; the way Lincecum’s hair sprouted out behind him as he fell sideways out of the mound; Dodgers lose, both blowouts and close games, at home and far away, in June, May, July and September on days that end with “y” and those that do not – but at the end of the day it always comes back to just one true answer: stories. I love the game not just for moments, but because of how those moments are spun together to create narratives. The bows of salvation, success, falling from grace and prodigal sons returning, eruptions from new and old faces, the way you can weave the threads of the individual seasons into the whole season’s tapestry. How the game mythologizes itself.

The San Francisco Giants beat the San Diego Padres, 6-1. They have won nine in a row. They got a spot after the season yesterday and did not let their foot rise from the gas, despite the fans’ champagne-laden fears. And this game was a microcosm of so many of this season’s stories: a resurrected Core Three (Posey, Crawford, Belt), limited fanfare pickups becoming key players, rookies earning their inventory. And most importantly: a team of total parts, superstars limited, running to the finish line with the best record in baseball, the Dodgers in hindsight – but not quite able to catch them. Not yet.

An example of a story: this game is the first race. It was Buster Posey who turned on an inside fastball, so inside it almost brushed his shirt. But he had the bat’s speed to turn the ball and send it 400 feet into the left field.

In 2019, his last full season, Posey hit 7 home runs in 114 games. This home ground marked its 18th this season in just 97 games. It’s his highest home total since 2015, when he hit 19. This is simply the renaissance of Buster Posey, in about as obvious detail as you can get. The Giants led 1-0 after the first.

Padres was initially not going to go quite as gently tonight as last night. They equalized in the third after Jurickson Profar doubled and then came around to score on a Trent Grisham groundout.

The Giants got the race back at the bottom of the inning, but after consecutive singles, Posey left on third and LaMonte Wade Jr. at the beginning. An erroneous starting throw from Jake Arrieta, who sailed well to the right of Hosmer, allowed Posey to trot home, giving the Giants a 2-1 lead after three. Storyline there: Eduardo Nuñez was transformed into ShaM Anderson into LaMonte Wade Jr., who is now beating cleanup between Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford on a 95-win team, and it all makes sense; Zaidi’s brilliance continues to shine.

The Giants got another run in the fourth. Mike Yastrzemski was hit by a pitch over his right elbow, eventually coming around to score on a Tommy La Stella single. (Anthony DeSclafani had a picture perfectly bundled in the middle to move Yaz to second base). The Giants led 3-1 after four innings.

Meanwhile, DeSclafani delivered another wonderful performance, going 6.2 innings, allowing only one run on three hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Disco, which hit just 33 innings in 2020 with a 7.22 ERA, has cemented its place in the Giants’ pitching staff as one of their keys. He has gone 11-6 and hit 146 innings with a 3.33 ERA. The redemption arch.

The Giants extended their lead at the bottom of the seventh. Brandon Crawford, who had the best offensive season of his career, singleed out. He was then driven home all the way from the first by a Darin Ruf -double deep into Triples Alley. Storyline there? A 34-year-old shortstop, far more famous for his glove than his offense, has a wRC + of 136 through September. And this time two years ago, Darin Ruf was in KBO and tore up the pitch there with unknown dreams of ever coming back to MLB. Now he holds a 152 wRC + with the Giants, has 15 home runs in 283 record appearances, is ninth in MLB at exit speed (just behind Shohei Ohtani), and appears to be continuing to do extreme damage to right-handers for as long as he possibly can. It became the 4-1 Giants after seven.

Tyler Rogers put up a perfect 8th inning and beat Fernando Tatis Jr. out to add an exclamation point on top of his amazing season. Rogers has the 7th-lowest K / 9 of any qualified reliever in MLB, by far the lowest fastball speed with an average of 82.9 mph, but also holds the 6th-lowest ERA among qualified relievers. He has been a trophy in the Giants bullpen since the start of the season.

At the bottom of the eighth, the Giants faced an old friend of Mark Melancon. Tommy La Stella worked a 7-pitch walk, then Gabe Kapler picked up Thairo Estrada as a knife edge. This immediately paid off when Brandon Belt fired a 109km / h double into the hole in the left center and probably rounded the bases with Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain! Echo in his skull. (He made a small C against the chest in case any of us forgot his captaincy).

Posey then hit a ball sharply to Manny Machado, who was forced to rush with a throw to first base, which sailed out of Hosmer’s range again and hit the net near Padre’s excavation. Shades of Posey’s “I’m so fast” from earlier this year. Because the ball was out of play, and therefore a set piece, Belt scored and Posey went to second place, bringing the Giants ahead to 6-1. ONEAndrew Baggarly noted on Twitter that the Giants have scored 6 races in each of their last nine games, the longest streak to score at least 6 races since 1929.

Doval hit the ninth inning and knocked Machado and Hosmer out on two ugly shots that broke late and made them swing out of their shoes. The young flamethrower has had an up and down season but has not allowed a deserved run since joining the Giants for this current season.

Storylines! You could not write them better if you tried. Kris Bryant, the biggest business buyout, hit his 200th career -double today, a ball that went 400 feet and measured 109 mph from the bat. Team-wise, it is the Giants’ best record through 145 games since New York in the early 1910s. Their enchanting collection of lukewarm veterans, waivers of wire pickups, and young guys getting consequences still hold back juggernaut Dodgers. Their work is not done yet, but they create a story that even the most cold-hearted of us can not help but love.

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