It was all fun and games until someone got hurt. Not physically hurt, but definitely mentally. The Giants looked like they finally had an easy win on their hands. They strolled out to an early lead on Evan Longoria’s 299th career home run. That lead got even bigger when Hunter Pence hit his second home run of the year, a three-run bomb in the third inning. Evan Longoria struck again with a two-run single in the sixth. Johnny Cueto cruised through seven innings allowing only two runs as he looked fantastic. The Giants entered the ninth inning with a comfy five-run lead. A comfy lead? Not with this team.
Trevor Gott, the Giants closer, came into the game to pitch the ninth inning. It had been a while since Gott had received a workload of any sort and the Giants wanted to get him some work. Reasonable enough right? Except there is a well-known fact that high leverage pitchers struggle to perform in blowout scenarios. Javier Lopez struggled with it. Brian Wilson struggled with everything. The high leverage guys need adrenaline, that rush that comes when pitching in a close game. That intensity that just isn’t there when the game is out of hand. As it turns out, Trevor Gott is one of those pitchers.
The Ninth Inning
The ninth started off easy enough with Matt Chapman popping out to start the inning. Even when the next batter Matt Olson hit a home run you still felt comfortable with a four-run lead and two outs away from a Giants win. Mark Canha would be the next hitter and he would walk. Then a routine groundball from Robbie Grossman looked like it might end the ball game. At least it would get them one out closer. Wilmer Flores fielded the ball cleanly and started jogging towards first. ‘Get an out’ we all said. Except Flores didn’t hear us. Instead, he stopped just before reaching first base and winged the ball to second base confusing everyone on the diamond. Everybody is safe. That sinking feeling in your stomach hit you hard. You knew what was coming.
That sinking feeling only intensified when Khris Davis got hit by a fastball-in to put the tying run to the plate. Whether we wanted to or not, we all knew what was coming. Stephen Piscotty turned and burned a fastball down the left-field line for a grand slam to tie the game. The A’s would go on to score one run in the tenth and the Giants would lose eight to seven.
2020 has been a tough year for a lot of people. Honestly, last night didn’t make it any easier. Most Giants fans weren’t expecting much this year. Most saw a tough season coming. Does that forgive what happened last night? Absolutely not. The Giants have to be a beacon of hope and pleasure. Last night they just made it embarrassing to wear orange and black.
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