The Giants played 16 games in 16 days, and today was the last game of the stretch of sixteen, without an off day – the longest consecutive games stretch of the Giants’ season.
On the line was: staying ahead of the Dodgers, the first sweep of the Rockies in Colorado, being first to 90 wins in the major leagues, and a (10-6) record during this nightmarish run, when they faced the Mets (3-0) and Braves (1-2) on the road; the Brewers (1-3) and Dodgers (2-1) at home; and finally the Rockies (3-0)**, at altitude, without a break.
This gauntlet of games defined the stretch, and no matter what happens, the work that Gabe Kapler did to navigate this hellscape of games was amazing. Kap has earned my respect this year. Unbelievable in-game calls and an over-arching scheme of management of the team across this stretch made it possible for us to come out with a winning record and stay atop the NL West.
The Giants sent Anthony DeSclafani (11-6, 3.24 ERA, 132 K) out for the final game against Rockies’ righty Jon Gray (7-10, 4.13 ERA, 125 K).
First Pitch was at 1:11, 84 degrees F, with a very dry 20% humidity, and an air-quality alert for multiple pollutants that began at 4pm yesterday.
- Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
- Brandon Belt (L) 1B
- LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) LF
- Brandon Crawford (L) SS
- Kris Bryant (R) 3B
- Mike Yastrzemski (L) RF
- Steven Duggar (L) CF
- Curt Casali (R) C
- Anthony DeSclafani (R) P
Tommy La Stella led off for the Giants again, and grounded out to Trevor Story. Jon Gray fired four-seam fastballs at 95 and 96mph at Brandon Belt and struck him out on four pitches with good command.
LaMonte Wade, Jr., filled the count on a bunt foul and drew a walk. Gray then missed way inside on a wild pitch, advancing Wade to second. Gray came at Brandon Crawford with a fastball and a couple of killer slider, to go ahead, 1-2. Then two 97mph fastballs up and a curve low and in filled the count. A perfectly thrown back door slider got Crawford swinging.
- Raimel Tapia (L) LF
- Brendan Rodgers (R) 2B
- Charlie Blackmon (L) RF
- Trevor Story (R) SS
- C.J. Cron (R) 1B
- Ryan McMahon (L) 3B
- Elias Diaz (R) C
- Garrett Hampson (R) CF
- Jon Gray (R) P
Anthony DeSclafani stalked out to the mound with confidence and dealt a fastball right down the middle to Raimel Tapia for a strike. Tapia then hit a comebacker DeSclafani snagged as it broke away toward from the mound toward first, and flipped to Belt for the out on two pitches.
He missed on the first two pitches to Brendan Rodgers, then pitched a good slider to get the swinging strike, 2-1. DeSclafani dealt a two-seamer at the knees on the inside for the second strike. Rodgers fouled one off and DeSclafani missed on the slider to fill the count. Then he got him with the slider for his first strikeout.
Charlie Blackmon stepped in and DeSclafani missed on three straight pitches, 3-0. He got him with a two-seamer for a called strike, then with the 94mph fastball to fill the count. He struck him out with a belt-high slider that Jon called, “Nasty!” – but he’s prone to exaggeration lately. 😉 – fifteen pitch first inning for DeSclafani.
Kris Bryant, back in the starting lineup, began his battle with Jon Gray 2-2, and looked upset, not beaten, when he struck out on the next pitch low and inside. But it was what Jon called a perfect pitch. The strike zone looked huge early as Gray then struck out Mike Yastrzemski on three pitches, slider, changeup, 95mph fastball.
The red hot Steven Duggar stepped up to prevent Gray from settling in by roping a first-pitch slider to left for a single. But Casali fell behind 0-2 very quickly on two of Gray’s sliders. Gray checked Duggar on a quick throw to first. Then struck out Casali swinging on “the perfect breaking ball” – that same slider, that broke out of the zone.
DeSclafani faced Trevor Story next, a change from last night when Charlie Blackmon and C.J. Cron went back to back, hitting in two innings in a row against Webb, the first four hits he gave up in that game. He got Story to swing and miss on a slider, then to drive a fastball to right, directly to Yaz for the out.
The very hot C. J. Cron was next and DeSclafani got ahead 1-2. He threw the slider again and Cron popped up to foul territory where Belt made the catch for the out. On one pitch DeSclafani got Ryan McMahon to hit a routine grounder to second, but it got delayed on the shift to LaStella, his throw to first took Belt off the bag, and McMahon took first.
DeSclafani got ahead of Elias Diaz, 1-2. He made a couple of tight throws to first to keep an eye on McMahon and then missed with the slider, 1-2. He got Diaz to pop up the next fastball foul and Yaz ran for it, and managed to careen to the ball and make the catch against the netting to end the inning. Thirteen pitches for DeSclafani and one hit.
Surprisingly, DeSclafani worked a full count before becoming Jon Gray’s sixth strikeout victim. Gray got LaStella to ground out again, two down. Then Brandon Belt’s bat snapped in two on a 95mph fastball, but he managed to muscle a bloop single out of it. Wade popped out to second on the second pitch he faced, another quick inning for Jon Gray.
Garrett Hampson stepped in against DeSclafani and looked at a strike, but then lined a changeup to left for a leadoff single. DeSclafani checked him at first and then the pitcher, Gray, attempted to bunt to move Hampson over, but failed and struck out, DeSclafani’s third.
Raimell Tapia stepped in with Hampson looking to steal with one out. He took off and Curt Casali leaped up after the pitch and gunned down Hampson to Crawford who tagged him at second, two down. Unfortunately the pitch missed and DeSclafani missed again to walk Tapia, replacing the runner thrown out at first.
The speedy Tapia, running with the pitch, took third as Brendan Rodgers lined a single to center. This brought up two out, runners in the corners for Blackmon. DeSclafani threw a low changeup and a high fastball in sequence and Blackmon swung and missed on both to fall behind, 0-2. Blackmon lined the third pitch, a fastball, to La Stella for the final out.
Brandon Crawford swung on the first pitch fastball from Gray and fouled it off, strike one. He hit a weak grounder to second on the next pitch, for out number one. Bryant then swung on the first pitch and popped out to second. Yastrzemski got hit by a pitch to go to first for Duggar.
Steven Duggar fell behind 1-2 quickly and Gray checked Yaz on very quick throws to first, twice. Duggar gave the next pitch a good ride to the opposite field, but came up short as it was caught on the warning track by Tapia.
Jon Gray looked very good, aided by the huge strike zone of Nick Meyer, the home plate umpire, and this game turned into a pitcher’s duel.
DeSclafani got Trevor Story to pop up into foul territory floating toward the Rockies dugout. Brandon Belt tracked it the whole way and made a great catch despite being slammed in the gut by the dugout railing, one down. DeSclafani then struck out C.J. Cron swinging! nice.
Ryan McMahon fell behind 0-2 quickly on the sinker and slider then DeSclafani missed with the four seamer and changeup, 2-2. McMahon worked a full count and then hit a high fly ball to deep right field, caught at the track by Yaz. 16-pitch fourth for DeSclafani that featured the Cron strikeout.
Casali led off against Gray in the fifth and managed to work a full count, but then struck out, on a fastball inside, Gray’s seventh K. DeSclafani, who was one for 45 as a hitter, then took three quick strikes for his eighth. Tommy La Stella grounded out for the third time in the game against Gray, to end the top of the frame. Giants bats gone silent again.
DeSclafani gave up a first-pitch deep fly ball to Elias Diaz, way down the left field line that landed on the line to stay fair and carrommed off the wall in the corner. Diaz took second easily. Then, after DeSclafani got a strike on Hampson, he threw another strike that Casali couldn’t handle and on the passed ball, advanced Diaz to third.
DeSclafani struck out Hampson looking on a good fastball. The pitcher, Gray then helped his own cause and drove an RBI single past Bryant at third and into left field. Rockies 1, Giants 0.
DeSclafani got ahead of Tapia 0-2, then on a 1-2 pitch Tapia pulled it on the ground past the range of a stumbling La Stella and into right field – two on and one out. Mound visit for a chat.
DeSclafani fell behind Brendan Rodgers, 3-0, then managed to fill it with a fastball and a changeup. Then he gave up a single to Rodgers to right to load the bases and he was done. Kapler came out and took the ball. It was DeSclafani’s fourth hit given up in the inning.
Jarlin Garcia came in, and on the first pitch Blackmon smashed a grounder to La Stella, who fielded it with a knee down, somewhat clumsily. He got it to Crawford for the out at second, but they couldn’t get Blackmon at first and the run scored. Rockies 2, Giants 0.
Trevor Story stepped in with two out, and two on, in the corners. Story pulled one down the left feld line, deep to left, past the outstretched hand of Wade. It may have hit the heel of his glove. Tapia scored, Blackmon went to third on the double by Story. Garcia managed to strike out McMahon on three pitches to stop the bleeding. Rockies 3, Giants 0.
Brandon Belt came in trying to get something going against Jon Gray, third time through the order. He battled to a 2-2 count and drove a 95mph Gray four-seamer to left for a single. LaMonte Wade Jr., The Man, then came up to do his best against Gray’s efficient arm. He got ahead 2-1, but swung on a four-seamer away, 2-2. Wade then hit one inside-out to left, beating the shift. Two on nobody out for Crawford.
Crawford hit a fly ball on the first pitch all the way to the wall and GONE! A three-run home run to the opposite field! Crawford’s 20th homer of the year, “That was ‘a Coor’s Field Special,” as per Dave. Just 376 feet to left and the game is tied. Giants 3, Rockies 3.
Then Kris Bryant stepped up and singled to right on a 95mph four-seamer that was right over the plate. Four straight hits by the Giants to start the sixth and Jon Gray was done.
Tyler Kinley came in for the Rockies to face Yaz with nobody out and a runner at first. He kept an eye on Bryant, trowing to first on the 1-2. He then got Yaz swinging on a slider right down the middle, one down. Not a good at-bat from Yaz.
Steven Duggar came up and laid off two sliders to go ahead 2-0. He took a 97mph strike on the outside corner and Kinley missed with another slider, 3-1. Duggar fouled one off his foot to fill the count. Duggar then swung on a nasty slider to strike out, two outs – Dave called it “the hammer slider.”
Curt Casali then blooped a soft liner that landed on the grass in left center, for a base hit, and Kris Bryant darted to third. Darin Ruf was called upon to pinch hit with runners in the corners. Kinley then went ahead 0-2 on two sliders that never broke that Ruf laid off of. But he got him to chase a ball for a swinging strike to end the top of the inning.
Zach Littell entered the game for the Giants to start the sixth. He got ahead of Elias Diaz, 1-2, but Diaz worked it full. He then gave up a deep home run on the next pitch, a high slider. Rockies 4, Giants 3.
Hampson attempted to bunt his way on, but Littell outsprinted him to first and Belt gathered the dribbler and flipped to Littell, covering, just in time to get Hampson, one down.
Littell got Ruiz to hit a weak grounder to Belt for the second out. He fell behind Tapia 3-1, but filled it by finally hitting the top of the zone. Tapia fouled off two 96mph heaters. Then Littell missed badly outside and walked him on a slider that missed by a foot. Littell tightened up, got ahead of Rodgers 0-2, and struck him out with the fastball.
rally visor time. Lucas Gilbreath entered the game pitching for the Rockies. He faced Thairo Estrada who came into the game for Tommy La Stella, who had struggled at the plate and in the field. Estrada grounded out to short. Belt and Gilbreath battled to a 2-2 count. Gilbreath struck him out looking with a slider on the outside. LaMonte Wade, Jr., worked a 3-1 count, but nded up hitting a little tapper back to GilbreathThree up, three down
Tony Watson, the hold specialist, came out for the bottom of the seventh, not in a hold situation, but trying to keep the Giants just one run down. Estrada took over at second for La Stella. Watson got ahead of Blackmon 1-2, and then struck him out with the high strike on the outside edge, one down.
Trevor Story fouled off the first pitch for a strike. Then he popped up a soaring fly ball to left, caught by Wade. Two down. C.J. Cron, held quiet so far, took a strike on a fastball. He then swung and hit a high drive to right and Yaz caught it a few feet in front of the wall. Three up, three down for Watson on eight pitches. wow.
Gilbreath fell behind Crawford immediately 2-0, and Crawford got him to 3-1 and drew the leadoff walk. That was the end of Gilbreath’s night. Time for Jeulys Chacin.
Jeulys Chacin, throwing nothing but curves and sliders, struck out Bryant, and walked Yazstremski, before getting to a full count with Steven Duggar. He got Duggar with a slider on the outside. Two walks and two Ks in the inning for Gilbreath and Chacin. Casali worked a full count, but grounded out to end the top of the frame.
Kapler gave the ball to Tyler Rogers for the bottom of the eighth. McMahon grounded out to third on his second pitch. But then Elias Diaz hit a ball deep enough to center to stretch, racing for a double. Diaz was three for four with two doubles and a homer.
Hampson flied out to shallow center on one pitch, two down. Pinch hitter Colton Welker, brought up from the minors today, then came up for the Rockies. Welker blasted one to very deep right center field, but it stayed in the yard. whew.
Last chance for the Giants.
[STOPED LIVE BLOGGING HERE TO WATCH THE NINTH]
wow. what a ninth. I was busy watching it with the stylish on in rally cap formation and so I didn’t live blog it, but wow! what a comeback. First sweep in Colorado by an opposing team this year! We did it!
Giants – Top 9th
- ALMONTE PITCHING FOR COL
- Duggar struck out swinging to end the top of the ninth inning
- ESTÉVEZ PITCHING FOR COL
- Longoria doubled to deep center, Belt scored and Wade Jr. scored. Giants 7, Rox 4
- Bryant struck out swinging
- Wade Jr. to second on wild pitch by Estévez, Belt to third on wild pitch by Estévez
- Crawford struck out swinging
- Wade Jr. singled to right center, Dubón scored and Estrada scored, Belt to second
- Giants 5, Rox 4
- Belt reached on infield single to first, Estrada to second, Dubón to third
- Estrada singled to left, Dubón to second
- Dubón ran for Posey
- Posey walked
- Posey hit for Rogers
Jake McGee had a three up, three down, ten-pitch ninth for the save.
Giants 7, Rockies 4
The Giants went (10-6) on the Gauntlet of 16 Games and are first to 90 wins in all of baseball.
This concludes, “The Giants Run the Gauntlet,” summer of 2021, on Giants Baseball Corner.
Thanks for joining me