The homestand had a rocky start as we fell to Colorado twice. The last game against the Rockies was atrocious, worst of the year so far for the Giants, who made four errors. Things looked bleak. Then the Giants swept the Bums, and took two from the visiting Kansas City Royals. It was the turnaround of the young season so far and shows the resilience and pride this team has under Kapler – they’ve got bounce-back.
The Giants executed a regular start to perfection behind Aex Wood in game one. Wood went six innings, gave up just four hits for two earned runs, and had five strikeouts. Solid quality start. Mauricio Llovera, Jake McGee and Camilo Doval each pitched a scoreless inning to end it. The Giants took advantage of poor pitching and mistakes by the Royals, scoring twice on bases loaded walks and once on a throwing error by Royals catcher MJ Melendez. Austin Wynns doubled and scored, Thairo Estrada had an RBI single and Brandon Crawford doubled in two more. Giants 6, Royals 2.
Logan Webb dominated the weaker Royals in game two. Webb hurled seven scoreless innings, with nine strikeouts. The Giants were held scoreless by Royals starter Kris Bubic for five and then did their damage to chase him in the bottom of the sixth. Luis Gonzalez doubled, Wilmer Flores singled to knock him in. Joc Pederson had an infield hit and moved Flores over. Darin Ruf singled, scoring Flores and sending Pederson to third and Tommy La Stella hit a sac-fly to score Pederson. Tyler Rogers had a tough time in the eighth and gave up a couple of runs, but La Stella hit his second sac-fly of the night to score Mike Yastrzemski in the bottom of the frame, and add an insurance run. Camilo Doval closed it out. Giants 4, Royals 2
The wind and weird pop flies that fell between three fielders were the order of the day in the series finale. It was crazy. Brandon Crawford had a rare fielding error that allowed two runs to score. It was a slow, roller, but the kind of grounder we are so used to B-Craw handling perfectly, it was shocking! He just couldn’t come up with it. and it swirled around him on the infield grass.
This was a “bullpen game,” and Sam Long came out shaky in the first. Merrifield led off the game with a perfectly placed bunt – nothing Sammy could do. Then he gave up a double to Bobby Witt Jr. and had RISP. The Crawford error brought them home.
Still the Giants were in it. To his credit, Sam Long settled down after that. He was good. He held the Royals scoreless in the second and third and showed command. Mauricio Llovera came in for the third and fourth and held, as the Giants put runs on the board with a Brandon Belt homer to center – it was fun to see in person – and a sac-fly by Curt Casali that brought home Thairo Estrada and tied the game at two.
Zach Littell managed the fifth and sixth and Tyler Rogers had a three-up, three-down seventh, which was great to see after his struggles the night before. Bounce-back. It was John Brebbia who gave up the game-losing run in the eighth. sigh. But in his defense it was facing the Royals best hitter, inserted into the lineup to try to get the win.
The Giants had successfully contained Andrew Benintendi all series. He was 0-for-4 in game one, and 1-for-3 in game two (though he did draw a walk and score a run). With the game tied in the top of the eighth, the Royals sent out Benintendi to face Brebbia as a pinch-hitter.
Because I realized that in all my years of watching baseball the Kansas City Royals were one team I have never seen live, I was excited to be at this one. I’ve been to maybe 50 or 60 games in stadia all over the country, and somehow I had never seen the Royals. I told my date I hoped to see Benintendi, whom I admire. The man delivered. Benintendi’s double to right was a thing of beauty – what a great swing. He slashed it. The Royals Nicky Lopez sacrificed him over and Whit Merrifield hit another sac-fly to score Benintendi, which stood as the winning run.
Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless ninth for the Giants and Scott Barlow got the save for the Royals with a three-up, three-down final frame. Giants 2, Royals 3.
Bullpen Game Record:
The Giants are 3 – 3 in bullpen games.
The wind or lack of it and the sun being directly overhead led to some crazy missed pop-ups in this one, twice by the Royals and once by the Giants. There was a sweet out at second when Witt, Jr. tried to stretch out a single and got tagged out after a dart thrown by Yaz.
It was a beautiful day at the yard. I would have liked to get the sweep, but it’s uncouth to be greedy. Rest-up boys, on the day off, settle in to your hotel rooms in Pittsburgh and lets go wreck the Pirates.
Rest up Giants!