Writing this weekly piece on San Francisco Giants history is highly enjoyable because the most extraordinary scenarios constantly present themselves, the best falling under the umbrella of irony. Take this game from five years ago, Tuesday, August 12, 2009, for instance:
- The Giants won in the tenth on a home run by Juan Uribe, currently a Los Angeles Dodger.
- The winning pitcher for the Giants was Brian Wilson, now a Dodger.
- The losing pitcher for the Dodgers was Guillermo Mota, who would go on to become a workhorse in the Giants’ bullpen.
* The Giants scored a run in the fifth, when Eugenio Velez crashed into Russell Martin at the plate to score the first run of the game. The irony is that in Wednesday’s victory against the Chicago White Sox, quite a controversy was created on the play at the plate, which was reversed in the Giants’ favor, when it was ruled that Sox catcher Tyler Flowers illegally blocked the plate before he had the ball, allowing Gregor Blanco to score the first of seven runs in the inning. The play at the plate in 2009 was not subject to review.
The game was close, with Tim Lincecum taking a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning, having surrendered a paltry two hits up to that point. Having dropped the first two games of the current series, after having been swept earlier in the season by the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, the Giants were desperate to get a win.
With one out, Rafael Furcal beat out an infield hit and advanced to second on a deep fly ball by Russell Martin. Up stepped none other than Giants-killer, Andre Ethier, who singled in the tying run. Brian Wilson replaced Timmy and got Manny Ramirez to strike out swinging to end the inning.
The game featured both Joe Torre, manager of the Dodgers and Bruce Bochy being ejected from the game. On top of that, Ron Wotus, the replacement manager for the Giants, was also tossed. There was a fifth-inning bench-clearing brawl, resulting from Pablo Sandoval getting hit by a pitch, and then being denied his place on first base, when home plate umpire Paul Emmel ruled the ball had hit the bat.
Though the benches cleared when Edgar Renteria went charging out of the Giants’ dugout, there were no punches thrown and order was soon restored. Part of the problem was the fact that during the previous at-bat, Freddy Sanchez had knocked in Eugenio Velez, who had come into home plate hard, colliding with Martin, as the Giants took a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the tenth, Wilson struck out the side for the Giants, leaving the bottom of the tenth ripe for the walk-off, two-run home run by Uribe, with Travis Ishikawa on board, giving the Giants a 4-2 win, and avoiding a second series sweep at the hands of the Blue-Crew.
With the Giants in need of outfield help, and with the Dodgers’ outfield being infamously crowded, wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony if Brian Sabean swung a deal for Andre Ethier, thereby adding his name to the list of ironies above?
If the Giants are going to make a run for the playoffs, Ethier would be a guy that I would go after as a player who might make a difference. Stranger things have happened, like seeing Juan Uribe defect to LA after the World Series of 2010, or Brian Wilson defect after 2012. Go figure.