Jun 10, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) heads to first on his infield single during the fourth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Talk about a tough act to follow. After last night’s excitement, I couldn’t wait to see what the Giants would do today.
And that got me wondering: What happened in the game that followed each Giants no-hitter in recent history? So, I did what every kid who gets left alone with a presents-stuffed Christmas tree in December does—I peeked. I looked at every no-hitter back to Jonathan Sanchez’s July 2009 no-no against the Padres, and read the box scores for the following game. Just like when I was a kid that had ruined my Christmas morning, I was sorry I looked.
To say the results weren’t good would be a serious understatement. In each game following a Giants no-hitter, the Giants lost. Except one. On July 11, 2009, after Sanchez no-hit the Padres on July 10th, the Giants came back and beat them again: Giants 2, Padres 1. The lone run was charged to Sergio Romo in the 8th.
I have to admit, I was a little worried. I knew the Giants would have their work cut out for them. The Mets, like the Giants, are hovering around the top of their division. The pitcher we were facing tonight has been lavished with the kind of praise we saw heaped on Justin Verlander back in 2012. The list goes on, but of course, the thing that scared me the most was The Curse of the Game After. I never should have looked.
Tonight’s game was different, except for the 8th-inning run scored off Romo. The biggest difference: more runs were scored by each team. The Giants scored first: putting two runs on the board in the first when Joe Panik, again to the delight of his hometown fans—who call themselves The Panik Attack—followed up Nori Aoki’s base hit with a home run to the upper deck. The Mets tied it up in the bottom half of the inning and added on two more runs to pull ahead, scoring one run in the 4th and one in the 5th.
Hudson didn’t have a great outing—with five innings pitched, he gave up four runs (all earned) on eight hits and two walks. He struck out one batter. But the bullpen took over, and they were terrific. Romo did give up the one run, but that was just the bad news. The good news is he struck out the other three batters he faced.
The Giants’ bats woke up in the sixth inning with a vengeance. Panik led off with a base hit, Angel Pagan drew a walk and Buster Posey hit a double to score both. Brandon Belt followed, bringing Buster home with a two-run homer. Brandon Crawford almost hit a triple—he was just inches away from making it safely to third—before Justin Maxwell launched a solo home run to finish up the five-run frame.
San Francisco later cancelled out the Mets’ 8th-inning run after Posey’s RBI double plated Aoki, who led off the 9th with a base hit.
All told, the Giants hit three home runs off Mets ace Matt Harvey, whose pitching has been touted as “Cy Young caliber” in his return from injury this season. Unsurprisingly, this is the first time Harvey has given up three home runs in one game.
Final score: Giants 8, Mets 5.
Even though I peeked, I was pleasantly surprised. It still reminds me of those long-ago Christmas mornings. Know why? Because my parents, who were always smarter than I gave them credit, hid all the really good surprises, so I didn’t know what I actually had until Christmas morning. Baseball is the same way…you can try to figure out what will happen, but until you get to the last out, you don’t know. It’s baseball—anything can happen.