Chris Heston outduels Padres ace James Shields as San Francisco Giants win high-scoring series finale


Question: What do the Brandons and Willie Mays have in common? Answer: Until Thursday’s  game, the last time the Giants put up four triples in one game was in 1960 against the Philadelphia Phillies. Three of those triples were launched off Willie Mays’ bat. In this game against the Padres, the Brandons sent three of them flying.

I know—that’s two players combined to match Mays’ record, but Willie is the Say Hey Kid. You knew it was gonna take more than one guy to keep up with him, didn’t you?

It was a strange day for AT&T Park, a stadium known for being stingy with the hits. Four triples in one game—two by Brandon Belt, one from Matt Duffy and the last one off Brandon Crawford. As it turned out, the Giants would need all of them before the game was over.

Chris Heston started for the Giants and pitched a beauty. He’s looking more like a seasoned veteran with each outing. He was finding his spots and keeping pitches down in the zone, so even the Padres who were able to connect couldn’t put much on it. In total, he gave up two runs on five hits and one walk while fanning six.

The Giants’ offense was wide awake, and it got up early. Not a bad idea considering they were up against James Shields, aka Big Game James, the Padres’ ace. They scored two in the first inning, but their big inning was the fourth, as they plated three runs on a walk and five hits, including a single from Heston.

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The rookie starter took the Giants all the way through the sixth with a shutout. And that’s when the Padres woke up. San Diego scored two runs in the top of the seventh, but the Giants came back in the bottom of the inning and snatched that pair of runs right back.

Heston left the game after the seventh, and the bullpen was tasked with finishing things up.

They almost finished me off. The Padres scored six runs before the dust settled in the eighth. Just like that, the game went from a seven-run shutout to a one-run lead.

Our only hope was if the offense got some insurance, because if the eighth inning was an indicator, we were gonna need double indemnity. Either that or the bullpen needed to quit giving up hits. I’ll take one of each.

Sometimes, when faced with an immovable force, the Giants find a way around it, and sometimes they don’t. This time, the Giants took their bats and went through it, scoring five more runs playing Giants–style baseball: hits in bunches.

At the end of it all, Buster Posey had put up a total of three runs, three hits and three RBIs; Panik and Belt tied his hit count with three each, and Blanco matched his three RBIs. Seven of the Giants eight starters actually finished with multi-hit games.

Oh yeah, and Hunter Strickland closed out the game without giving up a run.

The final score was: Giants 13, Padres 8

Somebody want to remind these guys that we’re using a different marketing theme? No more “Giants Baseball. Torture.” Because, honest to goodness, they scared me half to death.

Seriously, though, Heston is giving the front office a lot to think about with the return of Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. Who knows what’s going to happen? I do know this: sometimes we need a little magic.