June 26, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Hudson (17) congratulates catcher Andrew Susac (34) for hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
“Baseball is a game of inches.” Branch Rickey.
Matt Duffy treated us to a couple of live looks at that theory during Friday night’s game between the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies.
In the ninth inning, with one out and two men on, Duffy hit the ball to right field, the umpire called it foul and Giants first base coach, Billy Hayes, gave Bochy a signal to ask for a review of the call. Since Bochy had asked for a review already, twice, and lost both times, it would be blue’s decision to review. And they did. The review showed the ball hit the grass on the wrong side of the foul line. The call was upheld.
The thing is, of the three calls Bochy asked to have reviewed, this one could add runs for the Giants. Before the foul call, Gregor Blanco had already crossed home plate. Blanco had to go back to third and Duffy had to finish his at bat. He struck out.
In the first call, one of the Rockies hit a single to third base, Duffy threw to first, the umpire ruled that throw was not in time, although it looked like it was in Buster Posey’s glove, there was no way to tell who was on first, first: the runner or Duffy’s throw. No compelling evidence to the contrary means the ruling on the field stands.
The game remained scoreless through four and a half. In the bottom of the fifth, with one out and nobody on, Andrew Susac went yard. The Rockies scored three runs in the sixth when their third baseman hit a home run with two men on, putting them in the lead by two.
The Giants tied it up in their half with base hit after base hit, four in all, on two outs. Duffy started it off, Buster Posey followed, and then Brandon Belt’s base hit scored Duffy and Brandon Crawford’s plated Posey. The Rockies scored three more runs in the seventh and two more runs in the ninth.
The Giants were down five runs with three outs left in the bottom of the ninth, and with the help of the Rockies pitcher, they almost made it. Almost.
Crawford and Justin Maxwell drew walks and advanced a bag each on a wild pitch; Travis Ishikawa, pinch–hitting in the pitcher’s spot, drew a walk; Crawford scored on a passed ball; Blanco and Joe Panik each hit singles, scoring Maxwell and Ishikawa.
Hudson pitched a great game through the fifth, but all hell broke loose in the sixth and seventh. Here’s how his night ended up: with six and two thirds innings pitched, he gave up five runs on ten hits and one walk, and he struck out six. The final score was: Giants 6, Rockies 8
Two of the toughest words in the English language: almost and if. As in “we almost won and would have if Duffy’s hit had landed a couple of inches to the left.” That’s the bad news. The good news? We get to do it again–no almosts or ifs about it.