San Francisco Giants outlast D-Backs in 12-inning marathon, use all available position players


Jul 17, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Angel Pagan (16) and shortstop Brandon Crawford (35) celebrate with first baseman Brandon Belt (9) and third baseman Matt Duffy (5) after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

I got a text from my BFF Vickie on Sunday. She said “I really don’t like the All‒Star break” because, as she went on to explain: “I miss our boys playing.” I agree with her a Hunter Pencent. I miss seeing the guys play too and I couldn’t wait for the second half to start. We did watch the All‒Star game, though, and we were treated to a Brandon Crawford RBI special (a sac fly in the ninth inning).

The guys play every day, almost, from February through October. Oh sure, there are exceptions: days off here and there, or the years when the Giants don’t make it to October (gasp). But even during the season when they’re not playing a regular game, they’re practicing, and when they’re not practicing, they’re reading scouting reports, and…it goes on and on.

So, yeah, they earned some time off. Just a little time off to get ready for the second half. And I have to say, on Friday night, you could see a difference.

Speaking of Friday night…what a game! I don’t think anyone expected an edge-of-your-seat nail-biter, but that’s what we got.

Arizona got off to a one-run lead right away, and the Giants spent most of the game trying to play catch-up. Arizona stayed in front through the seventh inning, when Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer to tie the game. Pence finished the game a triple shy of the cycle.

The 12th inning is where things got really interesting.

After Pence’s home run evened up the score, the game became a pitchers’ duel. Jean Machi relieved Matt Cain (5 IP, 4 ER, 5 K, 0 BB) for two-thirds of an inning, giving up one run on two hits. George Kontos pitched another two-thirds inning, scoreless, walking one batter.

When the game entered the 11th, Bruce Bochy had used every available position player, and the only guys left on bench were starting pitchers: Jake Peavy, Madison Bumgarner and Chris Heston. Ryan Vogelsong was the only pitcher left in the bullpen. Vogelsong re-joined the bullpen because Tim Hudson will reclaim his spot in the starting rotation once he gets back from the DL.

Needless to say, the rest of the game was up to Vogelsong.

Turns out, the Giants couldn’t have picked a better reliever. He pitched two scoreless, and kept the Giants in the game offensively too. In the 12th, with two men on, he laid down a bunt that not only moved the runners over, but landed him on first to save an out. Angel Pagan was next up to the plate, and with the bases loaded, he reached on a throwing error by the Diamondbacks shortstop, scoring Crawford and giving the Giants a one-run lead for the first time in the game.

In the bottom of the 12th, Vogelsong gave up a hit to leadoff man but the Giants defense took care of that with a nicely turned double play on the next hitter. Vogelsong allowed two more to reach base, but he induced a groundball force out to end the threat. Game over.

By the time the five-hour, 11 minute game had ended, the Giants had used a record setting 10 pitchers. The final score was: Giants 6, Diamondbacks 5

So, here’s the thing—you know the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for” I get it now. I wished for a baseball game, and I got it. But five hours? We’re gonna need a bigger break.