Jul 21, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Hector Sanchez (29) is greeted at home plate by right fielder Hunter Pence (one from left), left fielder Gregor Blanco (one from right) and shortstop Brandon Crawford (right) at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Wow…what a game! I don’t even know where to begin.
So many things happened Tuesday night: the Giants hit three home runs in one game, snapped the Padres winning streak, the benches cleared without a fight, Matt Kemp went down hard, Chris Heston was amazing, Hector Sanchez surprised us…
I’ll start with the benches-clearing dustup in the top of the ninth. But to tell you about the bench clearer in the ninth, I need to tell you about “the flip”. It happened in the sixth.
But first, some background.
Odrisamer Despaigne was the Padres starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game. Despaigne, AKA the Giants killer, faced our guys five times before Tuesday, and Despaigne allowed three runs on 13 hits, over the five outings total. Ownage? Sure looked that way.
So when Hunter Pence took Despaigne’s pitch out of the yard to lead off the second inning, it was a cause for celebration. But instead of throwing a dugout party, the Giants celebrated by hitting–singles. Brandon Belt’s magic wandoo bloop into center was followed by Brandon Crawford’s base hit. Gregor Blanco ground into a double play, allowing Belt to score, and the inning ended after Hector Sanchez ground out.
Still, the Giants scored two runs off Despaigne–almost the same number of runs scored off him ever. But the Giants weren’t through. After a shut down third inning, Matt Duffy led off the fourth with a double. Belt drew a walk and Crawford crushed one over the fence. More cause for celebration. Big time.
Which takes us to the sixth inning and “the flip.” My friend Richard sent me a text after the game ended that nailed it perfectly. He said: “years from now when we talk about this game–and we will–it will simply be known as ‘the flip’.”
It started simply enough–Pence hit a single off Despaigne, driving him out of the game. Crawford hit a single off the new pitcher and with Blanco at the plate, Crawford took second on a wild pitch. Really heads up move, and it caused the pitcher to intentionally walk Blanco.
I’m sure the theory was to put Blanco on first so they could pitch to the AAA guy and work the double play. It was a bit insulting to Sanchez to be fingered for the easy out. So he gave as good as he got. When he launched a rocket over the wall for the grand slam, he paused a moment to watch it fly, gave the bat a little flip and took his round trip.
The little bat flip caused the Padres pitcher to flip, and when Sanchez was taking his home run trot, the pitcher took his bubble gum out of his mouth and threw it at Sanchez. Disgusting!
The Padres brought in another pitcher and in the ninth, when it was Sanchez’s turn to hit, he sent a grounder to first for the out. When Sanchez turned to go back to the dugout, the pitcher started chirping at him. I have no idea what the guy said, but Sanchez who kept trotting, finally turned–and the benches cleared. Not a punch was thrown.
Chris Heston was magical. He’s the Magic Man. He pitched seven and a third practically perfect innings, allowing the Padres just one hit in the sixth. He walked two batters and struck out six.
And he drilled Matt Kemp so thoroughly the ball hit Kemp twice. It was kind of a big deal, because when he threw the pitch it was high and inside, hit Kemp on the arm, rolled up his neck, knocked him over, then the ball dropped on Kemp’s back.
By the time the game got to the bottom of the ninth, the Padres had had enough. They came out swinging. Their lead off man reached on Duffy’s error and then they started hitting, moving the line until they stacked up three runs.
Giants relief pitcher Josh Osich, who until Tuesday was ERAless, gave up three runs on three hits. The final score was: Giants 9, Padres 3
I will end by saying this–after I talked about Monday night’s game where the Padres capped off the Giants win streak, I suggested that the Giants should return the favor, and they did. It’s only fair.