Cardinals Hot Bats go Quietly in Bay in the Return of Pauly D, Drop Game-Two 3-2
The good news? The Cardinals got their everyday SS back tonight, Paul DeJong. DeJong has been sidelined since 05/18 with a fracture in his left hand after being hit by a pitch, requiring surgery.
The bad news? The bats went back to normal, or in my words, “the offense is doing that thing again.” I guess I’ll give them a break, since they clubbed 31 hits in back-to-back games, but the inconsistencies and lack of identity is driving me insane.
John Gant would go to battle against Dereck Rodríguez, the son of the great catcher, Pudge Rodríguez. Rodríguez would do his part with his pops in attendance, ending the Giants losing skid by working into the 7th inning, scattering 5 hits before exiting.
After Carp would fly out to Hanson to begin the night, Pham would draw a walk. Rodríguez turned that walk into a 4-6-3 double-play off the bat of Yadi. John Gant would induce three weakly hit balls in his first inning of work, allowing a one out walk to McCutchen. Gant’s changeup was noticeably effective, diving in on the hands of Posey in his at bat, making him look silly. The vulcan gripped change was really diving and dipping down more so than I can ever recall.
The Cardinals would crack Rodríguez in the top of the 2nd, as the Trap House was open, lining a one out triple into “triples ally” in RCF. We all know how streaky of a hitter Jedd is, and it seems like he’s starting one of his insanely hot stretches. Paul DeJong, in his first AB since his injury in mid-May, grounded into a 6-2 fielder’s choice, as Jedd was gunned down at home with the infield playing in and Gyorko running on contact. Kolten Wong brought his batting average up to (.200) with his bloop RBI double into shallow LF, scoring DeJong as the ball would scoot behind Hanson, allowing DeJong to score easily. After a (2-5) night last night, with both hits the opposite way, this felt like Wong is about to get it going. With first base open and two down, Rodríguez would intentionally walk Bader to bring in his counterpart, Gant. Gant would pop out to Crawford to end the inning, Cardinals on top 1-0.
The Giants would tie things up in their half of the 2nd inning, still without recording their first hit. Crawford and Sandoval opened the inning working back-to-back free passes. Panik then lined out to Bader and Crawford would tag up and advance to third. With Hernández at the plate, Gant would throw a wild pitch, skipping in the dirt off Yadi’s forearm, scoring Crawford to tie it 1-1. Hernández would then be robbed of a base-hit from Gyorko down at the hot corner and Gant picked up his first strikeout on Rodríguez, ending the inning.
Dereck Rodríguez would settle in over the next 4 frames, allowing only one hit, while striking out only one, also adding another double-play to the line. After a 1-2-3 inning in the 3rd on three straight ground ball outs, Rodríguez would pick up his first strikeout opening the 4th on Ozuna, getting him looking at a low fastball. Trap House then hit a single back up the middle, Rodríguez ducking just in time to avoid the liner. It must’ve ticked him off because he would induce a 6-4-3 double-play off the bat of DeJong to end the inning. Rodríguez would need only 25 pitches to get through his 5th and 6th innings of work, retiring all 6 Cardinals he faced.
Gant would keep pace with Rodríguez over his next three innings, working around 4 hits, stranding 4 Giants on base. Posey would knock a one out single in the bottom of the 3rd. But, Gant would bounce back, picking up back-to-back k’s on McCutchen (looking) and Belt, both coming on the 2-seamer. Swags Ozuna opened the bottom of the 4th inning with a nifty play down the LF line, near the Giants bullpen. Ozuna would slide into foul ground, taking away extra bases from Crawford. After Sandoval grounded out to Carp, Panik and Hernández would pick up back-to-back hits. Panik would single and Hernández would double down the LF line, but Panik would be held up at third base after injuring his groin. The Cardinals definitely catching a break. Gant would retire Rodríguez on a grounder to end the inning.
Posey, again, would knock a one out single to RF in the bottom of the 5th. Gant would make sure he was stranded, getting McCutchen to fly out to Bader and ending his inning by striking out Belt for the second time, sending him packing on the vulcan-changeup. The Giants would finally get Gant to crack in the bottom of the 6th, pushing across the go-ahead run. Crawford would pop out to Wong on the first pitch of the inning. The Panda, Pablo Sandoval would then take Gant deep to LCF, muscling up on an inside 2-seam fastball to make it 2-1 Giants. Gant ended his night getting Hernández looking on a fastball.
Gant’s final line: (6IP, 5 hits, 2r/2er, 3 bb, 5 k’s, 96 pitches)
Rodríguez would go back out for the 7th inning, recording two quick outs on Ozuna and Gyorko. DeJong would rip a single to CF, bringing in Wong. Wong would deliver with the biggest hit of the game for the Redbirds, sending an RBI triple off the base of the wall in RF, scoring DeJong to make it 2-2. Oh, side note, of course Tara would be working the @birdsontheblack account for a big Kolten Wong game. Bochy would turn to his bullpen for the final out, going with Reyes Moronta, who would strikeout Bader on a slider.
John Brebbia would throw the 7th inning tonight, and it wasn’t his sharpest of stuff. Pence (pinch-hitting) would leadoff the inning with a single and Hanson would sac-bunt him over to second. With first base open and Posey up, Brebbia would intentionally walk him to bring in McCutchen. McCutchen would rip and RBI single through the left side of the infield, scoring Pence to give the Giants the lead back at 3-2. Brebbia got the final two outs, getting Belt to fly out to Bader and striking out Crawford on a slider.
Sam Tuivailala would work a perfect 8th inning, inducing three ground ball outs on 10 pitches.
Tony Watson and Will Smith, two lefties, would shutdown the bats the final two innings, retiring the side in order both innings. Smith would strikeout Gyorko for the games final out, Giants winning 3-2 to even the series at a game a piece.
Carlos Martínez (5-4, 3.20) will bring a Tsunami alert to the Bay Area Saturday afternoon, as he takes on a struggling Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 6.56). First pitch 3:05 c/t.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 87 is in the books