The San Francisco Giants JD Davis connects for RBI double against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Sun Sep 18, 2022 (AP News photo)
Los Angeles (101-44). 4. 6. 1
San Francisco (69-77). 3. 6. 0. 10 innings
Sunday, September 18, 2022
By Lewis Rubman
SAN FRANCISCO–Nothing in the record of Andrew Heaney, who started for Los Angeles in this afternoon’s heart breaking 4-3 Giants loss to the Dodgers in the NL West champions’ warm up for the postseason suggests that he is a Giant killer.
The southpaw, whose overall record for the year was 3-2, 2.84. was 1-3, 6.92 lifetime against San Francisco. He’s faced them twice this year, pitching decently here on August 1 but lasting only four innings, in which he yielded a run on four hits. In his other, most recent start, the Giants got to him for six runs, all earned, on six hits in six innings, handing him his second loss of the season
This afternoon, however, the nine year veteran southpaw turned in an outstanding performance, although as he had in August, Heaney went a mere four innings into the game. He shut the Giants out on two hits and a walk, striking out eight. He threw 65 pitches, of which 44 were strikes. He left with a. 1-0 lead without having lasted long enough to get a decision but did bring his ERA down to 2.66.
On the bump for the slumping hosts was 6-6, 3.48 Alex Cobb. When the Dodgers had gotten through dealing with their hosts, those numbers were unchanged. Cobb, as the Giants game notes never fail to tell us, has expected earned run and fielding independent pitching averages well below his real ones; 3.09 vs. 3.48 and 2.83 vs. 2.88, respectively.
I recognize the importance of statistical analysis, but I put at least as much emphasis on the noun as on the adjective. A statistician is, as the old quip has it, someone who drowns crossing a river that has an average depth of three feet.
Cobb’s performance today was what you’d expect from his real, not expected ERA. The 6’1″,207 lb. righty went 5-1/3 innings, in which he allowed two runs, both earned, which left his ERA where it was when he began, 3.48. He yielded four hits and three walks, throwing 95 pitches, 60 for strikes. He wasn’t involved in the decision, the loss being charged to John Brebbia in relief. He’s now 6-2, 2.90.
From the start, the strong winds off the bay were a frequent problem for whichever team was in the field; Mookie Betts’ game opening windblown fly was Los Angeles’ only hit until the top of the fourth.
Heliot Ramos’s racing catch of Trea Turner’s wind aided fly to deep right in the third and a brief spell of sunshine drew more applause than anything else until Justin Turner’s line drive just over the glove of a leaping Evan Longoria with Freddie Freeman on first and nobody out landed in in left field for an RBI double that put LA ahead 1-0.
A portion of the crowd, which was fairly evenly divided between Dodger and Giant fans, roared its approval. One out later, Ramos made another spectacular catch, this time of Tayce Thompson’s drive to deep right center caused an uproar from the other portion. Then, with Chris Taylor at bat, the clouds burst, the field was inundated, and the game was suspended at 5:15.
Play resumed some 20 minutes later, with Cobb striking Taylor out looking.
Thairo Estrada, leading off for the Giants immediately after the strikeout, stroked the orange and gold’s first safety of the day, a single to right center. David Villar took a called third strike. Then Wilmer Flores smacked an automatic double that would have scored Estrada had it not hopped over the left center field fence at the Konica Minolta advertisement.
A walk to JD Davis loaded the bases with one down.. But Heaney stopped the Giants’ in their tracks, fanning Longoria and Bart on fastballs in the mid 90s.
Fellow portsider Caleb Ferguson relieved Heaney to start the home fifth and yielded a full count leadoff double by Lewis Brinson that flew over the glove of the leaping Max Muncy at third into left field.
Brinson moved up to third with a head first slide on Luis González’s fly out to center and held his base when Heliot Ramos grounded out to third. Estrada then sent a grounder to short on which Trea Turner made a nice play, but his throw to first was high and drew Freeman off the bag, allowing Brinson to score the unearned run that tied the game.
Los Angeles came roaring back in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double to right center by that selfsame Turner. Brinson, whose slide into third had resembled a stumble, seemed to slip in his attempt to get to ball.
Freeman then drove that Turner home with a single to right that put LA back head, 2-1 and brought the other Turner, Justin, to the plate. He hit a hard liner to left that González caught for the first one. But that was enough to end Cobb’s outing. Lefty Scott Alexander took his place on the mound and shut the Dodgers down without further damage in spite of a single by Muncy.
Ferguson gave way to righty Phil Bickford, who disposed of the Giants in the bottom without allowing a base runner.
Alexander pitched to one batter in the seventh, retiring Cody Bellinger on a line drive to Davis at first. Submariner Tyler Rogers put his particular spin on things, retiring Austin Barnes and Mookie Betts out on nine pitches and retiring the side in order in the eighth.
Evan Phillips pitched the home seventh for the visitors. He allowed a single to LaMonte Wade, Jr., hitting for Bart, but struck out his other three adversaries, including Yastrzemski, who hit for Brinson.
Alex Vesia’s first acts on assuming mound duties for Los Angeles in the bottom of the eighth was to walk number nine hitter Ramos and number one hitter Estrada. Pederson made an ill-advised attempt to bunt with two strikes and struck out.
Flores sent Bellinger to the Konica-Minolta sign, where he made a leaping catch of the Giants’ second sacker’s drive for the second out, Ramos taking third on the play. Then Davis tied the game with an automatic double over the right center field fence that brought in Ramos.
After an intentional pass to Longoria that loaded the bases, the rally ended with Wade going down swinging.
Camilo Doval tried to preserve the tie in the top of the ninth. He started off inauspiciously with a four pitch walk to Muncy but recovered to whiff Thompson and Taylor and get Bellinger to fly out to Ramos in right.
Now Craig Kimbrel had to keep the Giants off the board to keep the Dodgers in the game. Yaz popped out to third. Austin Wynns, now the catcher, grounded out to short. Ramos was fooled on an 0-2 knuckle curve and went down swinging for the third out. Kimbrel was the eventual winning pitcher and now. is 5-6, 3.96.
John Brebbia, who started yesterday’s bullpen game, came in to pitch the 10th inning in tonight’s extra inning thriller. Austin Barnes sacrificed zombie runner Bellinger to third, and Betts drove him in by lacing in a double to left.
Trea Turner smacked deep right, on which Ramos made a beautiful catch and a strong throw, but Betts reached third safely. Brebbia granted an intentional walk to Freeman, stole second, and an unintentional. one to Justin Turner to clog the basepaths.
Thomas Szapucki to the rescue! Vain hope! Szapucki walked Muncy, with his BA of .201, to force in the second Dodger tally of the frame and reload the bases. Szkapucki whiffed Thompson to allow San Francisco a reasonable chance of turning things around against Andre Jackson, who had pitched two big league innings so far this season.
Ramos was, of course, the placed baserunner. Jackson walked Estrada. Pederson almost gave the Giants the win with a drive to the portals in right that moved Ramos to third. Flores dropped a single to right that brought in Ramos.
Estrada stopped at second, in scoring position with one down. After an eight pitch at bat, Davis went down swinging for the second out. It now was a battle between Jackson and Longoria. The count went to 3-2 before the Giants’ third baseman walked to load the bases.
Now it was Justin Bruihl the lefty who got the final out in last night’s Dodger win, pitching for them against LaWade, Jr. He drove a 2-2 pitch into McCovey Cove … just a few feet to the right of the foul pole. Then, on a full count, Wade grounded out, first Freeman to Bruihl, who gained his first major league save.
The players of the game today were the grounds crew, who kept the field in playing condition in spite of the repeated soakings it endured.
The Giants move on to Denver tomorrow, where Jakob Junis (4-6, 4.15) will face the Blake Street Bombers, who will counter with Chad Kuhl (6-9, 5.33). Game time is 5:40 pm, Pacific time.