San Francisco Giants pitcher Carlos Rodon pitches against the Detroit Tigers line up in the top of the first inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Tue Jun 28, 2022 (AP News photo)
Detroit (28-45). 3. 10. 0
San Francisco (40-33). 4. 7. 0
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
By Lewis Rubman
SAN FRANCISCO–Clichés are the damnedest things. The word comes from a 19th century French printing technique that worked like a sort of mechanical stamp pad, along the lines of the Address-o-Graph, in which dog tags were pressed into an ink pad and then against envelopes. That’s how mass mailings were addressed before the advent of computers.
This etymology has given the cliché a bad reputation, only partially deserved. Clichés can be boring, lifeless, repetitious. They also can be precise and illuminating. But not always.
Take that old baseball cliché, the June swoon. It would be comforting-providing cold comfort, but comfort nonetheless, if we could believe that the San Francisco Giants (40-33) were suffering a June swoon, but they’re not.
They entered the month at 27-23, .540, 6-1/2 games behind the division leading Dodgers. They came to play today at 39-33, 5.42. Their opponents, the Detroit Tigers (28-45), left May at 21-30, .412, eight games behind the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central Race.
They slipped to 28-44, .389 at game time, still trailing the Twinkees, but now by 12 games. These teams have been swooning a long time.
One Giant came to the park this evening on the heels of a great month. Carlos Rodón’s combination of four seamers, sliders, curves, and changeups had earned him a record of 2-1, 1.20, with an opponents’ BA of .159 since May Day.
Overall, he was 6-4, 2.70 for the season. He exited the game after hurling six excellent innings and surrendering a lone run, which was earned, on seven hits and no walks, although he did throw a wild pitch.
He notched four punch outs and made 86 deliveries, 56 of which were counted as strikes, lowering his ERA to 2,62. He was rewarded with the win, bringing his W-L numbers to 7-4.
Rodón’s opposite number for the Detroiters, Tarik Skubal, Rodón’s opposite number, hadn’t been as successful.. The Tiger lefty did have a June swoon, going 2-3, 5.91 in the past 25 days, making him 5-5, 3.63 for the year.
He had to work hard tonight, and although his activity wasn’t particularly efficient, it was adequate. It took him 108 pitches, of which 42 were balls to complete his 4-2/3 innings on the mound.
He allowed three runs, all earned, but one of them came after he had left the game, which he did after yielding four hits and four walks against five strikeouts. He would take the loss to make him 5-6 and raise his ERA to 3.75.
The home team jumped out to an early lead. Austin Slater got caught looking at a third strike to start the bottom of the first. Then Wilmer Flores waited out a full count walk and motored to third on Joc Pederson’s opposite field down the line double against the shift.
The runners held their bases when Darin Ruf grounded out to second baseman Jonathan Schoop playing in the shift to the left of the sack, but they both scored on Evan Longoria’s single to center, giving San Francisco a 2-0 advantage.
San Francisco put another deuce on the board in the bottom of the fifth. With two down, Skubal walked Darin Ruf. That brought Evan Longoria to the plate and Wily Peralta out of the bullpen. The Giants’ third baseman hit a little number in front of the plate and beat Peralta’s throw to first, putting runners on first and second.
They were on second and third after the Detroit reliever uncorked a wild pitch with Yastrzemski at the plate. Yaz followed with a single to right that brought in both runners. One run was charged against each pitcher, and the frame ended with a 4-0 lead for the home team.
Detroit finally put a run on the board in the top of the sixth. With one out, Robbie Grossman smacked Rodón’s favorite pitch, the four seamer into deep right field for a double and went to third on a wild pitch to Miguel Cabrera, who singled to left for his 24th RBI of the season, which gave him 1,828 so far in his 19+ year career. It kept the Bengals in the game, 4-1.
John Brebbia took over SF’s pitching duties in the top of the seventh, and Detroit took advantage of Rodón’s departure. Willi Castro led off with a double to deep right center, and Jeimer Candelario doubled down with an automatic two bagger to straight away center that halved the Giant’s lead to 4-2 before Brebbia recovered and retired the next three batters.
Andrew Chafin replaced Peralta in the home half of the frame and allowed nothing more harmful than a walk to Flores and fly out to the left field warning track by Longoria.
Dominic Leone, coming in to pitch the eighth, retired his first two batters, with a little help from an acrobatic catch by Yaz of Cabrera’s liner to right for the second out. Right after that, he walked Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson.
Willi Castro sliced a single to left, scoring Greene with Detroit’s third tally and moving Torkelson to second. Leone and Candelario battled to a full count, and then the bases were loaded as Candelario managed to check his swing on a cutter that missed the plate.
Enter Camilo Doval. He got two quick strikes on Schoop, who then fouled off a cut fastball and took another for a 1-2 count. He swung at a slider and missed.
Joe Jiménez, coming into the game for Detroit in the bottom of the eighth, retired the side in order, keeping the Giant’s slim margen a mere one run at 4-3.
Doval returned to the hill for the ninth, looking for his 12th save in 14 opportunities. He struck out Eric Haase, who had entered the game as catcher in the bottom of the seventh.
Doval then walked the veteran Robbie Grossman on four pitches, bringing up the veteran Javier Báez, who grounded into a 6-4-3 game ending double play. Or was it? Detroit appealed the call at first. But it was upheld, and San Francisco had won a thriller.
The two fairly evenly matched orange and black teams will go at it again tomorrow at 12:45 with Detroit sending Rony García (2-2, 4.57) against San Francisco’s Alex Wood (5-6, 5.05) to conclude this two game series at Oracle Park.