WP: none; LP; none; Save: none (isn’t this bizarre?); Home runs: SF, Jarrett Parker (1), Mac Williamson (2), Kyle Jensen (1); Mil - Nate Orf (1)
There are three main parts of baseball that decide games. Pitching, hitting, and defense. If you do two of the three better than your opponent, you’ll win more than you lose. If you do all three better you’ll win frequently. If you don’t do any of them better you’ll lose frequently.
Today’s game was a fine example of our third scenario.
We’ll combine three pitchers into a three inning stretch, the third fourth, and fifth. Zach Davies, Yovani Gallardo, and Quintin Torres-Costa combined to go three innings, allowing nine hits (five by Torres-Costa), nine runs (five earned - there’s that defensive contribution), with two walks an two homeruns allowed.
OK, I admit it. I started writing this after the top of the ninth, with the Brewers trailing 10-3. And I ignored one more possibility of the three main things thing - if both teams do the three things equally poorly, they will tie. I had on GameDay, and kept checking back as the Brewers kept adding runs with hits, walks, and of course, Giants’ errors. Coming back from seven down in the ninth won’t happen in the regular season (well, rarely) as there are really good pitchers who can come in and get outs while the youngsters that are pitching in spring training can get rattled and fall apart. And to be fair, the Brewers’ youngsters have been generally playing much better than their opponents.
So, that rally: D.J. Snelton came on for the Giants and allowed a double to Tyrone Taylor, was victimized by an error by first baseman Kyle Jensen (on a ball hit by Kyle Wren) that allowed Taylor to score (10-4). Then Snelton walked Nate Orf and gave up a single to Nick Franklin that scored Wren (10-5). After a mound visit Snelton settled down and retired Christian Bethancourt and Jacob Nottingham on flyballs.
After Franklin took second on defensive indifference (which is a stolen base in my book; actually, defensive indifference seemed to be the theme of the day), Keston Hiura singled to score Orf (10-6). That was all for Snelton, and Jordan Johnson came in for the Giants carrying a big container of gasoline, with which he allowed a walk to Troy Stokes, loading the bases. The Giants then committed another error - this one on Johnson when he dropped the throw at first that would have ended the game and allowed Ji-Man Choi to reach. That plated Franklin (10-7) and left the bases loaded.
Taylor made his second appearance of the inning and walked, forcing in Hiura (10-8). Wren tied things up at 10 with a single to right, scoring Stokes and pinch runner Jake Hager. Johnson was politely asked to leave and was replaced on the mound by Casey Kelly, and more “defensive indifference” reared it’s head with Wren taking second. Orf was walked, bringing up Franklin with a chance at his second game winning hit in as many games, but he grounded to first and the Giants miraculously made the play. Both teams were exhausted, so the game was called at that point, a 10-10 tie.
Both teams had seven run innings today, and both scored seven unearned runs. This game will not be used as an instructional video on how to play baseball.
Orf smacked his first homer of the spring, and Franklin and Hiura both had two hits. Freddy Peralta worked two scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth, and was in line for the win if the Giants hadn’t finally remembered how to make a defensive play.
So the Brewers move to 5-1-1 and as the Royals didn’t play today, they remain atop the Cactus League. That seven-run ninth could very well be the deciding factor when all of the desert dust settles at the end of March and the Cactus Cup is awarded.
Thursday’s afternoon contest will have the Brewers on the road to face the D-Backs, with Wade Miley on the mound for the Crew. Zack Godley goes for Arizona, with a scheduled 2:10 start. And it will no longer be February!