Tuesday, April 23 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Dbacks lead 4 – 0 in the top of the eighth inning. Giants reliever George Kontos is on the mound. Dbacks catcher Miguel Montero is at the plate with one out and nobody on. On a 2-1 count, he hits a ground ball shot between third and short. Pablo Sandoval makes a great diving catch and throws Montero out at first.
It’s the bubble that makes it, the cherry on top of an already sweet play.
The Giants would go on to tie the game with two runs in the eighth inning and two more in the ninth on a Brandon Belt home run, forcing the game into extra innings. Unfortunately, the Dbacks would tack on two more runs in the top of the 11th thanks to a bevy of Giants errors.
Dbacks won, 6-4.
When I was a kid, I used to love the board game Clue. You know, the one where you have to figure out not only who committed the murder of poor Mr. Boddy in the mansion, but where he or she did it and with which murder weapon. Was it Colonel Mustard with the dagger in the study? Or maybe it was Mrs. Peacock with the candlestick in the kitchen.
Last night, the Giants created their own murder mystery versus the Arizona Diamondbacks. They seemed so alive coming back from a four-run deficit going into the eighth inning, picking up two runs in the bottom of the eighth then tying the game 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth on a dramatic two-run home run by Brandon Belt. It looked like yet another come-from-behind victory for the Gigantes.
Then, as the game went into extra innings, the slow killing of that potential victory started to occur.
There were so many suspects in so many places leaving so many clues. Let’s take a look at a few of them and try to figure out who, ultimately, murdered the Giants’ chances.
Tim Flannery in the third base coach box with the “Go Pablo” sign?
With two outs in the bottom of the tenth, Pablo Sandoval hits a ground ball double to right field. Then D-backs pitcher Brad Ziegler intentionally walks Buster Posey. That brings Hunter Pence to the plate. On the second pitch, Pence hits a ground ball to Cody Ross in right field. Ross, as any Giants fan knows, has a great arm. But despite this, and despite the fact that the hot-hitting Brandon Belt is on deck, third base coach Tim Flannery decides to send Sandoval home. Instead of scoring the winning run, Sandoval is thrown out by a good ten feet.
Andres Torres in left field with the brain freeze?
In the top of the 11th with one out, D-backs shortstop Didi Gregorius hits a fly ball between left and center that Andres Torres gives up on. For some reason, after Torres catches the ball on a bounce, he turns to look at center fielder Angel Pagan before throwing to second. The hesitation allows Gregorius to reach second easily.
Brandon Belt at first base with the hole in his glove?
Again in the top of the 11th, D-backs pinch-hitter Alfredo Marte hits a ground ball to third that Sandoval gloves. Sandoval looks Gregorius back to second before throwing a one-hopper to Brandon Belt at first. Belt has caught these kinds of throws from Sandoval a million times. But perhaps because he’s anticipating his own throw back to Sandoval as he sees Gregorius break for third, Belt takes his eye off the ball and fails to catch it. Now there are men on first and third with one out.
Buster Posey behind the plate with the hole in his glove?
D-backs left fielder Gerardo Parra is up next. One the second pitch, Santiago Casilla throws a ball in the dirt that Buster Posey allows to get by him. Gregorius scores from third and Marte advances to second. 5-4 D-backs.
Santiago Casilla on the pitcher’s mound with the fastball?
Casilla then throws a fastball down the middle that Parra lines into the gap between left and center. Marte scores. Parra reaches second. 6-4 D-backs.
Brandon Belt between first and second with the poor base running skills (or, alternatively, Andre Torres at the plate with the double-play ball)?
With the Giants down to their final three outs in the bottom of the 11th, Brandon Belt comes to the plate and hits a line drive single to center. Andres Torres then comes up. He hits a ground ball to D-backs second baseman Martin Prado. The ball reaches Prado before Belt does, but instead of stopping and forcing Prado to either a) throw to second for the force out and possibly allow Torres to reach first, or b) try and tag him, thus allowing Torres to reach first, or c) throw to first, thus allowing Belt to advance to second, Belt instead runs right into Prado’s tag, which allows Prado time to throw the ball to first for the double play.
Brandon Crawford would then ground out, killing the Giants’ final chance.
So many clues. But it has been so long since I played the game. I’m a little rusty.
I leave it to you to decide.