Greek Giant

Today’s headline comes courtesy of Hunter Pence who uttered those words right after Michael Conforto caught the final out of last night’s thrilling, chilling, stupendous, momentous, epic 7-6 win over the Cubs in Wrigley. This was more than a win, Giants fans. This was a statement! This was a game that practically had it all, from missed pop-ups to booming blasts, from plays at the plate to plays in the field, to bad umpiring to horrendous umpiring. It was unforgettable and it came courtesy of a dramatic three-run home run by Thairo Estrada in the top of the ninth inning to give the Giants the lead when they were trailing 6-4 and appeared on the way to another disappointing loss.

Let’s begin with the fact that this was a pitcher’s duel in the first innings with Jordan Hicks and Javier Assad trading zeroes. Assad was the beneficiary of at least three horrible strike three calls that sent Giants batters back to the dugout shaking their heads. To say it was an expanded strike zone by home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez would be an understatement. I dare say that were I the Giants Manager I would have been ejected after the third egregious strike three call. But that’s me. Fortunately for the Giants Bob Melvin demonstrated a level head.

But back to the game. So the Giants entered the fop of the fourth inning with Chapman and Conforto going down quietly (You don’t need to know the details). The inning was looking like another zero against Assad until out of nowhere Jorge Soler worked a walk on a very close pitch that was mercifully correctly called a ball. Then Yaz tripled off the wall in right and Soler scored to give the Giants the lead, 1-0. If you want to see a thing of beauty, watch Yaz run the bases. He starts fast and never lets up. He cuts corners perfectly and knows how to slide perfectly. It’s always bothered me when players in the Major Leagues get hurt running the bases or sliding. It should never happen when you follow the fundamentals. Yaz’s baserunning was sublime and perfect and so was Soler’s, to be honest. He busted it from first right off contact with two outs and scored standing up.

That’s when things got interesting.

In the bottom of the fifth with one out and runners on first and third Cody Bellinger hit a fly ball to shallow right that Patrick Wisdom, who was on third base, tried to tag up and score on. But Yaz, aware of the situation, took an aggressive rush into to catch the ball and perfectly timed his throwing motion to keep his momentum forward and made a perfect one-hop throw to Patrick Bailey to nail Wisdom by three feet. It was a fantastic play and a fine tag by Bailey as well.

The game would stay 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Cubs, who have been struggling mightily offensively of late, scored two runs on a Michael Busch home run with two outs to give the Cubs a temporary 2-1 lead. Busch’s homer scored Hoerner who hit an infield single earlier in the inning to Brett Wisely but that’s not the full story. That infield single should have been an out. It was a routine, somewhat slowly hit ball to shortstop that Wisely did not field aggressively enough. To make matters worse Wisely was off balance and made a weak two-hop throw to first. It should have been an out. Instead it lead to two runs.

In the top of the seventh inning the Giants got those two runs back to take a 3-2 lead in the game. It all started with an Heliot Ramos home run to right that was hard, way hard and way back. Ramos is still on fire, ladies and gentlemen. That hit really fired up the Giants who would score another run later in the inning when Thairo Estrada was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. It could have been a bigger inning but we’re not going to quibble here.

In the bottom of the seventh the Cubs answered again.

You see how up and down, topsy-turvy this game was! I told you it was epic and I meant it.

The Cubs would get three runs on a booming blast by Ian Happ deep into left field that probably did some damage to some architecture. It was a ball that was simply mascerated. It sent the Cubs and the Chicago fans into a frenzy reminiscent of 2016. But again, those runs never should have happened because with one out Christopher Morel hit a routine pop up between first and second on the infield grass that Trenton Brooks decided not to catch. The ball fell in front of Thairo Estrada just behind Brooks and it was a gift base runner that later cost the Giants and pitcher Erik Miller. The play was scored a hit and so all the runs were officially earned but it was a good-old fashioned defensive cluster-F***K. It simply should not happen and it came about, in my opinion, because of Brooks’s inexperience at first base.

Boy do the Giants miss LaMonte Wade Jr.!

That homer made it 6-3 Cubs heading into the top of the eighth inning when Patrick Bailey hit a monster smash off the scoreboard. That home run was one of the most impressive long balls you will ever see by anyone. Bailey admired it a bit. The Cubs may end up sending him an invoice for repairs because without doubt that scoreboard is no longer functional. The homer made it 6-4 Giants which is how the game remained until the magical top of the ninth inning that went like this:

  • Conforto grounds out
  • Soler reaches on catcher’s interference
  • Yaz walks

Then, perhaps the biggest hit of his career: Thairo Estrada sent a low and inside slider deep into left to give the Giants a 7-6 lead they would not relinquish. The Cubs announcer’s called it a “heartbreaker’ and a Cub-killer it was. It was a sensational homer in a big spot, the kind of hit the Giants have been begging for all season. Estrada let out the full gamut of emotional anguish and joy while he was running the bases. Just look at the photo above!

Camilo Doval pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth and that was the ball game!

Jordan Hicks would pitch six strong innings and allow zero runs on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Now if Hicks could cut down on those walks he could get another inning but right now the Giants are beggars when it comes to starting pitching so they will take it.

The Highlights

Tonight’s Game

It’s Webb Vs Steel tonight in game two of the series at Wrigley Field. Game time is set for 7:05 PM Chicago time.