In a first half that at times has not made sense (are Alex Dickerson and Austin Slater their best hitters?), the Giants crammed everything weird into one nine-inning game.
In the penultimate matchup before the All-Star break, Madison Bumgarner was forced to leave early and only outlasted the home-plate umpire by a few innings. Multiple routine flyballs dropped and a pinch-hit grand slam made the difference as the Giants survived, winning 8-4 over the Cardinals in front of 32,487 lively and often confused fans at Oracle Park on Saturday.
First, the most pertinent for the Giants: Bumgarner’s X-rays were negative, and the star has an elbow contusion. Jose Martinez, the second batter of the game, lined a 98.3-mph shot off Bumgarner’s left (throwing) arm, yet Bumgarner stayed in the game after getting looked over.
He had a large welt just above the left elbow and returned to the mound to begin to warm up for the third inning when Bruce Bochy and trainer Dave Groeschner trailed him and pulled him in a 1-1 game that was handed to a parade of relievers. If Martinez’s hit was the most earth-shaking of the night for the Giants, the game’s biggest hit occurred soon after.
That came in the fourth, when the Giants (40-48) loaded the bases accidentally. A lazy Joe Panik flyball to Tyler O’Neill in left fell, O’Neill camped under it until he either lost it in the lights or believed he was getting waved off. That loaded the bases for Slater, pinch-hitting for reliever Sam Dyson, and he drove a Miles Mikolas slider to right and just cleared the wall, putting the Giants up 5-1. It was Slater’s second homer of the season, in which he’s now 6-for-11.
The Giants tacked on three more in the seventh, one on a Dickerson triple and two on a Pablo Sandoval homer, his 11th of the year but his first as a righty hitter.
The second wave of the Giants’ attack came with Lance Barrett calling balls and strikes from behind the plate after Mike Everitt exited in the sixth. A 97-mph Reyes Moronta fastball went from his hand to O’Neill’s bat to Everitt’s mask, the veteran umpire immediately looking shaken.
A long pause ensued, as Everitt was checked upon and eventually walked off the field under his own power. No update was available on Everitt’s health.
The game was down an ump and up an oddity. Restoring some sense of sanity was Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, hitting a three-run homer off Tony Watson, the Giants killer predictably killing the Giants again. The Cardinals threatened for more in the inning, but a running Kevin Pillar catch on the warning track of a Matt Wieters flyball helped end the hope.