There was baseball history, with another Yastrzemski homering at Fenway Park. There was Giants history, their 13 pitchers used setting a new franchise record in a world-renowned park they never visit. There was a game that started as electric as games get.
And then there was a game that wouldn’t end. And in the end — the real, true end to a matchup that lasted nearly six hours — there were a few somewhat forgotten standouts in the 2019 season, Alex Dickerson pinch-hitting a sacrifice fly to drive in Donovan Solano, to give the Giants their first victory at Fenway Park in more than 100 years.
On a day of a few real, significant baseball moments that became a night when baseball wouldn’t cease, the Giants eventually got to the Boston bullpen in the 15th inning and held on for a 7-6 win to open their series in Boston — their first victory at Fenway since June 3, 1915, when they beat the Boston Braves. They had never beaten the Red Sox in the regular season at Fenway.
And boy, did it take some drama to get this one, the Giants giving meaning to the term “outlasted.”
The breakthrough came against Trevor Kelley, the 11th Boston pitcher who worked on the night, a number Bruce Bochy must sneer at. Solano hit a ground-rule double then advanced on a wild pitch, and Dickerson’s deep fly to center — his second at-bat since returning from his oblique injury — was enough to get Bochy his 1,999th career win.
The Giants improved to 73-78 in one of the hardest-earned Bochy victories of his lifetime. Logan Webb to Andrew Suarez to Tyler Rogers to Fernando Abad to Jandel Gustave to Sam Coonrod to Will Smith to Shaun Anderson to Sam Selman to Birch Smith to Wandy Peralta to Kyle Barraclough to Dereck Rodriguez did the job. Eventually, at least.
Rodriguez was the last man standing, the former starter going two solid innings to pick up the win. A couple innings earlier, the Giants didn’t think he would be needed.
The Giants cracked into the Boston bullpen for the first time in the 13th against old friend Andrew Cashner. Kevin Pillar singled to lead off the inning, and Brandon Crawford doubled off the Green Monster, which Andrew Benintendi mishandled, allowing Pillar to come all the way around for the go-ahead run.
It wouldn’t stand up.
Selman put two on with one out and gave the ball to Burch Smith, who got another out but loaded the bases. In came Kyle Barraclough, who walked Juan Centano for the game-tying run.
However Tuesday ended, in the start of just their third interleague visit to Fenway Park, it was going to be the Yastrzemski game, the first time a Yaz played at Fenway Park since 1983.
And, as it turned out, the first time a Yastrzemski homered at Fenway Park since July 31, 1983. That would be No. 451 of Carl’s legendary, Hall of Fame career. No. 20 for his grandson must have felt nice, too.
Facing Nathan Eovaldi in his third plate appearance at the park he frequented as a kid, Mike Yastrzemski got a 3-1 fastball up and over the plate and hammered it 401 feet to center in the fourth inning, becoming the second Giant (Pillar was the first) to hit 20 this season, and igniting hundreds of cheers from Yastrzemskis around the stadium. Mike had gotten a standing ovation his first at-bat, and he was treated as kindly as any visiting player could hope to be treated in Boston.
Well, that's really cool. pic.twitter.com/QfgQF0lMsm
— Mark W. Sanchez (@MarkWSanchez) September 18, 2019
The Giants had jumped out to a big lead in the third, when, in the span of six batters, Yastrzemski and Evan Longoria walked, Stephen Vogt had an RBI double, Pillar an RBI ground out and Crawford an RBI single. It turned a 1-1 game into a 4-1 Giants lead, and Yastrzemski’s blast the following inning made it 5-1.
But from there until the 13th, their only hits came from Mauricio Dubon (a ninth-inning single, and he was wiped out on a pickoff) and Longoria (whose 12th-inning single turned into a Stephen Vogt double play). What started as a Boston party turned into a slumber party.
The Giants’ bullpen was an issue for a change, with Suarez relieving Webb in the sixth and watching a 5-2 lead become a 5-5 tied game. Suarez, the lefty, allowed one inherited runner to score on a one-out Mitch Moreland double, the first of three hits in four batters. Christian Vazquez’s double scored another run, then he stole third and tied it up on a Suarez wild pitch.
Webb was at times wild, at times brilliant and overall acceptable. The 22-year-old, getting his first start since the Giants decided on him as the fifth starter over Dereck Rodriguez, sounded some sirens in the second, when — after getting the first four batters in order, including two strikeouts — he issued three straight walks to load the bases. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s single tied the game at 1-1, but Webb bore down and that was the only damage of the inning.
He was perfect through the third and fourth before Bradley, again the problem Red Sock, homered to begin the fifth.
The rookie, who now sports a 6.51 ERA, gave up a leadoff triple to Sam Travis in the sixth — Travis quickly and unfortunately getting knocked out of the game, as he lost his helmet rounding the bases and Brandon Crawford’s relay throw nailed him in the head. He looked woozy and walked off under his own power.
After striking out Brock Holt, Webb’s day was done, but Suarez did him no favors.
Apart from Yastrzemski, there were three other Boston-area Giants of note. Mauricio Dubon, who came up with the Red Sox and has said he’s friends with basically their whole lineup, made a nice sliding play to his left in the eighth inning that nearly jump-started a double play, but Bradley beat out the throw to first. Though Dubon made up for it in the ninth, when he got picked off first base.
Shaun Anderson, who spent his first two pro seasons, 2016 and ’17, with Boston, pitched a clean 11th and 12th to keep the game going, a nice bounce-back from him after Saturday’s blowup. The outing included a 14-pitch war with Gorkys Hernandez, whom Anderson finally retired for the last out of the 11th.
And it was a tough day for Chris Shaw, who will be celebrating Chris Shaw Day in Lexington, Mass., on Wednesday. The Boston College grad, in his first start of the year, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts as DH before being pinch-hit for in the eighth.