Sam Coonrod had just pitched the best game of his brief professional career. He was perfect in his inning, setting the heart of the Cubs lineup down in order to earn his first career win.
But he had far bigger things on his mind after the Giants’ 5-4, 13-inning victory over the Cubs on Tuesday at Oracle Park.
“I just had a friend whose wife is having some brain issues,” said Coonrod, a 26-year-old righty who made his fifth career appearance. “So you just can’t take anything for granted. Baseball’s just a game. You have to realize that. I’d just like to thank God for my health.”
Coonrod has spent most of his season at Triple-A Sacramento, alongside reliever Pat Venditte. Venditte announced earlier in the day his wife, Erin, is recovering from a brain hemorrhage suffered July 4. Venditte has stepped away from baseball to be there for her. He said a full recovery “would take some time.”
Realizing the hierarchy of priorities, Coonrod did not sound awed to have retired Chicago’s 2-3-4 hitters in the 13th. Javy Baez and Kris Bryant both went down swinging before Anthony Rizzo grounded out.
“It’s baseball,” said Coonrod, who was called up Monday. “So you just try to have fun.”
He had a lot on his mind. He was fortunate to have a second mind working in his favor.
“I really tried not to even worry about that,” Coonrod said of facing the Cubs’ stars. “You have Buster Posey behind the plate, so you just let him call the game and it works out.
“… Buster knows a lot better than I do.