It took a long while for Tyler Anderson to get there. Eighty major league games, 76 starts. Five years, his first four in Colorado.
It took a few surgeries, the last of which spelled the end of his time with the Rockies, who DFA’d him and the Giants pounced.
It took 30 years for the Giants starter to earn his first complete game. But to get it done, he had to rush.
Anderson got the ball and delivered with little fuss, the only notable pauses coming from the hitch in his windup that also messes with hitters’ timing. He wanted to get through the Diamondbacks fast, which is exactly what he did.
“You can see the [opposing batters] trying to call timeout, as quick as possible,” his catcher for much of the game, Chadwick Tromp, said after the Giants’ 5-1 victory at Oracle Park on Saturday. “And that just shows you — even if the umpire gives a hitter a timeout and then he comes back in, it’s still in the back of his head that this guy’s going. I think it definitely makes a difference on the hitters.
“If they don’t call timeout, we just keep rolling with it.”
It amounted to a game that spanned a refreshing 2 hours, 43 minutes — despite eight walks from Diamondbacks pitchers. It amounted to a 103-pitch masterpiece that did not risk or cost the bullpen. It amounted to the Giants’ fifth straight win, pushing them to 13-16 with seven games before the trade deadline.
Anderson got the ball and wanted to throw without much awareness of the personal history he was chasing. He had gone eight innings in the past (and not past five this year), but never finished off his own game.
“Probably in the ninth inning with two outs,” Anderson said, asked when he began to believe he could go the distance. “I was like damn, I might be able to get through this thing.”
He did it without traditionally overpowering stuff; his fastest pitch was a 93-mph fastball. His cutter was excellent, his changeup his best pitch in allowing just three hits, no walks and one unearned run while striking out four.
The Diamondbacks could not figure him out, and they went quickly.
“He attacked with his changeup and early in the game was really off barrels,” said Gabe Kapler, who never pulled an efficient Anderson. “As the game went on he made adjustments, used his cutter, his fastball maintained velocity, which gave us confidence to keep sending him back out there. He hit 91 a couple of times in the ninth. Just an all-around gutsy performance.”
From the Giants’ right fielder, too. Kapler called Mike Yastrzemski’s play that temporarily kept Anderson’s shutout going as “flat-out fearless.”
Yastrzemski ranged back in the sixth on a ball Ketel Marte had slammed to deep right, an on-first Kole Calhoun rounding the bases with two outs. The Giants were trying to protect a 1-0 lead; Yastrzemski was not trying to protect himself as he got to the wall, timed his jump and landed hard — ball still in the glove.
“I was so pumped up,” said Anderson, who just kept staring from around the mound rather than retreat to the dugout. “I was amazed he caught it, and then I just wanted to make sure he got up.”
YAZ HE DID! 😲
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) August 23, 2020
“Just hit my funny bone,” Yastrzemski said over Zoom. “Kind of just shot down my arm a little bit, just a little tingling.”
Yastrzemski said he just wanted to make a play for his pitcher, who was rolling.
Anderson said he just wanted to cover some innings for the bullpen, which he has taxed in the past.
A lot of Giants playing for one another. A lot of different players stepping up in different ways.
“It is encouraging,” Kapler said. “Because in order for a team to win even something like a winning streak like we have right now, you need contributions from up and down the lineup. You need your bullpen to come through in big situations. You need your starting pitcher to go deep enough into games where you’re not running through bullpen arms. You need people to contribute on defense and make plays. I think that’s what we’ve seen over the last couple games.”
They’ve seen it in a hurry.