SAN FRANCISCO — Andrew McCutchen was honest. He had not heard of Pierce Johnson, Reyes Moronta or Roberto Gomez before sharing a clubhouse with them this spring.
“No, no, no, not at all,” he said. “But it shows what they’re capable of doing.”
The three rookies allowed McCutchen to show what he’s capable of doing. The former MVP was the runaway star in a thrilling 7-5 win over the Dodgers, but you don’t get to the bottom of the 14th without some quality work from your bullpen, and the Giants leaned heavily on three right-handed rookies.
Johnson, the 26-year-old who entered the season with one big league inning under his belt, came first. It was six up, six down for the Dodgers in the 10th and 11th, and Johnson now has five scoreless innings in his first three appearances in orange and black.
Moronta, a 25-year-old who threw 6 2/3 innings last season, took over from there. His first inning might have been the most entertaining of the season for multiple reasons. A walk of Corey Seager had the Giants worrying that wild Moronta might have shown up, but he made Yasiel Puig look foolish with a series of sliders on the outer edge. Cody Bellinger swung through 97 mph for the second out. After a single by Logan Forsythe, it got interesting. The Dodgers were out of position players so Clayton Kershaw got ready to take the on-deck circle with two on. Bruce Bochy went out to talk to Moronta. He wanted him to know that he would intentionally walk Enrique Hernandez to load the bases for Kershaw. Bochy wasn’t worried about Moronta throwing a wild pitch or walking a pitcher, he was worried about Hernandez.
“I would've felt worse if (Hernandez) got a hit,” he said. “I would’ve felt a lot worse.”
The Dodgers pulled Kershaw back and sent Hyun-jin Ryu up. Moronta struck him out before getting through the 13th with the same electric repertoire.
“Every time, I just try to throw strikes,” he said. “And I never forget I have a good fastball.”
If he can harness it, Moronta will soon elevate to a much bigger role. Gomez has a big fastball, too, but he had some tough luck in his one inning. The Dodgers got three straight singles to open the 14th, but the third was a hard shot to third that clanked off Evan Longoria’s glove. Bochy credited Gomez, a 28-year-old with just four appearances prior to this season, with buckling down and keeping it a one-run game. That set the stage for McCutchen, who was all too happy to share the credit with three rookies.
“Those guys did an amazing job,” he said. “They kept us in the ballgame.”