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Rogers rewards Kapler's faith in big Giants win vs. Dodgers

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Curt Casali Tyler Rogers

LOS ANGELES -- When the 27th out was recorded on Wednesday night and a sellout Dodger Stadium crowd started to head for the parking lot after the Giants' 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tyler Rogers walked toward the plate for a handshake and hug from catcher Curt Casali. But Rogers didn't immediately follow that by meeting the rest of his teammates, as is tradition. 

He quickly jogged to the plate and scooped up the catcher's mask Casali had flung aside as he jumped out of the crouch to get the final out. The reliever was picking up a veteran teammate, which felt pretty appropriate. The rest of the Giants had been there for Rogers after one of the worst outings of his career 24 hours earlier, and he rewarded their faith. 

Rogers didn't record an out Tuesday night while giving up the lead, but 15 minutes after Will Smith's walk-off, manager Gabe Kapler sat in front of a Zoom camera and forcefully insisted that he wanted Rogers back in that spot. 

"I can't wait to get Tyler Rogers back out on the mound," Kapler said Tuesday. "I could not have more faith in Tyler Rogers and I can't wait to get him back out there so we can turn the page and put this one behind him."

Kapler didn't hesitate when Wilmer Flores hit a two-run homer off Kenley Jansen a night later. Rogers was his choice and he started warming up right away. After the top half of the inning, he came in and easily put the Dodgers away. 


"That was huge to get right back out there and not have to try and forget about it another day," Rogers said. "Man, it's just so cool just to see all the guys in the clubhouse happy for me and I'm happy for all of them. Kapler showing the trust in me personally was huge for my confidence tonight."

Rogers got the call right away, but he had some time to sit and think about potential redemption. The top of the ninth was lengthy, with the Giants loading the bases, chasing Jansen and tacking on another run.

Rogers said he was like a duck, with a calm exterior "but underneath I'm going crazy." He heard some not-so-kind words from Dodgers fans surrounding the bullpen but said he wanted to relish that opportunity. 

Because baseball loves nothing more than a good storyline, the first batter waiting for Rogers was Smith. He flied out to right on a low fastball. Cody Bellinger and A.J. Pollock both grounded out, clinching the 11th save for Rogers, who lowered his ERA to an even 2.00. 

"Look, he's been our guy in the biggest situations, so this is actually more normal than anything else," Kapler said. "(Pitching coach) Andrew Bailey had a ton of conviction that this was definitely the right move for the club to do it tonight, and look, Rogers deserves all the credit. He's been great all year long and he had a hiccup yesterday. That's part of the game but I'm thrilled for him. He's a great competitor and he's been rock-solid for our club and everyone in that room depends on him."

After he retrieved the mask, Rogers joined Casali in the handshake line. When he got to Kapler he went in for a big hug. 

"I just wanted to tell him that I appreciate what he did," Rogers said. "Basically I just wanted to thank him. That's what I told him. I said thank you."

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After that, there was only one other thing to do. On Tuesday, Rogers said he would have a Bud Light and try to wash off the loss. He was eager to get back out there, and a few hours later he took advantage of the opportunity. 

"Absolutely, I'm going to have a celebratory Bud Light," Rogers said, smiling. 

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