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Five wild facts from Giants' bizarre win over Angels

NBC Sports
Mike Yastrzemski, Mike Tauchman, Steven Duggar

If this season ends up where it seems headed, you won't really remember this game. It might be one of ninety-something wins, the capper on a quick mini-sweep in Anaheim. The record books will say the Giants won 9-3 and you'll have to squint to see the "(13)" alongside the score.

There's nothing weird about 9-3 ... but on Wednesday, there was just about nothing normal about the game the Giants and Angels played. It started as one of the better pitching matchups of the season and Kevin Gausman and Shohei Ohtani certainly did their part, but even that duel brought a twist. The Angels became the first AL team to let a pitcher hit while facing an NL team with a DH.

"Probably not the easiest game to sum up," manager Gabe Kapler said, smiling. "After the game we walked into the clubhouse and Gausman was in front of the line for high-fives and beginning the celebration and the first question was, 'Did you pitch in this game?' It feels like it was so long ago."

The game lasted four hours and 51 minutes, and it was the first time the Giants went past 11 innings under the new runner-on-second rules. Because they won, they didn't mind one bit.

Here's a look back at some of the wildness:

--- The Angels should have won once in extra innings and could have won a second time. Max Stassi twice swung through ball four with the bases loaded, preventing a walk-off walk by Zack Littell. In the 12th, a frantic sequence ended with a replay overturning the winning run. 

 

Darin Ruf came home on a grounder to first and Juan Lagares initially was ruled safe, but after a review, umpires in New York ruled that he was out. Joe Maddon wasn't pleased. 

"What I saw was a safe call, and when I saw the replay I didn't think there was anything conclusive to overturn it. It's that simple," he said. "I thought it would stand, that's why the call on the field was so important. I don't know exactly who or why they chose to do that. I'm certain that if I started complaining a bit it's not really going to matter. That's part of the system that needs to be improved upon.

"I just would like to see the exact evidence indicating that the call should have been overturned. That's all. That's all you want, 'what were you looking at?' And I would also like to know who made the call. I'm always curious about that."

It's hard to disagree with Maddon, especially about the fact that the rulings should be more public. That's a call that almost always seems to go the way of the call on the field, and it didn't seem like there was conclusive evidence to overturn it. Kapler said he didn't have a high level of confidence it would be overturned.

"That was the most tense moment of the game," he said. 

--- Gausman and Ohtani will face off in the All-Star Game in a few weeks, and their meeting Wednesday was a treat for fans of both sides. They combined for 18 strikeouts and got 40 swinging strikes. 

Ohtani is everywhere on MLB's social media pages these days, and for good reason. What he's doing is simply incredible, and he allowed one run to a very good Giants lineup without even appearing to have his best stuff. He missed a lot with breaking balls and it took some time for his velocity to build up. He told Angels writers that his "body felt heavy" at the beginning of the game but he loosened up.

"He was impressive," Gausman said. "To see from the start of the game, I think he was 92-94 (mph) and it seemed like any time he got in a jam he went to his plus-plus stuff."

The Giants put two on in the fifth but Ohtani dialed it up to 98-99 mph to get Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford out. On the other side, Gausman showed that he's the one with the best splitter in the game right now. 

"It was interesting to see those guys go toe-to-toe," Kapler said. "Obviously the fastball-split combination is not all that different. Ohtani probably mixes in his slider more than Gausman will. Gausman will throw his changeup more. I thought they both pitched very well."

 

--- Ohtani threw 105 pitches, the second-highest total of his career and highest since he had Tommy John surgery in 2019. Even on days they're not scoring, the Giants make every pitcher work. Ohtani threw 24 pitches in the first inning and was at 69 by the end of the fourth. It looked like the fifth would be his final frame, but Maddon pushed him.

"They did a lot of homework on the scouting report. That's how I felt," Ohtani said of the Giants' lineup. "I felt like I could maybe use that to my advantage since they were probably looking at my report really deeply."

--- Perhaps the most incredible part of this game was that Kapler, King of the Line Change, was not the first manager to run out of players in a Giants game this year. The Angels came in shorthanded after Justin Upton's injury and lost the DH when Ohtani was pulled. Kurt Suzuki took a foul tip off the mask in the 12th, and because Maddon already had used Stassi to pinch-hit, he turned to the dreaded emergency catcher. That turned out surprisingly fine.

Taylor Ward, a catcher at Fresno State and early on in his pro career, took over and did a really nice job. If you didn't know any better, it was impossible to tell that he hadn't caught a game since 2017. Pitcher Griffin Canning played left field, and while he didn't get any action, he did put down a perfect bunt and nearly beat it out. 

RELATED: Tauchman bounces back with late homer

Yeah, this was a really weird game. 

--- It wasn't a completely happy flight back home for the Giants. Brandon Belt left with a knee injury and will get an MRI. Kapler didn't have any additional info, but there has to be concern there because Belt had surgery on that knee in 2018. He had his meniscus cleaned up and had a microfracture procedure. Belt has since said that he never really felt back to normal until the 2020 season. 

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