OAKLAND -- Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting dugout on Sunday morning and spent a few minutes reminiscing about some of what he has seen and learned while managing 4,000 games in the big leagues.
Bochy, in his 25th season, is a picture of longevity. His roster is dotted with players who are #ForeverGiants. Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt all started Sunday against the A's, and none of them have ever known another uniform. Ditto for Madison Bumgarner, who took the ball Saturday. It's possible one or two of those guys may never play for a team other than the Giants.
Because of all that, it's easy to forget sometimes just how long Evan Longoria has been doing this, and just how good he has been in his career. Longoria spent 10 years all the way across the country in Tampa Bay, making three All-Star teams and piling up down-ballot MVP votes.
He's been a good big leaguer for a long time, and on Sunday, while reaching a milestone, he provided a reminder that he's still pretty damn dangerous with a bat in his hands. Longoria homered and later turned a deficit into a one-run lead with a two-run single, leading the Giants past the A's, 5-4.
“Not too many people on this coast know how good a player Evan Longoria is,” said Stephen Vogt, his former Rays teammate and a longtime opponent. “We know how good he is.”
Longoria got to 1,000 RBI with a solo homer off Brett Anderson, his 17th of the season. He came up in the seventh with the bases loaded, one out and the A’s leading 4-3. Right-hander Blake Treinen had just won an 11-pitch battle with Buster Posey and Longoria jumped on the first pitch, smashing an elevated fastball to left to drive in a pair.
"I figured he would try to get ahead," Longoria said. "I was staring at the six-hole (at shortstop), just telling myself not to get around (the ball). See it up. It's nice when you tell yourself something and it works out."
That was the case with the milestone, too. Longoria said he has spoken to Derin McMains, the team's mental skills coach, about setting goals. One of them this season was reaching 1,000 RBI. Longoria became the 291st player to drive in 1,000 runs in the big leagues and joined just 10 other active hitters. He should move up the active list pretty quickly. Longoria needs just one more RBI to catch Ryan Zimmerman, eight to catch Matt Kemp and 10 to catch Brian McCann.
"I've been thinking about it for a while," Longoria said. "I'm just trying to go out and reach goals. You kind of incentivize yourself to go out. We're going out to play for the team and win, but it's kind of personally challenging yourself. It's a proud moment. It's not something I ever thought I would do."
The win clinched a quick two-game sweep of the A’s and put The Bridge trophy in the Giants clubhouse for the first time. They’re back to .500 with 32 games to play and still faintly alive in the wild-card race.
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It would take a ridiculous finish to get there, but the players haven’t given in yet. They still believe they can get hot, and as Vogt said, few can get on a streak like Longoria can. He briefly carried the Giants in July and now looks set to try and do it again.
“He’s doing things he’s done his whole career,” Bochy said. “You look at what he’s been doing, and he had the setback with the injury, and he came back and he’s right on track. He kind of got lost in the shuffle here in these two games, but both games, we don’t win without him.”