Giants

Tyler Heineman, Giants come out on top despite brother Scott's homer

Tyler Heineman, Giants come out on top despite brother Scott's homer

The Texas Rangers center fielder dug into the right-handed batter's box and looked briefly to his dugout. As he tightened his gloves, the Giants' catcher unsnapped a band on his left wrist and looked at the game plan. 

Tyler Heineman has been watching Scott Heineman for 27 years, but when you're nine games into the biggest season of your career, you can't be too careful. You check and recheck the scouting report, even if you know it better than anyone on earth. 

"When the game goes on, it's just a hitter up there," Tyler said after a 7-3 Giants win. "Obviously I know it's my brother, but with all these things formulating on my mind on what pitch to call, what we need to try and set up for the next time, what he's seen already in previous at-bats, it's just about trying to execute the pitch. No matter who the hitter is."

The Heinemans met before the game for a photo opp set up by their managers and swapped jerseys afterward at the request of their father, who wanted to own both Tyler's Giants jersey and Scott's Rangers jersey from this special night. But between those moments, it was a serious battle for nine innings. Well, almost all of nine innings.

If you had the sound off on your TV and stayed off Twitter, you wouldn't have known during the game that these two rookies were brothers. They played it cool, but when Scott lined a one-out homer into the arcade in right field in the ninth inning, it appeared that Tyler was trying to stifle a smile as his brother touched the plate a few feet in front of him and pointed to the sky. 

"Obviously the W is the most important thing," Tyler said. 

But ... 

"If he would have gotten a single, it would have been a little bit better for me," he said, smiling. "I don't think I'll be able to live that down."

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

This was their third matchup as professionals, and both minor league games went the same way. Scott has been 1-for-4 each time, but that one hit has been a homer each time. This latest blast, which was Scott's first hit of the year and came on a pitch his brother called, might make for an easier Thanksgiving dinner. At the very least, it certainly made this night a win-win for the parents.

One brother got the win, the other got a homer. The Heineman parents can be proud of another element of this series, too. Their boys are taking a season played during a pandemic as seriously as they possibly can. 

Tyler and Scott worked out together throughout the three-month break, but when the Rangers arrived Thursday night, there was no reunion. Tyler said the brothers had not seen each other off the field. 

"We're trying to be as strict as possible with COVID protocols," Tyler said. "We're just going to and from the ballpark. No dinner, no hanging out in the hotel room or anything like that."

[RELATED: Heineman runs over umpire during rundown]

They text every day, but they're putting safety first this weekend and focusing on their craft. Tyler is off to a good start, and manager Gabe Kapler has complimented him for the way he has handled the staff. There's a blemish on that record, though. Tyler smiled when asked if he knows all of Scott's weaknesses and tried to use them to the Giants' advantage Saturday.

"Yeah, but apparently not good enough," he said. 

Giants' historic meltdown filled with inexplicable late-game decisions

Giants' historic meltdown filled with inexplicable late-game decisions

The years 1929 and 2020 will always be connected in American history. The former was the year the stock market crashed, leading to the Great Depression. The latter is, well, we're living it, and it's also an all-consuming nightmare. 

In the Giants' history books, those two years now also are connected. And there's some depression involved with this comparison, too. 

The Giants lost to the A's 8-7 Friday night after leading 7-2 in the ninth inning Friday night. If that seems like a nearly impossible result, that's because it is. The Giants had not blown a five-run lead in the ninth inning or later since 1929, amassing 2,133 consecutive wins in that situation, according to Stats Perform.

For all the history there, this unbelievable loss actually unfolded quite cleanly. When the game was over, suffering a historic loss made sense, mostly because just about everything the Giants had done in that fateful inning raised further questions. 

It started with the choice of a pitcher. Gabe Kapler turned to Trevor Gott, his closer, with a five-run lead, which is certainly defensible. But while Gott has not officially been named the closer, that is his role and those guys often have a strange time when asked to finish off a blowout. 

Kapler said the staff chose Gott because they figured they might need to get Gott up anyway if they went with Jarlin Garcia or Trevor Rogers, and that's no day off.

"The thought process is how can we use one pitcher there," Kapler said. 

That leads to an obvious question. How can you trust your secondary relievers in any situation again if you're not confident they can record three outs before giving up five runs

We'll leave that one alone for now. As it was, Gott was the choice and he clearly didn't have it. Gott's velocity was normal, but his command was off. Kapler stuck with him, and he said he didn't think Gott was thrown off by the situation. 

"I totally get why that's where you might go, 'Maybe he's not used to that situation.' He's been pitching in higher-leverage situations, and those are things that are true. But what I saw out there was a very focused and aggressive and intense competitor who just didn't have command and got beat as a result."

Gott gave up a homer and then issued a walk with one out. The Giants still were in decent shape, but then Wilmer Flores made an inexplicable decision on a grounder to first base.

Flores took two steps toward the bag and then, with just one more needed for the 26th out of the night, spun and threw to second. Brandon Crawford slipped his foot off second a split-second too soon, apparently thinking Flores had touched first, and both runners were safe. 

Instead of having a four-run lead with two outs and a runner on second, Gott had two runners on and just one out. 

"I should have just stepped on first base with that lead that we had," Flores said after the game. 

Crawford had come in as a defensive replacement, but Kapler said he wanted to give Brandon Belt a night off because he has some lower-half soreness and the staff trusted Flores to get through that final inning. 

"It's [Flores'] best position and we wanted to do everything possible to get Brandon Belt a day and get him ready for tomorrow," Kapler said. 

The problem was Belt did end up playing. He struck out as a pinch-hitter in the 10th with the tying run on second, swinging through three fastballs from Liam Hendricks. That's fast-forwarding, though. 

After Flores' mistake, Gott hit a batter to load the bases and then hung a curveball that Stephen Piscotty blasted to left for a grand slam that completed the historic comeback. 

[RELATED: Giants given relatively good news with Slater's MRI results]

The Giants went to extra innings for the third time this year, and Garcia entered and got a grounder, flyout and grounder. That was enough, though, to move the placed runner from second to home for the go-ahead run. Three Giants struck out in a similar situation in the bottom of the inning, and that was the end. 

So there you have it, that's how you suffer a loss that hasn't been seen since 1929. It was a trainwreck, but a gradual one, and it seemed to leave the Giants stunned. Kapler said he would process the loss as the night went on. 

"We'll talk about it and figure out ways to get better for tomorrow," he said. "And things we could have done differently."

Dave Kaval trolls Giants fans after A's comeback 8-7 extra-inning win

Dave Kaval trolls Giants fans after A's comeback 8-7 extra-inning win

A's president Dave Kaval loves to troll the Giants and their fans.

LOVES IT.

So when the Giants blew a five-run ninth-inning lead Friday night and lost 8-7 in extra innings to the A's at Oracle Park, Kaval took the opportunity to get in a shot at fans in San Francisco.

Sorry Dave, but Giants fans aren't jumping on the bandwagon of a team that hasn't won a World Series since 1989, and hasn't gotten out of the Wild Card Game the last two years.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Also, a majority of Market Street in San Francisco now is car-free thanks to the Better Market Street project, which was implemented at the end of January. So Kaval would be unsuccessful if he tried to drive the A's bandwagon down the major thoroughfare.

At the end of June, Kaval poked fun at the Giants by tweeting that the A's would have a fan section of cardboard cut-outs at the Oakland Coliseum, and that it would be in prime seagull territory.

In the past, Kaval has led an "armada" of A's fans on kayaks into McCovey Cove, and he even set up a program where Giants fans could exchange their SF hats for A's hats.

[RELATED: Giants' inexplicable decisions led to historic meltdown]

Kaval is riding high right now. The A's (14-6) have the best record in the American League, while the Giants (8-13) hold the second-worst record in the National League.

We'll see who gets the last laugh when the playoffs roll around for the A's.