Miami Marlins

Giants, Marlins play beanball near end of dramatic season series

Giants, Marlins play beanball near end of dramatic season series

SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday morning, in Los Angeles, Evan Longoria had his fractured fifth metacarpal repaired. In the afternoon, in San Francisco, Hunter Strickland had a similar procedure. 

The metacarpal madness did not lead to any excess caution for a team that has dealt with injuries throughout. It was the opposite, in fact. The Giants sprinted headfirst into a beanball war with a team with nothing to lose. That led to a scary moment for Buster Posey, but ultimately the Giants came away unscathed, and with a win. 

Players and coaches predictably shied away from the drama in the moments following a 6-3 win. But manager Bruce Bochy repeatedly praised rookie Dereck Rodriguez for the way he handled himself — he drilled opposing rookie Lewis Brinson — and said this was just part of the game.

“It’s baseball,” Bochy said. “We’re men. This is what happens in baseball.”

The Giants say they were upset over a Dan Straily pitch last week that sent Longoria to the disabled list, and Bochy twice mentioned that Kelby Tomlinson was hit in Monday night’s game. This doesn’t quite hold up under scrutiny. If the Giants wanted to get revenge on behalf of Longoria, they would have hit a Marlin on Monday night. Or they could have waited for Straily’s at-bat in the top of the second inning Tuesday. No, this was about more than a couple of pitches that hit Giants players.

There was never much doubt that the Giants would retaliate against Brinson, and Rodriguez didn’t waste any time. His first pitch to Brinson, with two on and one out in the second, was a 92 mph fastball that drilled his hip. 

“Runners on second and third and less than two outs, you don’t want him to get a sacrifice fly,” Rodriguez said. “I was trying to go in. It got him. It happens.”

Brinson knew it was coming following Monday night’s theatrics. After a 95 mph fastball from Strickland shot up toward his head, he lined the game-tying single into right. Brinson, 24, hopped up and down as he headed toward first and turned and yelled something at Strickland. A few minutes later, Strickland’s night was done, and he walked near third base on his way to the dugout, exchanging words with Brinson. 

Rodriguez’s pitch a day later led to warnings for both sides, but the Marlins are headed for the top of the draft, and they didn’t much seem to care about losing their starting pitcher. Dan Straily drilled Posey on the arm in the bottom of the second and was immediately ejected. Retaliation?

“I don’t know,” Posey said. “I don’t know. It seemed that way.”

Bochy came out raging, and he later said that Marlins manager Don Mattingly had indicated payback was coming.

“I don’t know what happened there when he came out,” Bochy said. “I guess he was upset about the warnings. I guess they thought they have to do something. I guess there was fuzzy math going on when our third baseman is on the DL for eight weeks and we had a guy get hit in the back last night.”

The only math that ultimately mattered was 90 feet. Whether they were upset about Longoria, or about Brinson’s trip around the bases Monday night, the Giants decided to get into it at a time when they can’t afford another injury. The pitch to Posey rode up and in, and was near his hands, where metacarpals are all too easy to break, but he jogged the 90 feet down to first and chatted with Justin Bour. 

That would be it for the drama, but the Giants and Marlins may not be done, no matter what’s said behind closed doors. The visiting starter for the final matchup of the season between these two will be Jose Urena, who hit an MLB-leading 14 batters last year and three Cubs on opening day this year. 

 

Tensions boil over as Giants snap losing streak to Marlins

Tensions boil over as Giants snap losing streak to Marlins

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants are apparently feuding with the Miami Marlins. At least this time the drama came with a win. 

Buster Posey homered and was hit on a fiery night at AT&T Park, when the bullpen finally allowed the offensive work hold up. The Giants won 6-3, beating the Marlins for the second time in six tries this season. Here are the details … 

--- A night after Hunter Strickland and Lewis Brinson exchanged words, Dereck Rodriguez's first pitch to Brinson was a 92 mph fastball to the hip. Both benches were warned, but the Marlins still retaliated. Dan Straily hit Posey on the arm in the bottom of the inning and was immediately ejected. Posey was uninjured. 

--- Gorkys Hernandez, who hit zero homers last year, crushed his eighth. The two-run blast put the Giants on top 3-0. Posey had a solo shot in the first. 

--- Dereck Rodriguez had one rough inning, but otherwise pitched well. He was charged with three earned in five innings, all of the damage coming in the fourth. He struck out six and walked none. 

—- Alen Hanson had a rough weekend in Los Angeles, but he bounced back with a huge night: a single and two doubles, including one that would have been a triple if not for iffy baserunning ahead of him. He also made a spectacular play at short to end the eighth. 

--- Will Smith pitched the eighth and started the ninth, but Sam Dyson came on with one out and one on. He got a game-ending double play. 

Hunter Strickland blows two-run lead in 'unacceptable' ninth inning

Hunter Strickland blows two-run lead in 'unacceptable' ninth inning

SAN FRANCISCO — The life of a closer is a brutal one. No matter how many games you save, no matter how many scoreless appearances you pile up, the bullseye will be squarely on your back when you falter and cost the team a game. 

For Hunter Strickland, there was always going to be an added degree of difficulty. Strickland has been one of the most durable and reliable relievers in the National League since a rough 2014 postseason, and he entered Monday’s game with a 2.01 ERA and 13 saves in 16 chances. He had converted 11 of his previous 12 chances, and the one misstep was more about the defense behind him. 

But many Giants fans have never forgotten 2014, or gotten over a fight with Bryce Harper. So when Strickland gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning and then exchanged words with the runner on third, the boos cascaded from the few left watching a Giants-Marlins game on a Monday night. Strickland, after a 5-4 loss was complete, was a harsher critic. 

“That’s unacceptable,” he said. “(Andrew) Suarez went out and did a heck of a job. Sammy (Dyson) picked him up and obviously I let them down.”

A minute later, Strickland was more succinct. 

“It sucked in general,” he said. 

This was not the way the Giants wanted to return home. They spent three days in Los Angeles talking about how difficult the road schedule has been, but they did not take advantage of a cupcake on their first night back. Suarez was good, opposing lefty Caleb Smith lasted just four rough innings, and the Marlins kicked the ball around AT&T Park. But still, they were handed a win, once again coming back against the Giants, as they did all series last week while taking three of four in Miami. 

Strickland opened the ninth by walking Brian Anderson, a sin for a relief pitcher. 

“Can’t have that. That’s unacceptable,” he said. 

He hung a slider to J.T. Realmuto and the double cut a 4-2 lead in half. Justin Bour was walked and Reyes Moronta and Tony Watson started getting loose in a hurry. But Bruce Bochy stuck with Strickland, who had some easier matchups ahead of him. After a groundout, Lewis Brinson — hitting .179 at the time — lined a game-tying single into right. Miguel Rojas, another light hitter, curled the go-ahead hit down the line. 

Strickland’s night was done, but he was not. The first pitch to Brinson had been a heater up and in, and when the rookie responded with a base hit later, he joyously jumped his way down the line. Strickland took exception, and he chirped at Brinson, standing on third, as he walked toward the dugout. Strickland said he was just “in the moment.”

“I was not real happy with myself,” he said. 

The moment did not help Strickland’s cause, but he’s had them before, and he has pushed past them before. His job is to close, and for most of this season, he has done it very well. The Giants had been 31-0 when leading after eight. Bochy scoffed when asked if a change is needed in the ninth.

“You look at the job he’s done, there’s no reason to have a leash on him,” he said. “He’s really pitched well. The numbers show that.”