SAN FRANCISCO -- Who knows how many times Giants manager Bruce Bochy had pictured what it would be like to summon his son, Brett, from the bullpen into a major-league game, what he might say or what the situation might be, and when it finally came in a historic moment Saturday night, Bruce handed the ball to Brett with these words:
"I said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry to put you in this situation,’" Bochy said.
So the circumstances weren’t exactly storybook, with the bases full of Dodgers and the Giants already down 14 runs in the sixth inning of an eventual 17-0 blowout at AT&T Park. But in a game whose outcome had been in hand for a while, there was time left for something special and unprecedented.
For the first time in major-league history, a manager brought his son in to pitch.
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"It’s kind of surreal, really," Bruce Bochy said.
Brett Bochy had joined the Giants when rosters expanded at the beginning of September but began Saturday as one of two active players yet to make his debut. With Michael Kickham in trouble in the sixth, the 27-year-old right-hander jogged down to the bullpen to begin warming up, and after Carl Crawford beat out a bases-loaded infield single with two outs, Bruce Bochy decided it was time to relieve Kickham.
The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on the manager. The first time he’d brought Brett into a game in spring training, it had also been in a bases-loaded situation.
"I’ve done that to him twice now," Bruce Bochy said with a grin. "But he’s a tough kid. He can handle it."
Brett walked the first hitter he faced, Juan Uribe, to force in a run, but then got A.J. Ellis to pop out to end the inning. He also pitched the seventh, getting a nice ovation when he struck out Yasiel Puig, then surrendering a two-run homer to Scott Van Slyke in the very next at-bat.
"Got everything out of the way there," Brett Bochy said. "I’d like to be a little sharper next time I go out there, but it was good to get my feet wet."
While he was warming up, Brett Bochy said, he was focused on whom he might come in to face. It wasn’t until he jogged from the bullpen to the mound, where his father was waiting, that the significance of the moment really registered.
"Once I got out there, actually got the ball from him and saw him, that was pretty special," Brett Bochy said. "But right after that, it went back to, ‘I’ve got to worry about trying to get the next guy out.’"
Bruce Bochy said "I’m sure I was" more nervous than his son at the moment. Afterward, Brett said, the elder Bochy "came up and gave me a handshake, said it was really special and he was proud of me and it meant a lot."
"You get out there, and afterward you think back on all the hard work that went into it in the minor leagues and college," Brett said. "It was just awesome."
Most of that college and minor-league success occurred for Brett without his father there to see it. Managing an MLB team is a full-time job. Still, Brett said he could always call Bruce or send him video of himself pitching, and count on prompt feedback.
But Saturday night was different. This time, not only was Bruce there to see the start of Brett’s major-league career -- he was there to hand him the ball.
"It was special that he was there for it," Brett said.
"I was proud," Bruce said. "I was. He did fine. He hadn’t pitched in quite a while, and this was a tough game to pitch in. They had their hitting shoes on over there. But very, very proud moment for me."
* That’s about where the positives ended for the Giants on Saturday night. Tomorrow’s print story runs down the extent of the carnage, but here are a few details: The Dodgers’ 17 runs were the most ever scored by an opponent at AT&T Park, and their 24 hits were the most by any team in a game here. Their 17-run margin of victory was their largest against the Giants since the teams moved to California in 1958.
Six of those runs came against Tim Hudson, who had the shortest start of his big-league career, recording only three outs. Hudson in three September starts has allowed 14 runs over 12 innings. But he said he felt "all right" physically on Saturday and explained his recent struggles this way:
"Just a little bit of tough luck and not making good enough pitches at times. That’s pretty much what it boils down to. Just got to make better pitches and that’s pretty much it."
Bochy said Hudson wasn’t helped by the fact that "we couldn’t get a ball hit at somebody in that first inning," when the Dodgers scored four runs on six hits, and that he wouldn’t say he’s concerned about Hudson despite the numbers this month.
* One silver lining of the lopsided loss, Bochy said, was that it allowed him to empty his bench and get some of his seldom-used players into the game. That included right-hander Chris Heston also making his major-league debut in the ninth, and Chris Dominguez, Matt Duffy and Gary Brown all saw multiple innings in the field.
That made for a pretty interesting lineup in the late innings. In the top of the ninth, the Giants defensively looked like this: C Quiroz, 1B Ishikawa, 2B Panik, SS Duffy, 3B Duvall, LF Dominguez, CF Brown, RF Perez, P Heston.
Hunter Pence was taken out early for the second night in a row -- a rarity -- and Buster Posey came out after three innings for an extended rest. Bochy said Posey will play first base in the series finale Sunday.
* Bochy said he took Hudson out two batters into the second inning with his pitch count growing and because "we had a pretty good long guy coming in." That long guy was Tim Lincecum, who was met with a raucous ovation from the AT&T Park crowd but whose outing was not encouraging.
Lincecum faced 18 batters and allowed half of them to reach base on seven hits, a walk and a hit batter. He had just one strikeout. It was only Lincecum’s second appearance since Aug. 31, and he may be rusty, but he didn’t look on this night as though he has solved the mechanical problems that knocked him out of the starting rotation.
* After the Giants won the first game of this series Friday night, 9-0, Bochy summed up the Dodgers response Saturday as: "They punched back."
Round three figures to be tough for the Giants. They’ll face Clayton Kershaw, who has a 1.67 ERA this season and a 1.40 ERA against the Giants in 23 career starts. With the win Saturday, the Dodgers ensured they’ll leave San Francisco still in sole possession of first place in the N.L. West. The Giants can either trim that lead to one or head out on the road Sunday evening with a three-game deficit.
It’s Yusmeiro Petit going for the Giants against Kershaw. First pitch at 1:05 p.m.