Giants manager Bruce Bochy did not think Friday night’s game against the Phillies would end when it did.
The Phillies trailed 5-4 in the ninth but had the bases loaded with two outs when Tyler Goeddel hit a slow dribbler up the third-base line. Off the bat, Bochy said, he thought Goeddel had a tying infield hit.
“The way he swung, the hitter usually gets out of the box pretty good, two strikes we’re playing back, slow roller,” Bochy said Saturday. “I really thought he would beat it out.”
Instead, Ramiro Pena made a charging play and snap throw across his body to first that beat Goeddel by a split second. The Phillies challenged, but it only took 36 seconds for a replay umpire to uphold the out call. The Giants held on to win and the play left Bochy saying a day later: “With what was at stake, that’s one of the better plays I’ve seen.”
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Making it all the more impressive was that Pena had spent most of the game on the bench before entering as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Also, Pena has spent most of the past two seasons playing mostly middle infield.
Further, Pena said Saturday that he actually changed his approach to the ball mid-play.
“The first thing I had in my mind was to barehand it,” Pena said. “Then I took a few steps going to the ball and I was like, no, it’s bases loaded, make sure you catch it and then release it as soon as you can.”
Pena said he benefited from a good hop that didn’t require him to bend too low, making the exchange and throw a fraction of a second quicker. He was confident his throw had beaten Goeddel to the bag. In fact, Pena said, “It was closer than I thought.”
“After (Goeddel’s) first swing, I was like, ‘It’s coming over here,’ ” Pena said. “I don’t know how, but I think the ground ball’s going to be hit to me. I had it on my mind, so I just came down trying to make the play and that’s it.”
▪ Reliever Sergio Romo (elbow) will make a rehab appearance for High-A San Jose on Sunday. After that, Bochy said, “We’ll see what the next move is.” Bochy had indicated earlier in the week that Romo, who has been on the disabled list since April 15, could rejoin the Giants during this homestand.
▪ In the third inning Friday, right-hander Jake Peavy kick-saved a comebacker, ran after the ball and flipped to first base for the out. Peavy went on to pitch seven innings, but Bochy said, “he got hit better than I thought.”
“He didn’t let us know how good that ball got him,” Bochy said. “He didn’t say anything, but he was hobbling after the game.”
Bochy said he does not think it will affect Peavy making his next start.
▪ Friday night’s win was No. 799 for Bochy as manager of the Giants. He’s one away from joining John McGraw, Dusty Baker and Bill Terry as the only managers to win at least 800 games with the franchise. Asked about the milestone before Saturday’s game, Bochy said he was unaware he was close until a reporter mentioned it.
“It means I’m pretty fortunate to have been here this long,” Bochy said. “I certainly have enjoyed every moment of my time up here. I’ve said many times, I’m lucky, I’m blessed, in a great situation here. I didn’t know what that number was. It just means you’ve had a lot of support somewhere, from ownership, the front office, and really good players.”
When Bochy does win No. 800, he’ll only need 1,783 more to match McGraw’s record of 2,583 wins with the Giants.
“Yeah,” Bochy said, “not going to happen.”