Expanded Replay Backfires; Diamondbacks take Game Two

After yesterday’s doozy of a game, the Giants hoped to play a crisper game with better defense and their horse, Matt Cain, taking the mound.

Cain, who was looking to bounce back from his 2013 season (184.1 IP, 4.00 ERA, 1.156 WHIP), sported high socks to see if he could change the tide in his favor. Unfortunately, it seemed as though Cain grinded his way through five innings on the bump, spending the majority of the time pitching out of the stretch. The combination of Cain’s struggles, instant replay woes, and questionable strike zones ultimately led to the Giants giving up Game two to the Diamondbacks to even out the series (Final 5-4).

The first inning seemed to start off well enough as almost-consecutive singles from Angel Pagan, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey drew first blood for the Giants. Brandon Belt, who’s wielding a hot bat, whacked a three-run big fly into the the right field pool at Chase Field to clear the bases giving the Giants a  4-0 lead.

That seemed to be the end of the Giants’ luck. The Diamondbacks answered back with two runs off a single from Geraldo Parra, an extra-base hit from Goldschmidt (of course.), and an RBI single from Martin Prado.

The bottom of the fourth inning led to some baseball weirdness when a pick-off play put on by Cain and Belt for baserunner AJ Pollock was ruled safe and urged Bruce Bochy to try out the expanded replay for the first time during the regular season. As the umps reviewed the play in New York, Andrew Baggarly reported that Pollock mouthed, “he got me” after reviewing the play and seeing Belt apply the tag before he reached the bag on the big screen.

The official decision from the crew in New York proved unsatisfactory for the Giants: the call would stand and Pollock remained on base. Based on the ruling there was not enough conclusive evidence to overturn the call.

And that’s what makes the next part so unpleasant. After a double from Parra advanced Pollock to third base, a passed ball squibbed out of Posey’s glove and Pollock darted home. Posey tossed the ball to Cain covering the plate and Pollock was tagged squarely on his foot for an out… only to be called safe by the home plate umpire.

As Bochy had used his only expanded replay and lost, he was unable to request an additional review of the play. And do I need to mention that Pollock was basically out not once, but TWICE?

[Cue Giants fans everywhere grumbling about expanded replay]

As the Instant Replay foiled the Giants defense, Wade Miley appeared to turn up his game, stifling the Giants offense from the 2nd inning and retiring the next 14 hitters in a row. The only offensive notes after the first included walks to Posey and Sandoval, a single from Belt, and a double from Brandon Crawford – none of which scored additional runs.

The fate of the Giants was sealed when relief pitcher (and ultimately, losing pitcher) Juan Gutierrez allowing a single to Chris Owing, a double to Pollock (yes, him again), and finally a sac-fly from Parra scoring Pollock for the go-ahead run.

On a brighter note, Santiago Casilla cashed in on a clean inning in the 8th, recording a strike out and giving up no hits or runs. Silver linings, right?

The Giants look to bounce back from the loss with Tim Hudson making his 2014 season debut at Chase Field Wednesday night at 6:40.