San Francisco Giants Morning Minute: Huge Win for Orange and Blach

Oct 1, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ty Blach (50) signs an autograph for a fan before the start of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ty Blach (50) signs an autograph for a fan before the start of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

On this edition of the San Francisco Giants Morning Minute, we discuss a huge win for the Orange and Blach to stay ahead in the wildcard race.

More from Golden Gate Sports

Good morning, San Francisco Giants’ fans, and welcome to another edition of the Giants Morning Minute. On Saturday, the Giants won the penultimate game of the scheduled regular season, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0. Ty Blach (1-0) earned his first career win, while Clayton Kershaw (12-4) took the loss. Sergio Romo put the finishing touches on things for his fourth save.

The New York Mets clinched the first wildcard spot with a victory, and they will host the wildcard game next Wednesday. The St. Louis Cardinals also won, keeping themselves one game back of the Giants for the second wildcard spot. The possibility for a one-game playoff before the one-game playoff is still alive.

Here’s what went on Saturday.

1 – Rookie Up To The Challenge

The best pitcher in baseball took the mound on Saturday. Just from looking at a box score, you’d be hard pressed to know if that meant Kershaw or Blach. Kershaw was on the mound for the Dodgers, and he is the best pitcher in baseball. On the other side, Blach was making the second start of his big league career.

It was Blach that shut out the opposition, delivering eight beautiful innings against a Dodgers’ team with well-noted struggles against left-handed pitchers. He allowed just three hits, all singles, and one walk while striking out six.

It’s a bit difficult to believe this was the same pitcher that made his first start just last Sunday. Against the Rockies a week ago, he had no command of the strike zone as his pitch count kept rising. He only made it through three innings.

More from San Francisco Giants

Saturday was a complete reversal. Blach was in command of everything: the tempo, his pitches, and his emotions. He controlled the rhythm from the very beginning with a quick tempo, forcing the Dodgers’ hitters into the box as quickly as possible. He had complete control of the strike zone. Up, down, in, or away, Blach was able to place his pitches exactly where he wanted time and time again. He was as even-keeled as anyone could be in his position. The biggest show of emotion came after an inning-ending strikeout in the eight. He pumped his fist as he ran off the field.

It was the biggest start of his life, and Blach delivered big time.  The Giants needed some kind of magical performance, and this was more than they could have expected. Blach has been a bright spot through a mostly rough month of September, but his star has never shined brighter. With this kind of performance under his belt and postseason baseball just around the corner, he might be pitching under even brighter belts soon.

2 – The Offense

That guy who pitched on the other side didn’t have himself a bad day by any stretch. Kershaw was perfect until allowing a two-out single to Buster Posey in the fourth inning. He cruised through four, throwing just 35 pitches. Kershaw appeared well on his way to shutting out the Giants to really hurt their postseason chances.

Angel Pagan had different plans. One night after showing off his wrestling skills, he showed that he’s not too bad at this whole baseball thing, either. Pagan led  off the fifth with a solo home run, his career-high 12th of the year, to break the scoreless tie and breathe some life into the AT&T crowd.

Pagan was also a catalyst for a seventh-inning rally. He picked up his second hit of the night, and 20th career against Kershaw, to lead off. Brandon Crawford followed with a single off the pitcher, which brought Pagan home after third baseman Justin Turner threw the carom into right field. Crawford moved to third on the error, and Gordon Beckham cashed him in. The final-week rental drove a ball deep to center field for a sac fly.

Kershaw took the loss, just his fourth loss at AT&T Park in 18 games. But it is October, and October baseball gets pretty weird. Things are only getting weirder.

Next: Giants Morning Minute: Another Win to Stay Ahead

And that will do it for this edition of the Giants Morning Minute. Up next, the Giants and Dodgers will finish the regular season with one last game at AT&T Park. Matt Moore and Kenta Maeda will take the mound. For the Giants, the goal is simple: win and you’re in.