What we learned as Longoria's big blast fuels Giants' comeback


When the Giants got no-hit by Homer Bailey in Cincinnati nine years ago, manager Bruce Bochy dropped one of his best lines. 

"Hopefully this is rock bottom," he said afterward. "You hope this is as low as it gets."

The Giants avoided a new version of "rock bottom" in the eighth inning Sunday. But first, they had to avoid another no-hitter. 

Second baseman Thairo Estrada broke up Tyler Mahle's bid with two outs in the seventh and Evan Longoria gave them a lead with two outs in the eighth, hitting a three-run blast to right. The Giants went on to win 6-4, avoiding what would have been the worst sweep of the Gabe Kapler Era. 

The Reds had appeared to be out of that eighth inning when Joc Pederson hit a high chopper to second with runners on the corners, but it went off Kyle Farmer's glove and the Giants were given new life. Luis González broke the game open a few batters later with a two-run double. 

Longoria's fourth blast of the week gave them the lead at the end of what has been a very newsy weekend off the field, and a very poor one between the lines. 

Saved by Thairo

Mahle was a potential Giants addition over the offseason, and he showed why through six no-hit innings. He struck out eight, showing off a good four-pitch mix and getting 18 swinging strikes. 

The Giants looked like they might have ended the no-hitter one batter before it actually happened. Brandon Crawford got a four-seamer down and in and hit a deep fly ball to right, but it died on the warning track. Estrada didn't wait around. 

The young second baseman has lost some time recently because he's rolling so many balls over, but he jumped on a first-pitch slider and crushed it into the right-center gap. Reds center fielder Nick Senzel never even had a chance to think about diving. 

Unluckiest Pitcher Alive

Alex Cobb came into the day with a 1.93 expected ERA and 6.25 actual ERA, which was the biggest difference of any starting pitcher in baseball. How could his luck get any worse? Well, how about finally having a good statistical start as the Giants were getting blanked. 

Cobb gave up two runs on four hits and struck out eight, but in his six innings, the Giants did not have a hit. This has become a streak of awful luck that even Matt Cain would find impressive. 

Happy Anniversary

When Mahle finally gave up a hit in the seventh, his day was immediately over. Mahle had thrown 104 pitches and he gave way to former Giant Hunter Strickland, who was pitching on the five-year anniversary of a pretty memorable event.

This appearance was much calmer. Strickland came on for González and struck him out on three pitches. Now 33 and on his eighth team, Strickland has made 19 appearances for the Reds and has a 5.50 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. He certainly looked sharp on Sunday, though. 

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