DENVER — As AT&T Park shook on Friday night and Ross Stripling stared toward left field with a blank look on his face, Josh Osich went looking for Trevor Brown. The rookie reliever had a message for a rookie catcher who had just hit a two-run homer that was the first hit of the night for the Giants.
“You broke this one up,” Osich said.
Five years ago, Brown, then a sophomore second baseman at UCLA, was hitless in three at-bats in a spring game against Oregon State. Thanks in part to his homer off Chris Hatcher last week, that college game remains the only time Brown has been no-hit on a baseball field. Who was the opposing pitcher? Josh Osich.
“He came out and just dominated us,” Brown said. “But he doesn’t really talk about it.”
The two did talk about it briefly Friday night as the Giants wiped out the no-hit bid that Stripling left on the field and stormed to a walk-off win. Later, they had slightly different memories of some of their matchups. Osich remembers Brown rolling over on a couple of balls on a day when he threw a ton of changeups. “I hit three balls hard,” Brown said, laughing. “I think we only had like four balls we hit hard that whole game.”
Osich, going up against UCLA star and future No. 3 overall pick Trevor Bauer, struck out 13 that day and walked one while pitching Oregon State’s first no-hitter since 1947. (Bauer struck out 15 and took a tough 2-0 loss.) The school's box scores aren’t very specific, but Brown did ground out three times, twice to third and once to second.
The most astounding part of the box score might not be the hits column. Osich, who had missed the previous year because of Tommy John surgery, threw 121 pitches while completing the no-hitter. Given that injuries slowed Osich’s rise through the minors, Dave Roberts would probably look at that number as further evidence that he made the right move by pulling Stripling.
Osich congratulated Brown after Friday's homer, saying “it’s pretty cool for him to get his first home run that way.” When Brown got back to the clubhouse, he had quite a few more congratulatory messages waiting. How many total texts did he get Friday night?
“It was something crazy,” he said. “At some point I looked at (my text folder) and it was just a plus sign.”
Of course, Friday was just the beginning. Brown hit two homers on Tuesday night and currently leads all MLB catchers with three. He's back in the starting lineup today, with manager Bruce Bochy giving Buster Posey's bruised foot another day to heal. With a few more nights like last night, Brown might need time to let his thumbs heal. After the two-homer game, did he come back to find another plus sign on his texts folder?
“Yeah,” he said, smiling. “I did ... half the texts from back home are, 'What the heck happened?'"