PHOENIX – Under the mildest duress, Ryan Vogelsong never met an empty base he wasn’t willing to fill.
He does not throw a cookie down the middle unless he has no choice – and even then, he’ll probably try cutting it to a corner.
Vogelsong is a battler, and although his innings often become mini-wars of attrition, he has escaped unscathed from so many sieges in this second go-round as a Giant that he holds the full faith of his manager, coaches and teammates.
You would expect Vogelsong to lose a few of these battles, though. And he has. You would expect that he’s given up a grand slam before.
He had not.
The most stunning part of the Giants’ 6-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night might have been everything that happened prior to Monday night. Vogelsong entered with exactly 100 home runs allowed in his major league life, and exactly zero came with the bases loaded.
And somewhere out there, you might find a 40-something UFC fighter with two perfect ears.
But the pitch in question in the third inning wasn’t the 0-1 slider that Vogelsong hung to Mark Trumbo. It was the 3-2 fastball at the letters that enticed A.J. Pollock to start his swing. First base umpire Ron Kulpa, asked for an appeal, ruled that he stopped the bat in time.
Both Vogelsong and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said they thought Pollock had gone around.
“It’s such a fine line,” Bochy said. “Obviously we would’ve loved that call. It changed the whole inning.”
Said Vogelsong (8-11): “From my vantage point I thought he swung the bat but it was quick. He didn’t call it, so I should’ve made a better pitch to Trumbo. It doesn’t change that.”
Although he has been terrific at times this season, Vogelsong fell to 1-5 with a 5.68 ERA in 12 starts against NL West clubs. He has issued nine walks in his last two outings. And his next two starts will come against division foes: at San Diego and again vs. the Padres at AT&T Park.