LOS ANGELES — Unlike Matt Moore, Denard Span had been through two Giants-Dodgers series already when this one started. But the first two rounds didn’t come close to this series in terms of intensity, and Span felt all of it as Moore chased a no-hitter.
All night, Dodgers fans in the bleachers wore him out. It didn’t help that he robbed Adrian Gonzalez, a local favorite, of an early double. Span got his revenge. He started the ninth by making a spectacular sliding catch to rob Enrique Hernandez of a no-hitter-ending hit. Span stood quickly and took a glance back at the bleachers. He soaked it all in and nodded to the fans.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah. They were talking trash all game,” he said later, smiling. “Even before that, they were talking trash. When I caught the ball, it felt like I was on a football field, not a baseball field. The only thing to do is to get up, shake your head and celebrate a bit.”
Span said he thought of DeWayne Wise, who saved Mark Buehrle’s perfect game in 2009. He very nearly had his Wise/Gregor Blanco moment.
“It seems every no-hitter has a play where someone does something remarkable,” Span said. “As soon as I caught that, I thought for sure he would get it.”
This was Span’s best defensive night as a Giant, with the Gonzalez catch being just as impressive as the later one. Per Statcast, Span had a reaction time of .40 seconds on the Hernandez liner. He reached a max speed of 18.7 mph and covered 46.8 feet with a route efficiency of 97.8 percent. That’s a fancy way of saying it was a hell of a catch, and he was one out away from having it permanently replayed.
As it was, the Giants settled for a one-hitter. Here’s my game story on Matt Moore, his workload, and his shot at history.
--- Gorkys Hernandez was in on the final play because Hunter Pence had been lifted earlier with a tight right hamstring. That’s obviously a potentially big issue for a guy who missed 48 games after having right hamstring surgery. Pence said he felt the tightness Wednesday and it got worse and worse Thursday. He is officially listed as day-to-day, and he said he hopes to play Friday. It seems unlikely the Giants would push him.
--- Moore said he noticed the no-hitter in the fourth. He looked up at the scoreboard to see how far his spot was from hitting, and he saw the zero.
--- In that game story, there’s a quote from Moore that’s very Bumgarner-ish: “They used to not even count pitches, right?”
I told Bumgarner about Moore’s reaction after being asked how his arm was feeling. “He’s supposed to say, ‘It feels like an arm,’” Bumgarner said, laughing.
On a serious note, Moore said he may skip his next bullpen session just to make sure he doesn’t use too many bullets. He wasn’t at all worried, noting that these things are cumulative and he only threw 92 pitches in his last start. The Giants have an extra day off before his next one.
--- Leave it to Santiago Casilla, who has had so many lengthy, dramatic saves this season, to get the 27th out on one pitch as beat writers frantically rewrote their stories. The baseball gods are undefeated.
--- Buster Posey literally crumpled on the plate when Corey Seager’s single landed. His mask hit the ground. Why was he so upset on this one?
“Fortunately I haven’t had that happen to me,” Posey said. “It stinks. There’s no other way around it. Obviously it’s a great win, but you get to that point and you’re pulling for the guy to get it done.”
Posey remains one no-hitter away from tying Jason Varitek’s MLB record. Hey, Bumgarner faces the Braves on Sunday...