BOSTON — Trevor Brown grew up dreaming about hitting a home run over the Green Monster at Fenway Park, and as his shot cleared everything but a “Selfeo” banner at the very top of the famous wall, Brown soaked in every bit of his trot.
In the stands, a crowd that was filled with Giants fans started to sense that something special might happen. Down eight at the start of the fourth inning, the Giants cut the deficit to three with Brown’s blast. The rookie catcher said his homer wasn’t actually the moment when the bench started believing in the improbable.
“After Mac’s, we all felt the momentum switch,” he said.
Williamson’s three-run shot two batters earlier had woken up a reeling dugout. The Giants believed they really would overcome an eight-run deficit, but in the biggest spot of an 11-7 loss to the Red Sox, Williamson did not get a shot to build on what he had started.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Cain hit hard, Giant 0-5 after All-Star break]
With the bases loaded and no outs in sixth, Bochy pulled Williamson in favor of Gregor Blanco. The Giants trailed by one at the time and the Red Sox had just called on hard-throwing right-hander Matt Barnes. Bochy wanted to play the matchup game and he chose Blanco over Jarrett Parker because of experience and over Conor Gillaspie because Blanco has been Bochy’s best pinch-hitter.
Blanco was 7-for-22 off the bench this season, but he hit into an unlikely double play. Hanley Ramirez, the night’s hero at the plate, fielded a hopper to first, touched the bag, and threw home for a double play that held up after a lengthy review. Bochy had played for the tying run, but it would never come.
“I went with him. It didn’t play out,” Bochy said. “That was my thinking, that you look at his record and he’s our best pinch-hitter. He’s been here a long time. He’s a guy I wanted up there. He just rolled over to first base.”
Williamson said all the right things, but the competitor in him surely wanted that chance. A day after he put on a batting practice show that impressed even Madison Bumgarner, Williamson had said it didn’t matter much because he wasn’t able to do it in that night’s game. He did homer at Fenway Park on Wednesday — “it’s a dream come true,” he said — but didn’t get the at-bat that could have completed the comeback.
“Blanco is a great pinch-hitter throughout his career,” Williamson said. “He’s proven himself time and time again. In that situation, as a hitter, you want your chance, but you understand the move there is to go with the proven veteran.”
The Giants did so from the start, but Matt Cain was rocked in his first outing in over a month. Cain said his hamstring felt fine and he was more than ready despite a rocky final rehab outing, but the Red Sox, led by Ramirez, bashed him all over the park in the second and third. Cain gave up two homers to Ramirez, the former Dodgers star who had his first three-homer game and a career-high six RBI. Was that the player Cain remembered from the NL West rivalry?
“We probably didn’t see that guy since Florida,” he said, referencing Ramirez’s early years with the Marlins. “That’s the Hanley we saw tonight. The guy we saw in Florida.”
Cain gave up six hits and got just seven outs. He was charged with five earned runs.
“That’s not ever what you’re prepared for when you're going into a game,” he said. “It can happen that way. The biggest thing is I’ve got to find a way to minimize the damage.”
The Giants never could Wednesday. Albert Suarez followed Cain and was hit just as hard. He was left in to face Ramirez in the sixth and allowed the third homer, one that finally put the game out of reach.
The Giants were left to take away memories, not a win.
“Every kid growing up, you want to play at Fenway and hit a ball over the Green Monster,” Brown said. “It was definitely a special feeling going around the bases.”
Williamson said he used to watch Manny Ramirez and Curt Schilling play for the Red Sox and dream of playing here. He was actually drafted by Boston in the 46th round of the 2011 MLB Draft but he didn’t sign. The Giants took him in the third round a year later and he’s living up to that promise and wrestling away more playing time. Perhaps Wednesday’s result will earn him that final at-bat the next time around.
Regardless, Williamson and Brown helped give the Giants something to hold onto during a week when there hasn’t been much. They have given up 14 homers while losing all five games coming out of the break, but Brown pointed out that Friday brings a big positive for a group that needs one. The lineup finally broke through, even if it was in a loss. Plus, on Friday ...
“We’ve got Bum on the mound, right? “ he said. “I think we’re always confident when he’s out there.”