CHICAGO – Angel Pagan hit the ball hard, back up the middle, and only needed to get through Cubs pitcher Hector Rondon to tie the game.
Rondon proved to be a tougher obstacle than Bud Selig, Rob Manfred, Joe Torre and 28 years of near-automatic rejection stamps any time a team would protest a game.
[INSTANT REPLAY: After delay, Giants drop suspended game to Cubs]
Rondon knocked it down, scrambled to pick up the ball, and one underhanded throw to first base later – oh, and 48 hours and 12 minutes after the first pitch was thrown -- the Chicago Cubs pocketed had a 2-1 victory Thursday night at Wrigley Field.
Pagan took a shot and came up short. So did the Giants, who became the first major league team in 28 years to have a protest upheld, which only served to turn a 2-0 loss into a 2-1 loss.
“They got it right,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, referring to MLB officials who agreed with the Giants’ contention that a tarp malfunction Tuesday night rendered the field unplayable. “It’s over now. They ended up winning.
“All we wanted was a chance, and we got that, and now it’s over.”
The game resumed in the bottom of the fifth inning and Yusmeiro Petit struck out the first five hitters he faced, retiring six in all. Three Giants pitchers limited the Cubs to a walk in four shutout innings.
The Giants halved the lead in the sixth when Adam Duvall doubled off the ivy and scored on Joe Panik’s pinch single. Panik also lined a single in the ninth, and Brandon Crawford followed with a hit off the glove of third baseman Luis Valbuena.
But pinch hitter Gregor Blanco struck out looking and the Giants couldn’t get another hit off a defender’s glove.
“He hit it well, that’s all you can do,” Bochy said of Pagan. “It’s a hard-hit ball and the pitcher did a great job of stopping it. It keeps us from tying the game and that’s a shame.
“(An opportunity) is what we got and we came close, too. We all thought when Pagan hit the ball it was going through.”
Instead, the Giants became the sixth consecutive team, not counting the Pine Tar Incident, to win a protest (and a right to resume a suspended game) and go on to lose anyway.
The 1948 Pirates remain the last trailing club to have a protest upheld and rally to win a suspended game.