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Lowell Cohn: Giants got big break they were looking for

  • Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, right, reaches to tag San Francisco Giants' Gregor Blanco, who was originally ruled out at home but then ruled safe after review, during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants bumped into an old friend on Wednesday. They thought the friend was dead.

The friend is known as Hope.

The Giants had been wandering down a back alley keeping close company with Despair, the enemy of Hope. You never want to be friends with Despair.

How into Despair were the Giants? Before they beat the White Sox 7-1, they had lost five games in a row, an ugly number. Five in a row wasn’t even their worst losing streak of this season. Twice, they had lost six in a row.

And, frankly, they were flirting with a sixth-straight loss for most of Wednesday’s game before IT happened. I’ll get to IT in a moment. Understand this. IT was the Despair breaker. IT introduced the concept of Hope. Whether the Giants can build on this Hope, can turn Hope into Success, is strictly up to them. Hope is a start.

OK, here’s the deal. Naturally, the Giants were trailing in the bottom of the seventh, trailing 1-0, a score which seemed insurmountable to them. That’s how badly they hit.

I won’t go over the whole inning. You can read that in the gamer. Cut to the key moment. Cut to IT. With one out, Gregor Blanco ran home from third on a ground ball to first base. Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu threw home to catcher Tyler Flowers, and Flowers tagged out Blanco. No doubt about it.

Then Bruce Bochy did one of those slow walks to home plate. He was killing time until his TV guys could watch a replay. They would tell him whether to appeal the home-plate call. They told him to appeal. The umpires put on those bulky black headsets that look like earmuffs and stood around. The players stood around. During replays there’s a lot of standing around.

The nature of the appeal was specific. Had the catcher Flowers blocked the plate before he got the ball? According to the new rules, a catcher can’t block the plate without the ball.

The rules monitors in New York (who are those guys?) said Flowers blocked the plate sans ball, and Blanco had, in fact, scored.


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