Giants: No runs in two games, but maybe a barrier crossed

© Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Art Spander

No runs for the Giants, but maybe progress for society. Two games without anyone from San Francisco crossing the plate. One brief series in which young athletes may have crossed a barrier.

What happened Thursday at Oracle Park hadn’t happened in 77 years. They played a doubleheader without the Giants scoring a run, something that hadn’t occurred since 1943 when the team was in New York.

That each game was only seven innings became incidental The Dodgers won the first 7-0, the second, 2-0, and in the nightcap — dare we call it that when the sun was shining? — the Giants had only two hits. Ooh.

The Giants had won seven games in a row. Now they have a two-game losing streak. Now they look like team that has no business believing it could make the playoffs.

Yet if what took place on the diamond was a downer for Giants fans who perhaps in this rebuilding season had been falsely encouraged — just compare the Dodgers' lineup with San Francisco’s — what took place in the clubhouse on Wednesday had to be uplifting.

That’s when the Giants and Dodgers chose not to play, to boycott if you will, because of the police shooting of an unarmed black man Sunday night in Kenosha, Wis., an hour south of Milwaukee.

“Too many killings,” said Mike Yastrzemski.

Yaz is white. He’s also compassionate, and a Vanderbilt grad, intelligent. He’s been the team’s surprise offensive leader this season, his second with the Giants, after a seemingly go-nowhere career of years at double and triple A. And his second in the major leagues.

The fans may not care about a ballplayer taking a stand. They only may be interested in who takes a fastball deep. Yaz has done that too, seven home runs, although against Clayton Kershaw and Brusdar Graterol there were no homers. In fact, for the first time this season for the Giants as a team, there were no runs.

So Yastrzemski’s contribution didn’t show up in the box score, but it may. He understands that any team, but especially a major league team, will have players from north and south. Latin America and Asia, and thus people with varying opinions. On Wednesday, when the Giants were trying to decide whether to play or not, on Yaz’ encouragement, those opinions were voiced.

The Dodgers, headed by manager Dave Roberts and center fielder Mookie Betts, were not going to play, joining the Milwaukee Bucks and other NBA franchises in basketball and baseball.

In effect that left the Giants no option, other than to listen to each other.

When the discussions had ended, the central belief was based on mourning and supporting those who were appalled by what they considered systemic racism.

“You have to have hard conversations,” he said, “and that’s exactly what they are because there are so many different people with different experiences from different countries from different backgrounds, and everybody had their different path to get here, and now we’re all crossing and expected to fall into one mold as professional baseball players.”

Yaz is the grandson of a Hall of Fame outfielder, Carl Yastrzemski. Mike grew up in the suburbs of Boston, Kennedy Country some might say. “I’m not a politician, he said.

More accurately he’s a pragmatist, as well as a left-handed pull hitter.

The Giants certainly had been on a roll, with fortunate rallies and just enough relief pitching to make some people — emphasize “some” — think the team might creep into that eighth and last National League playoff spot. (Reality, the Dodgers have the first. Reality, the Dodgers have the best record in baseball).

What the Giants have are guys who on Thursday turned cold offensively after being inordinately hot for a week.

They also have a 30-year-old outfielder who had been hitting the long ball, and Wednesday and Thursday with his outlook may have hit a target, uniting people who have different viewpoints but wear the same uniform.