ESPN News Services4 minutes to read
SAN FRANCISCO – Then, after getting so close to throwing a ball with his family in the stands preparing for it to happen, Alex Cobb took a moment to thank quarterback Austin Slater for the sensational diving catch that preserved the show.
Cobb did the same with Giants manager Gabe Kapler, offering some gratitude for giving him the chance. Kapler stuck with Cobb even when his pitching count was higher than it had ever been.
Cobb came within one hit of a hit before Spencer Steyer doubled two outs in the ninth of San Francisco’s 6-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night, settling for a stunning complete game. His 131 pitches were the most of his career and the most by any player in the major leagues this season, and 83 of them were hits.
“This is still surreal now,” Cobb said. “At that moment, I was just focusing on the delivery, the game plan and making plays, and then it started to become real. I had some great thoughts going through my mind about having my family here and thanking them. It was special.” certainly.”
Cobb nearly made the team’s fifth major league goal of the year, dazzling with a finger-tip fastball to shut out Cincinnati before Steer’s double provided the Reds’ only run.
Fans cheered the 35-year-old right-hander after the strike with chants of “Alex Cobb!” Once the final play was scored, Cobb hugged his teammates and coaches and acknowledged the crowd.
Slater made the defensive play of the game when he chased down a shallow fly ball by Will Benson with an improbable catch to left-center to end the eighth — and Cobb raised his arms in celebration.
Even Kapler thought it would be a success.
Cobb just missed throwing his first San Francisco hit since Chris Heston on June 9, 2015, at the New York Mets.
After getting Noelvi Marte’s first run to start the ninth inning, Cobb (7-5) issued a one-out walk to Nick Senzel before another flyout to right by TJ Friedl. Steer then came up with a hit to opposite field.
“It’s still fun,” Cobb said, as the game ball was safely tucked away in his corner locker with some other memorabilia like the no-hitter he scored in this year’s All-Star Game — his first. “I wasn’t angry or sad, just, ‘OK, let’s get this over with.’
A two-run home run was scored, and Cobb threw the third batter past rookie Eli De La Cruz for his eighth home run, the sixth complete game of his career and second this year.
Kapler left him in the game, didn’t immediately call in any relievers to warm up, and Cobb was confident he still had his best shot.
“The right thing to do is to let the guy who’s going this way continue to go,” Kapler said.
Senzel scored with a single in the third inning on a double hopper that was intercepted by third baseman Casey Schmitt on a backhanded bunt. The rookie’s throw from foul territory was high and J.D. Davis pulled a jumper off the first base bag.
Official scorer Chris Tomes originally called the play a success, then changed it to a foul several minutes later.
Did Cobb notice that the hit initially appeared on the scoreboard, and then later disappeared?
“Oh yeah,” he said.
“I was thinking about trying to throw one strikeout and then challenge the pitch and get one strikeout in about a week.”
Fans in the crowd of 26,078 jumped and jumped when Benson stepped in to face Cobb with a two-run lead in the eighth. After leading 0-2, Cobb threw two straight balls to make it 2-2 when Benson launched a shallow fly to left-center for Cobb’s fourth straight breakout. Slater sprinted nearly 20 feet for a diving goal, which the Reds immediately challenged.
The play went to replay review, and when crew chief Bill Miller announced moments later, “The call is on the field,” the crowd cheered.
“With everything on the line, what an amazing play,” Kapler said.
Patrick Bailey hit a two-run homer to help Cobb win for the first time in nine starts since July 5.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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