SAN FRANCISCO - Chris Stratton waited nearly two weeks for this night. When it came, he opened the festivities by loading the bases ahead of Paul Goldschmidt in the top of the first inning.
The Giants still won.
This was a day unlike most of the rest this season, and it started early. The Giants added Pablo Sandoval to the roster in the morning and put him right in the cleanup spot. Comeback day turned into comeback night, as Jarrett Parker - fresh off a rehab assignment - played hero, knocking in the winning run in a 5-4 victory over the Diamondbacks.
There is no coming back from the hole the Giants are in, but for a night, they were able to enjoy individual revivals. Stratton's came first. The Giants are going to take a look at their former first-round pick, and Stratton managed to five-and-dive after limiting the Diamondbacks to two runs in the first. Parker's great catch in the second kept Stratton from teetering even more.
"What a great job of keeping his poise, making pitches, limiting the damage and keeping us in the game," Bruce Bochy said. "They had him in a couple tough places. For a guy who hasn't pitched in 12 days, he had good stuff and command and on top of that the composure. Him keeping us in the game gave us a chance to come back."
Sandoval picked up the rally baton next. Playing his first game for the Giants in three years, he got off to a rough start, with two groundouts and a costly error. But in the seventh, with the Giants trailing 4-0, Sandoval blistered a 92 mph Taijuan Walker fastball into the left-center gap. Parker's ensuing double got the park rocking, and in the dugout, the Giants finally felt alive.
"He did a nice job of waking up the club and getting us going," Bochy said of Sandoval. "We looked dead in the water … that's a nice piece of hitting to go the other way, and he smoked it. And then (Hunter) Pence hit that homer. At that point, it's a different feel in the dugout."
Parker made sure it didn't go to waste. Hours earlier, he had slid near the left field wall to make a tremendous catch and prevent a run. Parker has told himself to be more careful on the field and not risk another season-altering injury. But instincts take over.
"I'm trying to be cognizant of where the wall is right there, but I was able to make it," Parker said. "I could see the ball tailing a little bit but I was able to get a good jump on it. I was trying to be aware. It was tough but I was able to come out unscathed, so that was nice."
The Giants are hoping Parker's August comeback turns into something more. He showed good signs in the seventh with his double, and in the 10th he benefited from a little luck. It was there all night - perhaps because Kirk Rueter was in the house - and Parker's grounder with a runner on third and two outs played into a shift-busting infield single.
As the Giants stormed their left fielder, Sandoval tried to get right back into the fray. Later, he walked into Bochy's office and the two smiled as they recounted the game. Bochy said it was like old times.
"He hasn't changed," Bochy said.
The Giants have, and not for the better. But for a few hours, they were able to forget about what this season has become.