SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.-- Angel Pagan had another hit Sunday. Melky Cabrera had two more. They got things started, and seemingly everybody else, Pablo Sandoval, Aubrey Huff, Brett Pill, wouldn’t let it stop. Only an exhibition game, but for the Giants, a telling one.
And because of the attack of the killer bees — not Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, but genuine bees who make honey — a game which threatened to last until sundown, but in fact took a mere 2 hours, 53 minutes (plus 41-minute bee delay), was a weird one.
The Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-1 at Salt River Fields. Half the Giants beat the D’backs. The other half was 15 miles west at Maryvale, where a game without bees and virtually without runs against the Milwaukee Brewers was halted after nine, tied 1-1.
Two runs allowed in 18 innings, with Madison Bumgarner starting against Milwaukee, Brian Burres against Arizona. And apropos of nothing and pertinent to everything, back at camp Brian Wilson was throwing for the first time against hitters.
Plenty of bats there, but unlike Salt River, no bees.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Pagan said of the insects.
They showed up in the top of the second when he was in the dugout waiting to bat.
“I saw [Arizona center fielder] Chris Young running towards their bullpen.” Pagan explained. “I was thinking something bad happened. Then I saw the bees.”
They appeared in right field and in a scene out of a horror movie, worked their way toward the Giants’ dugout behind first base.
Pagan, acquired in trade from the New York Mets in December to provide some pop and sting at the top of the batting order, was transfixed. Speed on the bases, but not from the buzzes.
“You get stung by one,” he said, “it means getting stung by a million. I went right next to the bathroom. Just in case, I was going to lock myself in.”
The bees finally alighted on a TV camera and seemed satisfied. The game resumed. So did the Giants’ offense.
“As the two guys at the top of the order show,” manager Bruce Bochy said, “we’re a little more athletic.” That’s Pagan and Cabrera. “These guys can run, steal bases and play defense,” Bochy said.
Pagan comes from home games at Citi Field in New York to home games at AT&T Park in San Francisco, not much of a change.
“It’s huge,” Pagan said of AT&T. “Just like Citi Field. Different parks, but a lot of similar stuff. Wide outfield gaps, good for me [on offense]. I’m a gap hitter. On defense, a lot of room to cover.
“This team is committed to win. I’m not saying the Mets weren’t, but these guys have a very good chance to make it to the postseason. Last year they had an injury [to Buster Posey], something they couldn’t control. This year they made some adjustments.”
The Giants didn’t make it last year because of those numerous one-run defeats, now perhaps one-run victories.
“The new guys might make a difference,” said Pagan, alluding to himself as one of the new guys. “As an outsider, it seemed anytime they put 3-4 runs on the board, with that pitching staff, it’s all over.”
And with 11 runs on the board it’s bee-utiful.
Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.