Casey McGehee hit precious few home runs and bounced into a bunch of double plays last season as a Marlin, which is why they had no trouble parting ways with the highly popular third baseman and replacing him with Martin Prado.
So how did McGehee repay the Marlins for that decision?
He punished them by taking them deep, of course. And in a big way.
Desperately needing a double play to escape a bases-loaded mess, Jarred Cosart instead coughed up a second-inning grand slam to McGehee, and that was essentially that for the Marlins in a 6-0 loss to the Giants on Friday at AT&T Park.
“The situation was there,” Cosart said. “I was one pitch away from a double-play ball, against a hitter who hits into a lot of double plays. And I threw a ball right down the middle.”
Despite clubbing only four homers and grounding into a major-league-leading 31 double plays in his one season with the Marlins, McGehee was named the National League’s “Comeback Player of the Year” and was presented with the trophy during a pregame ceremony Friday.
But until he feasted on Cosart’s 3-1 fastball by crushing it over the fence in left-center, McGehee was on shaky ground with the Giants, what with an average of .178 and his nine double-play ground balls. Bruce Bochy had benched McGehee three straight games before Friday.
“It was an important at-bat for me,” McGehee said. “It’s just nice to get a big hit.”
The grand slam ‒ along with a single off Cosart ‒ put him back on the road to recovery. Never mind that McGehee would ground into two double plays ‒ one with the bases loaded, no less ‒ later in Friday’s game.
One home run swing was enough to do in the Marlins.
“He grounded into two double plays, just not when we really needed a double play,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
It wasn’t a pleasant outing for Cosart, who was lifted after four innings and 83 pitches ‒ 49 of those coming in a laborious second.
After Buster Posey singled and Brandon Belt doubled to start the frame, Justin Maxwell worked out a walk out of a 10-pitch at-bat to load the bases. Cosart then struck out Brandon Crawford, bringing up McGehee.
“Got the big strikeout I wanted,” Cosart said. “Even a sac fly there with the pitcher coming up would have been ideal.”
McGehee said he would have settled for a sacrifice fly, as well.
“I was just trying to get something I could hit in the air for a sac fly,” he said. “I got into a good count and was able to put a good swing on it.”
McGehee noted how former Giant Michael Morse received his World Series ring in a pregame ceremony on Thursday before collecting a pair of singles.
He said it felt like a similar situation for him on Friday after receiving his Comeback award.
“I kind of noticed that last night with Morse, you could tell it was kind of a pick-me-up,” McGehee said. “You could tell it was kind of a morale booster for him, and I guess I felt the same way a little bit. Just a reminder you’ve overcome adversity before.”
The grand slam was the third of McGehee’s career and the first given up by Cosart. It was only the third time in his career that Cosart had given up a homer with runners in scoring position.
McGehee would ground into an inning-ending double play in the fifth, and another with the bases loaded in the seventh.
But those DP’s came too late to make a difference for the Marlins.
“The second inning was the story of the game pretty much,” Cosart said.
One night after the Marlins piled up a season-high 17 hits in a series-opening 7-2 win over the Giants, base runners were harder to come by for them against Giants starter Tim Lincecum.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner limited the Marlins to three hits over six innings and, unlike Cosart, got the big outs when he needed them. The Marlins loaded the bases in the fifth. But Lincecum whiffed Giancarlo Stanton on three pitches to kill that threat.
And with Dee Gordon out of the lineup with a tight hamstring, Christian Yelich filled in at the leadoff spot in his first game game back from the disabled list. Yelich was twice called out looking.