SAN FRANCISCO -- This is an Erik Gonzalez story — and it's positive.
Gonzalez didn't play a role in the Pirates' four-run ninth inning that sealed their 6-4 comeback victory over the Giants Monday night at Oracle Park. That's true.
But he diddo this:
And, heck, even this:
You've been in the comments section all year ragging on Gonzalez. I've seen it.
And it was deserved.
Gonzalez came into this one slashing .213/.271/.258. He's hit zero home runs, one triple and two doubles. He injuredStarling Marte and himself back in late April — against the Giants, oddly enough — meaning he's exactly as likely to destroy a human body on the field as he is to hit a double.
Remember that? Our own Matt Sunday was there in the dugout that night at PNC Park to capture the carnage:
Gonzalez literally fractured his clavicle there, requiring surgery.
And that sequence, until tonight, perfectly summed up Gonzalez's 2019. The "young Freddy Galvis," as Pirates brass proudly touted him heading into the 2019 campaign, has been a complete disaster. No, worse. A liability. The sheer inclusion of Gonzalez's name on a lineup card was enough to send fans to their keyboards, clicking away in a fit of unbridled displeasure.
Gonzalez played some baseball tonight. And believe me: I'm not saying this will become the norm from him. I'm not saying he lit it up. He wasn't the best player wearing black out there, and he's not the guy who will receive the majority of the focus postgame. We'll get to those players in a second.
It's just that, for a stretch of three hours and nine minutes on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, here in Northern California, you could kind of see what Gonzalez can do.
Clint Hurdle appreciated it:
"Erik, that's a really good observation," Hurdle began after the game. "He's working hard to add value for himself and for us. Yes — three or four [great plays] off the top of my head, two slow-rollers and then the bullet to the backhand. He's an athletic guy. We've talked about it ever since we got him. [He's] an athletic defender with good range. I like the way that he finished up tonight ...