AT&T PARK — At 10:48 a.m., Ryan Vogelsong, flanked by a crew of cameras, made his return to the home clubhouse at the San Francisco Giants’ stadium.
Some three hours later, the two-time World Series winner and 2011 All-Star, made his return to the mound.
As the cheers rained down, Vogelsong walked out to the center of the diamond where he was greeted by his eight-year-old son, Ryder. The journeyman turned fan favorite waved his cap to the crowd, threw three pitches to Nick Hundley and then gave the ball to manager Bruce Bochy, with whow he shared a hug.
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“It was good seeing Vogey,” Bochy said. “It really was. It was great to see how the crowd got into it with him coming back. He will forever be a Giant with the big games — the huge games — he pitched for us.
“He’s just such a class guy,” the manager continued. “But also a very, very tough competitor that, I think, helped change the culture around this clubhouse.”
Bochy then passed the ball off to Chris Stratton — the actual starter of the day — who delivered six innings of two-run ball in the Giants 7-2 win over the wild-card leading Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Vogey’s a great guy,” Stratton said. “He had an awesome career here, so I was glad that he got to go out the way that he did. He told me he was proud of me. He came to me after the game and told me he was proud of me, the way I’ve progressed.”
Stratton, whose previous start lasted just one batter thanks to an extended rain delay, scattered five hits and a walk while striking out four guests.
“Overall, I’m good with a win,” Stratton said. “I don’t really care how it comes about.”
The only blemish on his ledger came in the sixth when J.D. Martinez blasted a 405-foot, two run homer — his 40th of the season to center.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve had a game like that,” Bochy said.
“They did a terrific job to support Strat who, I mean, he’s on a nice roll,” Bochy said. “Again, he just pitches a beautiful game. The stuff is crisp. The location is good. A solid six innings.”
Martinez’s drive turned what had been a 4-0 affair into a two-run game, but Pablo Sandoval didn’t waste any time adding some improbable insurance. Half an inning later, Sandoval connected on a solo home run, his first right-handed home run — much less extra-base hit — since 2014.
The drought had been so extensive that not even Bochy when last the Panda had collected a right-handed home run.
“I don’t know how long it’s been — three, four years?”
Sandoval, who also tallied a single from the left side, pushed his average to .197.