SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bruce Bochy spoke to a ballpark filled with thousands of lives he touched in some way and thanked them all straight from the heart, no notes necessary.
Bochy bid an emotional farewell following 2 1/2 decades in what is certainly a Hall of Fame managerial career, finishing with a 9-0 defeat to the mighty Dodgers on his last day as fans remained in their seats long after the game ended to celebrate a man who helped bring this city its only three World Series championships.
Los Angeles won its franchise-record 106th game, jumping to a 5-0 lead in the first that held up on Will Smith’s two-run homer right after a bases-clearing, three-run double by Corey Seager.
“It’s all about Bochy,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game, then paid his respects during a special exchange of the lineups ahead of first pitch.
Yet Roberts absolutely wanted to win this one to put these 2019 Dodgers (106-56) in elite company of their own. They passed the win mark of the 1953 “Boys of Summer” team based in Brooklyn that included Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and other Hall of Famers.
“I’m going to take a moment to appreciate what we did as an organization. We’re talking about the regular season and all those great teams in Dodgers history,” Roberts said. “It takes a lot to accomplish what we accomplished as a group, as an organization, and there’s a lot to be said for that. So very proud of everyone top to bottom. It’s something that no one can take away from us and it speaks to the character, the work ethic, the talent, just the togetherness of everyone, so very proud.”
The Dodgers finished with the second-best record in the majors behind the 107-win Houston Astros.
Chants of “Bochy! Bochy!” greeted him during introductions and son and former Giants pitcher Brett threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his ex-catcher father. Bochy held grandson Braxton in the dugout before the game, too. Fans stood and cheered “Bochy!” again once the final out was made and an extravagant, surprise postgame ceremony ensued.
“This was as tough a day as I’ve ever had,” Bochy said. “I had no idea that this send-off would be like it was today.”
Bochy took one final ride around the ballpark in a classic convertible with wife, Kim, and their grandson.
Roberts ran back out onto the field to join the celebration of Bochy, with home run king Barry Bonds grabbing the blue Dodgers cap from his pal’s head and tossing it into right field as Roberts became a good-natured punching bag in the rival colors.
“His hat should have been thrown … I threw him off the field,” Bochy said of someone he managed in San Diego and San Francisco.
The 64-year-old Bochy, who guided the Giants to World Series championships in 2010, ’12 and ’14, waved and tipped his cap from the dugout before the game before doing some stretches against the back of the railing taking it all in as he promised to do from the start of the final week.
Bochy finishes 2003-2029 in 4,032 games as a manager over 25 seasons, the first 12 with San Diego before 13 in San Francisco. He went 1,052-1,054 with the Giants, who wound up 77-85 in his final year and with four more wins than last season.
Lefty Rich Hill worked three scoreless innings allowing one hit in his 13th start of the season for the Dodgers. Dustin May (2-3) pitched a perfect fourth for the win.
A smiling Tim Lincecum was among the dozens of former players on hand for Bochy’s farewell festivities, with groups walking out from center field representing various years. Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner with a pair of no-hitters, emerged alone at the very end to huge cheers. He later offered his manager a warm embrace.
“It was was beyond whatever I thought they could do,” Bochy said.
The Giants attempted to make the loudest foghorn call the Bay Area has experienced by having fans turn their phones into a foghorn through the ballpark app or on the team’s website.
“We’ll see you at Cooperstown,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said in wishing Bochy well.
Clayton Kershaw pitched the bottom of the fifth in a playoff tuneup, getting one strikeout in a 1-2-3 inning. He pitched in relief for the first time since Sept. 22, 2009.
Kershaw tipped his cap to Bochy, and the manager did so back.
Roberts said the Dodgers are still discussing their Division Series rotation.
Bochy promised MadBum would have his spikes on.
Madison Bumgarner, who didn’t pitch Sunday as had been originally planned, drew a rousing standing ovation before lining out as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the fifth against Kershaw.
“It was cool,” Kershaw said. “Once he saw he was not pitching today it was some way to let the fans appreciate what he had done here. It’s a good way to do it, get him there in against the lefty who he’d hit a few home runs against.”
San Francisco’s big lefty tipped and waved his batting helmet in every direction to acknowledge the fans in what might have been his final moment in a Giants uniform.
The 2014 World Series MVP can become a free agent, so Tuesday might have been his final start for the Giants. He is wrapping up a contract singed in April 2012 that included a $12 million contract option this year, and the Giants opted not to deal him at the trade deadline.
Right-hander Dereck Rodriguez (6-11) started in Bumgarner’s slot.
San Francisco drew 2,707,760 fans in 2019, lowest home attendance in the ballpark’s 20-year history. It’s also the Giants’ first time not reaching 3 million in attendance at home since 2008 and ’09 and down from their 3,156,185 last year.
Dodgers: RHP Joe Kelly, who hadn’t pitched since Sept. 18 because of what the Dodgers called an overall body issue, recorded two outs in the sixth. … LF A.J. Pollock returned to the lineup after sitting out Saturday with a left knee bruise he injured when hit by a pitch during Friday’s 9-2 win. … 3B Justin Turner missed his fifth straight game with back tightness but will get simulated work done during Tuesday’s workout day back home ahead of the Division Series.
Seven-time reigning NL West champion Los Angeles will hold a workout day Tuesday before opening the Division Series at Dodger Stadium against the wild card winner.
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