The fate of the Giants season hangs in the balance of a three-game series against the Dodgers and if you were to ask them, they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Johnny Cueto was roughed up early on, and the San Francisco Giants (15-16) offense failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position. Somehow, someway, the win streak continued Tuesday night, as the Giants overcame multiple late-game deficits to the Los Angeles Dodgers (22-9), winning 10-8.
Thanks to a stellar offensive performance from Brandon Belt (4-for-5, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs), and Evan Longoria (4-for-5, 1 RBI) the Giants went home happy after a walk-off home run from Donovan Solano (1-for-6, HR, 2 RBIs).
This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at Oracle Park.
Cueto (4 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks) took the mound for the Giants. He opposed Dodgers lefty, Julio Urias.
Corey Seager singled with one out in the top of the first inning. Justin Turner followed with a double to right field. Runners at second and third.
Cueto and the Giants ran into trouble right away in the first. Two batters later, Max Muncy homered to right field, a three-run blast. Dodgers jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
With one out in the bottom of the first, Wilmer Flores walked. Longoria followed with a single. Belt made the Dodgers pay.
A three-run blast immediately tied the game at three. The Giants continued to do damage with the long ball.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler discussed Belt’s ability to stay hot even though he’s not playing every day:
“Brandon [Belt] continues to see the ball early, make really good swinging decisions. He’s always been a good hitter, but I think one of the things that is standing out to me right now, is that the power is coming around. He’s driving the ball in the air, he’s driving the ball to the middle of the field. He’s hitting the ball a long ways right now. I know that inspires a lot of confidence for Brandon, and he should feel it.”
Cueto settled down in the top of the second inning, retiring the Dodgers in order.
The Giants stranded Darin Ruf in the bottom of the second after a leadoff double. That missed opportunity came back to hurt them in the top of the third. With one out, Seager homered to center.
Cueto continued to struggle. A single from Turner, a double from Cody Bellinger, and the Dodgers had runners at second and third with one out.
A wild pitch on a walk to Muncy scored Turner from third. Two batters later, Joc Pederson doubled to right field, scoring Bellinger.
Cueto escaped, but not before a disastrous third inning put the Giants in a 6-3 hole.
Fast-forward to the bottom of the fourth inning. Ruf reaches on a fielding error, Brandon Crawford follows with a base hit to left. Runners at first and second, nobody out.
Two batters later, a wild pitch advanced both runners with one out. A frustrated Mike Yastrzemski popped up for the second out. Flores lined out sharply to left field, side retired. At this point, the Giants had wasted multiple scoring opportunities.
Cueto’s night was finished earlier than the Giants had hoped. A leadoff base hit from Turner knocked Cueto out of the game in the top of the fifth inning. Andrew Suarez entered in relief.
Turner singled and Suarez found himself in a jam. He recovered nicely, retiring Muncy, then getting a double-play ball off the bat of AJ Pollock. Crisis averted.
The Giants came out swinging in the bottom of the fifth. Longoria singled and Belt doubled off the right field wall, scoring Longoria from first. Giants began to close the gap.
Solano flew out to center with Belt still in scoring position. A passed ball advanced Belt to third with Joey Bart at the plate. The rookie struck out swinging.
Pinch-hitter Alex Dickerson grounded out to end the inning. The Giants continued to struggle with runners in scoring position. They trailed 6-4 heading into the sixth inning.
Trevor Gott, the struggling Giants reliever came in for the sixth. He allowed a two-out walk, but a clean inning otherwise. The Giants will need Gott to return to form if they are to rely on their bullpen down the stretch.
Crawford led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. Mauricio Dubon grounded out, advancing Crawford to second. Yastrzemski grounded out, Crawford to third.
Flores struck out to end the inning. This season the Giants have been able to capitalize with runners in scoring position. Tonight was not one of those nights.
Wandy Peralta took over for Gott in the top of the seventh inning. Peralta made quick work of the Dodgers, retiring them in order. A nice showing from the Giants bullpen so far.
Here we go again, the Giants started to rally. Longoria led off the bottom of the seventh with a single. Belt followed with a single to left-center. Both Belt and Longoria were 3-for-3 at this point, exactly what the Giants needed out of the middle of their order.
Solano reached base on an error by Muncy at first. Bases loaded, nobody out, Bart at the plate.
A double play ball up the middle was not what the rookie drew up for himself. Longoria did score from third though, Giants now trailed 6-5.
Pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval struck out. A rather disappointing bases-loaded, no-out rally for the Giants, who were 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
Peralta recorded the first out in the top of the eighth inning, replaced by Sam Coonrod. He retired the last two Dodgers hitters, and he did it with a fastball that touched 101 mph, something the Giants have never really had in a reliever.
The Brandons had a very nice night at the plate Tuesday. Crawford led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a base hit, his third of the game.
Dubon struck out, as did Yastrzemski, who was a rare 0-for-5 on the night. Giants were down to their final three outs.
Shaun Anderson came on for the ninth inning. Will Smith walked, and Mookie Betts singled with one out. Two runners on and that was all for Anderson. Caleb Baragar came in to replace him.
Seager flew out and Turner struck out. Baragar worked out of a jam. Giants were down by one heading into the bottom of the ninth.
If the Giants were going to make a comeback, they had the right part of the order up.
Longoria quickly flew out to center for the first out. Belt capped off his best game of the season with a solo home run to right-center. The Giants have completed yet another spirited comeback. Belt’s fourth hit, and second home run of the game.
This season, Belt feels healthy both physically and mentally. After the game he discussed getting back to where he wants to be:
“I’ve been working, i’ve been working hard. I’ve been putting in a lot of work to make sure I can get back on the field and be productive. I have a little bit better idea of how I’m doing it, and what i’m doing now, compared to when I was younger. The physical aspect has been missing the past year, year and a half or so. I feel like I’m back to where I want to be, both mentally and physically, and i’m jus sticking with that process.”
The Giants went down quietly after the home run. On to extra innings, which meant the Dodgers began the top of the tenth with a runner on second base.
Jarlin Garcia was tasked with keeping the Dodgers scoreless in the tenth. Bellinger struck out to lead off the inning, a big first out. A walk to Muncy set the Dodgers up with runners at first and second.
A rookie mistake from the Giants rookie catcher. A ball in the dirt and Turner took off for third. A wild throw from Bart allowed Turner to score from third base.
Bart had a good first week as a major leaguer. Tuesday nights game though was a different story. Kapler had this to say regarding Bart’s struggles behind the plate:
“It was the first thought that I had when I got back into the office after the game. This is just part of a young player in the early stages of his major league career, who’s going to have the game move really fast at times. I don’t think any of us thought that he was going to go out and catch the ideal game every time out, or hit doubles and have great at-bats every time he walks up to the plate. I don’t think that’s realistic. He’s a young, talented, super smart player, but he’s going to have growing pains.”
After the error, Garcia was replaced by Tyler Rogers, who immediately struck out Chris Taylor. Kike Hernandez sent a ball on the ground to short, which Crawford threw to second base a bit high, all runners were safe.
Rogers struck out Smith, avoiding further damage. Giants were once again down to their final three outs, down 7-6.
Bart, the last out in the ninth inning, took second base in the bottom of the tenth.
Steven Duggar grounded out, advancing Bart to third. Crawford went down swinging for the second out. Dubon hit a sharp ground ball down the third baseline, forcing Turner into a dive, unable to record the out. Bart scored from third, and this game was once again tied.
Yastrzemski lined out to center field. An ugly 0-for-6 on the night from the Giants leadoff hitter. On to the eleventh.
Rogers stayed in the game, and retired Betts on a fly ball to left. Smith was the runner at second, he advanced to third on a groundout from Seager.
The Giants gave up the lead once again, but this time in heartbreaking fashion. A bouncing ball in front of the plate was fielded by Rogers, who dove in an attempt to tag the runner Turner at first, and completely missed. The runner at third scored. Dodgers now lead 8-7.
Sam Selman replaced Rogers, and immediately gave up a single to Bellinger. A strikeout of Muncy ended the threat. For the third time tonight, the Giants were down to their final three outs.
Yastrzemski started the bottom of the eleventh inning at second. Flores popped up to short for the first out of the inning. This game simply would not end. Longoria singled against the Dodgers shift, scoring Yastrzemski from second. The Giants tied the game 8-8.
Belt struck out, two down. But fear not, Donnie Barrels to the rescue!
With Longoria at first, Solano crushed a walk off two-run homer to left field. The marathon was over! Giants take game one.
After his first career walk-off home run, Solano talked about his emotions as his teammates greeted him at home plate:
“It’s a great feeling to see all your teammates greeting you after you hit a winning home run. I got to experience what the actual home run hitters actually get to experience, to hit a [walk-off] home run.”
- The Giants have stayed consistent this season in their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Giants manager Gabe Kapler, and several other Giants players have knelt for the National Anthem every single game thus far.
Prior to Tuesday night’s game, Kapler discussed his peaceful protest in the context of the most recent police shooting of Jacob Blake:
“When George Floyd was murdered, many spoke up and said that our outrage couldn’t simply be a thing of the moment, but should be sustained, and we should have a push for real change, and what happened to Jacob Blake is just another reminder that systemic racism and racial inequality don’t go away simply because we lose our focus or because we get tired. And we have to keep fighting for the most equal and just society because change is not coming without us speaking up and taking action.”
Taylor Wirth is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @WirthTM on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.