A much-needed boost lifted the San Francisco lineup Sunday afternoon, with Joc Pederson and his wheels returning to pay dividends as the Giants defeated the Mets 5-4 at Oracle Park to split the four-game series.
It marks the first time all season the Giants have won back-to-back games.
After a brief absence on the injured list with a right wrist inflammation, Pederson returned as the designated hitter in the cleanup spot. He scored the go-ahead run all the way from first when Mike Yastrzemski tagged an RBI double into the right-center field gap in the eighth. The run was scored with flair – an uncomfortable-looking slide to top it off.
On the victory, Pederson said:
“It’s a playoff team over there and we’ve lost some games we should have won. It’s frustrating but to build on it and get a good team like that – we can take that momentum and continue building.”
Camilo Doval entered for the save in the ninth, retiring the side in order to cement the victory.
Pederson put the Giants out in front early in the first inning with a two-out single up the middle to knock in a run. He finished the afternoon 1-for-3 with a walk.
Pederson was the most productive bat against right-handed pitchers in 2022, notching an .894 OPS in 331 at-bats against them. Although the Giants entered the game with the fifth-best OPS (.799) against righties, they haven’t been as sharp against them without Pederson –– the 2-7 record during that span accurately tells the story, even though New York starter Tylor Megill was only the fifth righty the Giants have faced in their last 13 games.
As a corresponding move, the Giants shipped Heliot Ramos back to Triple-A Sacramento. Ramos was just 5-for-26 in a platoon role facing primarily left-handed pitching.
Ross Stripling made his first start after rejoining the rotation to replace Alex Wood, who hit the injured list earlier in the week with a left hamstring strain. It’s been a rough go out of the bullpen for the offseason acquisition, entering into Sunday’s game with 10 earned runs allowed in 12 ⅓ innings of work.
The outing was so-so for Stripling, who was scoreless for the first two frames until finally allowing an RBI double in the left-center field gap off the bat of Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor in the third to put New York within a run. He departed in the fourth after allowing two singles and a walk to load the bases.
On Stripling’s outing, Kapler said:
“I thought Ross pitched fine. I think at the end, he wasn’t able to do what he likes to do to do, which is get in count leverage and when he’s pitching from behind, it’s just a little bit more challenging for him but I think overall it was a positive outing.”
Kapler turned to left-hander Taylor Rogers in a one-run game to escape the jam and it appeared he would when pinch-hitter Mark Canha skied a fly ball along the right field line. Right fielder Michael Conforto drifted over –– while simultaneously battling the sun –– and whiffed on the ball, flat-out dropping it and also dropping the lead. Brandon Nimmo followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Mets up 3-2.
The back-and-forth continued in the bottom of the fourth when the Giants set the table for an RBI single to right from Blake Sabol, followed by Brett Wisley’s first MLB run batted in –– a go-ahead fielder’s choice on a possible double play ball that he furiously raced down the first base line to beat out.
Tyler Rogers pitched a scoreless fifth and returned to the mound the following inning, only to do something uncharacteristic: allow a home run to a right-handed hitter, or allow a run at all. He had been scoreless since Sept. 6 of last season, strong enough for a total of straight innings without someone scoring on his watch. It was the second longest streak in the big leagues until Francisco Alvarez torched his first home run of the year to the first row of the bleachers in left field, making it a 4-4 contest. The blast came off one of Rogers’ classic riseballs, a sinker far above the strike zone.
Thairo Estrada continued his strong showing at the plate by crushing his fourth homer of the season in the second inning off Megill. It was tattooed at 106.6 MPH off the bat and traveled 413 feet, nearly halfway up the bleachers in left.
The homestand continues at Oracle Park on Monday as the Giants welcome the St. Louis Cardinals to town for a four-game set. Alex Cobb (0-1, 2.79 ERA) will take the ball in Game 1 against southpaw Jordan Montgmery (2-2, 4.84 ERA). First pitch is 6:45 p.m.
The Giants continue to await the anticipated return of Austin Slater and Mitch Haniger to their lineup. The latest update for the two injured outfielders is a significant one –– they weren’t in Triple-A Sacramento’s lineup on Sunday for a rehab assignment, but instead were with the big league club in San Francisco to further their treatment and recovery. The team is slated to face two left-handers in the upcoming series against St. Louis, so the possibility of seeing the pair active again this homestand could be fairly high.
Steven Rissotto has covered the San Francisco Giants for SFBay since 2021. He is the host of RizzoCast, a baseball interview show featuring players, coaches, media and fans. He attends San Francisco State University and will major in Journalism and minor in education.