© Stan Szeto | 2018 Jul 11
Buster Posey is playing hurt, but he’s still Buster Posey. With two outs, and the Giants and Cubs knotted at four runs each in the bottom of the 13th inning, Posey stepped up to the plate. With Brandon Belt on second base and Andrew McCutchen on first, the Giants’ All-Star catcher worked the count to 2-2 before striking a ball deep off the right field wall, scoring Brandon Belt second and closing out a more than four-hour game.
The Giants opened the game with an explosive first inning, as third baseman Chase d’Arnaud led off with his first-ever home run as a Giant, and just the third of his career.
After Andrew McCutchen walked and Brandon Crawford singled with two outs, Gorkys Hernandez cleared the bases with a triple into the right-center field gap. Steven Duggar then singled up the middle to drive Hernandez home and close out the first inning with a four-run lead.
Before the game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy discussed his decision to start Duggar against Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery. Before being called up by the Giants July 3, Duggar was hitting .175 against left-hand pitchers for the Triple AAA Sacramento River Cats. In his three previous seasons in the minors, Duggar hit .303 against lefties.
“With Duggar, he’s going to be playing a lot of center field and we’re going to find out how he handles lefties,” Bochy said. “If you look at his numbers in Sacramento, they were a little low this year, but his history is that he hits lefties pretty good. He’s patient, hangs in there, uses the whole field, so he gets the start today.”
While the Giants went cold after the first, the Cubs offense was sparked by a triplet of home runs. In the third inning, Cubs center fielder Jason Hayward took a Jonny Cueto slider deep to right-center field, cutting the deficit to three.
Cueto lasted the same five innings as he did in his last outing July 5 against the St. Louis Cardinals, but relinquished two fewer runs. He was given an extra day of rest before the game and was cruising until the fifth inning, when he looked to be in momentary pain after hitting a dribbler in the top half of the inning.
Cueto returned to the game, but only lasted through the end of the fifth after relinquishing a two-run home run to Kris Bryant, which cut the Cubs’ deficit to one. Before the game, Bochy mentioned that Cueto would receive as much relief as he needed.
“We’ll keep a watchful eye on him, but he’s good up to 100 pitches,” Bochy said. “But we’ll check the innings, how stressful they are and if we think he needs help, we got him covered today.”
Bochy stuck to his word, relieving Cueto with Ty Blach in the sixth. One inning later, Giants reliever Tony Watson replaced Reyes Moronta before relinquishing a game-tying home run to Cubs second baseman Javier Baez.