For one night, what the Giants lack in speed they made up for in guts.
A bold wave home by third-base coach Ron Wotus and a pair of Joe Panik legs that did not stop churning turned out to be the difference in a 6-5 win over the Padres on Tuesday at Oracle Park.
In the seventh inning, with the Giants down 4-3 and runners at the corners with one out, Evan Longoria lined a shot to left that got by Josh Naylor. Brandon Belt, who had led off the inning with a pinch-hit walk, scored easily to tie the game. As the Padres’ relay was in motion, so was Wotus’ right arm, not allowing Panik to stop. The throw home beat him by a couple steps, but it was short-hopped and catcher Austin Hedges couldn’t come up with it cleanly.
The ball bounded up the third-base line, and the Giants had a lead they would not surrender.
“It was a time to take a chance because we tied the game at that point,” Wotus said. “… They had a shot at him, but they have to execute the relay, we had tied the game, and I thought it would be a good time. And Joe did a great gob, running hard, he comes around third hard, and I knew we had a chance. Put the pressure on them.”
A batter earlier, Mike Yastrzemski had lined out to right, and Wotus wasn’t willing to test the cannon by Hunter Renfroe, who had recorded his fifth outfield assist earlier in the game. His throw-out of Stephen Vogt at second placed him second in the NL (to Cody Bellinger) in outfield assists.
“What led to the send was, we had to hold up a couple guys,” Wotus said. “They had pretty good arms out there. If I stopped another one, I think I would’ve got booed out of the place.”
The Giants had scored seven total runs in their past five games. They pounced at the right time.
“Aggressive there, and it worked out great,” manager Bruce Bochy said after another one-run victory, San Francisco now a league-best 15-6 in games decided by one run. “Great job by Ronnie, good at-bats in that inning. Starts with that walk. Belt got us going, good base-running.
“… We need some help at the point, and Longo delivered in a big way.”