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Will Smith’s arm and bat save a bonkers Giants victory


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Conner Menez lasted 51 pitches. His Phillies counterpart, Jake Arrieta, beat him by just 15 pitches.

Jandel Gustave and Trevor Gott both got plate appearances early in the game.

The Giants, who feature a staff that entered the game with the fourth-fewest walks in the NL, let up 11 bases on balls.

What started as a tribute to the 1989 team that made it to the World Series devolved into a tribute to Weird Baseball, ending with the weirdest: Will Smith, laughing, safe at first on a two-RBI single.

The Giants’ eighth-inning rally gave them a win over the Phillies, 9-6 at Oracle Park on Sunday. The 36,637 in attendance saw one strange game.

Kevin Pillar, who has been raking this month, came through in the eighth to give the Giants the lead. With two outs in a tie game, Pillar tripled home Evan Longoria. Smith, only in the game after recording two outs of an attempted five-out save, stepped to the plate with two on and swatted a single to right. He was nearly thrown out at first, but the throw pulled Rhys Hoskins off the base and everyone was safe. All Smith could do was laugh – it was that type of game.

The Giants (59-60) moved to 3 ½ games back of the Cardinals for the second wild card and captured their first series of the month. For a team that had lost six of seven, taking three of run from Philadelphia is significant.

With an off day Monday and on the backs of an eight-inning masterpiece by Jeff Samardzija a night earlier, the Giants were willing to deploy their bullpen. And they did.

Menez lasted all of five outs and seven relievers followed him, Bruce Bochy putting an October hue on an August affair.

Menez was inefficient, and then he was gone. He got five outs and watched a 2-0 Giants first-inning lead become a 3-2 second-inning deficit. Menez couldn’t locate, walking the first two batters of the inning. Cesar Hernandez got on with an infield single to load the bases. With two outs, Menez walked Roman Quinn, a killer, and Bryce Harper’s two-RBI brought Bochy out of the dugout.

Jandel Gustave and Andrew Suarez combined to allow two more in the third, a Hernandez two-RBI single doing the damage.

It dug a 5-2 hole that the Giants quickly escaped.

A three-run third was fueled by a Mike Yastrzemski homer, a Scooter Gennett RBI double and Kevin Pillar single that drove in Gennett. Suddenly it was tied, and Gennett untied it in the sixth.

Gennett’s second homer as a Giant – and first at Oracle Park – came off reliever Ranger Suarez, a bomb good for splash hit No. 80. The 397-foot shot put the Giants up 6-5 and was his first since Aug. 3 in Colorado.

From there, Trevor Gott, Reyes Moronta, Williams Jerez and Tony Watson passed the baton to Smith, who was summoned in the eighth to escape a Watson-inherited jam, with Phillies on second and third and one out. He couldn’t pull off the magic trick, as Corey Dickerson flew out to deep right for a sacrifice fly that tied it at 6. Smith got the ensuing out, though, and a magical eighth did the rest.

 

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