The Giants’ lineup against righty pitchers got a makeover. Post surgery, there were still blemishes, but the finished product looked like a beauty.
Donovan Solano, one of those righty bats who has been a top option against lefties, starred in his cameo against righties, with Austin Slater taking a supporting role. Donnie Barrels powered a dramatic three-run home run in the eighth to tie it before Mike Yastrzemski walked it off, crushing his second homer of the game to deep right for a 7-6 Giants win Wednesday at Oracle Park.
The Giants (3-3), who were buried for seven and a half innings, turned a droll game into a thriller with a couple swings.
Yastrzemski, who continues to prove he’s not a fluke, saw a 92-mph fastball from Matt Strahm with no outs in the ninth and turned on it, creating the first socially distant celebration at home plate for the Giants this year.
WALK OFF SPALSH HIT FOR YAZ 🙌
And the socially distanced celebration at the end 😂 pic.twitter.com/X69Jsg01fj
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 30, 2020
An inning earlier the rally, which came against Craig Stammen, began with an Alex Dickerson walk, then Brandon Crawford chipped in his third hit of the game with two outs. Solano, whom the Giants have only trusted against southpaws, hung in the at-bat and got a 2-1 changeup that he crushed to left, just clearing the field fence for the biggest rally of the Giants’ short season.
Solano, Slater and Hunter Pence replaced the likes of Mauricio Dubon, Joe McCarthy and Jaylin Davis, the Giants desperate for help against righties and more comfortable against lefties.
Pence is the outlier among the new crew, his 0-for-4 day meaning he has started 0-for-17 in his return to San Francisco.
Before Solano’s swat, the hitting at least was encouraging, Statcast counting 10 hard-hit balls, including Yastrzemski’s third-inning home run that bounced into McCovey Cove and Dickerson’s sixth-inning shot that traveled 417 feet to center. Yet, both arrived without runners on base, an issue San Diego had not been having.
Johnny Cueto threw the most pitches (87) for a Giants pitcher this year, but there was a lot of laboring beginning in a third inning that started well. Cueto got two quick outs and induced a Trent Grisham foul-pop that a third baseman ordinarily would catch by the home dugout. But the Giants were shifted against the lefty hitter, and Cueto sprinted, coming up just short.
He took his time heading back to the mound, trying to catch his breath, and on the next pitch he walked Grisham. Three pitches later Manny Machado jumped on a 91-mph fastball and launched it 409 feet, turning a 1-0 Giants lead into a 2-1 hole.
Cueto left the mound with screams, first into his glove and then into the quiet air. There were more screams and trouble in the next inning, when Cueto hit Wil Myers and gave up an RBI single to Edward Olivares before he was pulled for Shaun Anderson. The young pitcher who has been so impressive this year pitched around Fernando Tatis Jr., but watched Grisham rocket a 97-mph fastball over the right-field wall, a three-run shot that made it 6-2.
Among the bright spots was Yastrzemski beginning to prove he is not a fluke, Dickerson’s homer, as he will be so critical against righties, Crawford’s breakthrough and Tyler Anderson, who was effective and intriguing in four scoreless relief innings; he allowed four hits and two walks, but picked two runners off first base in the eighth.
Among the weak spots, in addition to Pence, was a rough start from Chadwick Tromp, making his MLB debut, who threw wildly at second and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
But Solano and Yastrzemski made those facts afterthoughts on a night the Giants were going quietly, until they weren’t.