In a very 2021 San Francisco Giants way, of course it was Mike Tauchman.
In a very 2021 San Francisco Giants way, of course it was Brandon Crawford.
Alex Dickerson had left the game after one at-bat with a tight back. So a team that prides itself more than anything on its depth relied upon another lefty-hitting outfielder in Tauchman.
And in the first game in which Crawford, alone, is the all-time leader of games played at shortstop for the Giants, the big-game player played big.
Tauchman’s go-ahead grand slam and Crawford’s pair of homers catapulted the Giants ahead of the Rangers in a 9-4 win at Globe Life Field on Tuesday to begin a five-game road trip.
The win boosts the Giants (38-22) back to 16 games over .500 and in possession of the best record in baseball, two games up on the Padres (for now, as they were midgame as of publication) and three up on the Dodgers.
The Giants scored seven runs before recording their final four outs, which is a good recipe to win.
What a time for Tauchman’s first career grand slam. The Giants had been 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on a frustrating day in Texas before the struggling trade addition stepped to the plate against Josh Sborz with two outs in the eighth. The Giants had put two on in the seventh, but Austin Slater and Buster Posey struck out; Wilmer Flores had struck out and Donovan Solano lined out with runners on preceding Tauchman.
Mike Tauchman picked a good time for his first career grand slam 🤯
— KNBR (@KNBR) June 9, 2021
So he put a good swing on a 3-1 fastball, lasering it down the right-field line and the ball just staying fair.
There has been plenty of frustration around Tauchman, who was 3-for-his-last-30 entering the at-bat. Perhaps Dickerson leaving early sparked him — next man up, after all.
The swing rescued the Giants like Tauchman’s glove saved them in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. In their second game without Evan Longoria, and still playing without Tommy La Stella and Mike Yastrzemski, among many others, they found a way yet again.
It would have been closer, and Tyler Rogers would have been needed for the ninth, but Crawford came through again. He knocked his second home run of the game — and 14th of the year in 52 games — to bring three runs in and put the game out of reach. Crawford was on base four out of five times and knocked in four on the day, which was a significant one for him.
Crawford hits another one. He is nuclear right now 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/hsehqpMiCh
— KNBR (@KNBR) June 9, 2021
When he took the field in the first, he did so alone, just like he alone held the record at 1,326 games as Giants shortstop. The rest of the Giants held back, and the Texas public address announcer acknowledged Crawford’s record, as he tipped his cap.
Of course the big-game player then played big again, including making several nice defensive plays.
The game had taken a poor turn in the sixth, which began with the Giants ahead, 2-1, and Alex Wood trying to get through one more inning. The lefty did not have his best stuff for a third straight start. Two of his three walks came in the sixth, before Adolis Garcia drilled a double down the third-base line — just out of the reach of Longoria’s replacement, Wilmer Flores — to tie it up. Jarlin Garcia, who had been so good since returning from the IL in early May, walked Joey Gallo before surrendering a two-run double to Nick Solak, and the Rangers took a lead that Tauchman would take back.
Wood’s final line entailed 5 1/3 inning in which he allowed four runs on five hits and three walks, striking out just two. In three starts beginning May 27, his ERA has ballooned from 1.93 to 3.79.
Jake McGee and Dominic Leone both pitched scoreless innings to escape, and games in which the Giants are playing without Dickerson, Longoria, Yastrzemski and La Stella are escapes.