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Pederson’s historic night, Crawford’s walk-off snaps losing skid in wild game

© John Hefti | 2022 May 24

The Giants were on the verge of losing their sixth straight game in embarrassing fashion. 

They had led 8-2 after six innings, enjoying two home runs from Joc Pederson, another from Tommy La Stella, and five strong frames from starter Logan Webb. But their 8-2 lead became 8-4. Then a disastrous eighth inning put San Francisco behind by three. 

The Mets’ seven-run eighth inning pushed New York’s edge to 11-8. It was the third consecutive game the Giants allowed at least 10 runs — the first such stretch in over 20 years, since May of 2000. 

San Francisco is reeling from injuries. It had blown a six-run lead. Its defense, ranked 29th heading into Tuesday, imploded again. 

Then Pederson launched his third home run of the game. It landed in McCovey Cove and tied it. The outfielder hardly budged out of the batter’s box, admiring his game — and what might feel like season — saving home run. 

Pederson’s first ever three-home run game rescued the Giants. His game-tying single in the bottom of the ninth saved them again. It also brought up Brandon Crawford for the walk-off. 

In one of the wildest games in recent memory, the Giants (23-19) snapped their five-game losing streak in stunning fashion. Pederson went 4-for-6 with eight RBI. The Giants needed four straight base runners while they were down to their final out, and they got every single one of them. In a game with 37 combined hits, San Francisco prevailed, 13-12. 

Pederson’s eighth, ninth and 10th homers of the season came on the heels of a personal slump, a 5-for-30 stretch that mirrored his team’s recent struggles. He’d hit one homer in May after drilling six in April. 

The first home run of the game came in a 1-1 ballgame in the third inning — a completely different ballgame than what it eventually became. Pederson turned on the first Chris Bassitt pitch he saw, an 88 mph cutter, and sent it into the right field arcade.

Tommy La Stella’s three-run shot in the next inning ballooned SF’s lead to 6-1. Then Pederson’s encore pushed it to 8-2 in the fifth. Bassitt had allowed the most runs in a start in his entire career. 

The teams traded zeros in the sixth, but then Francisco Lindor homered off Dominic Leone. 

The sky fell on the Giants. By the bottom of the eighth inning, they trailed 11-8, thanks in large part to Tyler Rogers giving up seven earned runs in the top half of the frame.

Pederson was their Atlas. 

When Wilmer Flores struck out to begin the bottom of the eighth inning, the Giants had a 5% chance of coming back from the three-run deficit, per Baseball Savant. Then Mike Yastrzemski and Darin Ruf — SF’s most reliable hitters this season — reached base. 

Pederson stepped in. He became the second Giant, joining Pablo Sandoval, to homer three times in a game at Oracle Park. 

A leadoff triple by Dominic Smith in the ninth again put the Giants behind, only this time by one run. Flores led off San Francisco’s last chance, this time with a 19% win probability. 

Flores was hitting ninth. Pederson was in the cleanup spot. Could SF work Mets closer Edwin Díaz enough to get the slugger another at-bat? 

A double play made that possibility look futile. Then Yastrzemski and Ruf again reached with two outs. They put a bat in Pederson’s hand for a sixth time. And he delivered. 

Then Crawford, the two-time champion, won it. The streak-ending, game-saving, momentum-swinging single slipped out of the infield and scored a sliding Ruf from second. 

For over a week, the Giants had provided hardly anything for fans to cheer about. Tuesday, they supplied pure elation.

 

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