Listen Live Now:

Thairo Estrada’s walk-off home run lifts Giants over Pirates for sweep

© Darren Yamashita | 2022 Aug 14

The Giants coughed up an early 5-0 lead, got handed a game-tying run, gave the lead right back in the ninth, then celebrated at home plate. 

Evan Longoria’s throwing error in the ninth put the Pirates on top 7-6 but Thairo Estrada’s two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth off Wil Crowe walked the Pirates off. His first career walk-off homer brought a raucous Oracle Park crowd to their feet and a rollercoaster game to its end.

Estrada’s clutch hit, capped a three-game weekend sweep of the Pirates. The Giants have now suddenly won six of their last eight and have climbed back to .500 for the first time since before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. 

San Francisco initially built a lead by scoring four in the second inning. Three of those runs came on one LaMonte Wade Jr. swing. 

Wade drilled a 1-1 Zach Thompson changeup 406 feet over the center field wall for a three-run shot. The ball left Wade’s bat at 103.6 mph and sailed from there for his seventh of the season. 

When asked about Wade, Giants manager Gabe Kapler often uses words like “swagger” and “confidence.” The outfielder recently shaved his long hair, and the results have flowed since. 

He also homered Saturday and has more home runs in the past week — four — then he did in his first 31 games heading into August. Wade entered August hitting .183 with three homers in 31 games. Four August bombs later, and his OPS is up to .772 — near his .808 mark from 2021. 

“When he gets on a roll, he can get hot with the best of them,” Kapler said after Saturday’s win. “And ultimately, a confident LaMonte Wade Jr. is a productive LaMonte Wade Jr., and he can carry us for a little while.”

SF added another run in the fourth when Joc Pederson scored from first on a double, but then the vaunted third-time-through-the-order came for Wood, who allowed all three of his runs in the fifth. 

Hitters facing Wood for a third time before Sunday collected a colossal .921 OPS. Asked pregame about the phenomenon, manager Gabe Kapler said it’s possible opponents feel more comfortable against Wood after facing him and develop a better timing mechanism against the deception-heavy lefty. 

The troubling trend struck again, and the Pirates hung three on Wood in the fifth. But Kapler and the Giants showed trust in the veteran, sending him back out for a 1-2-3 sixth inning. 

“He’s just a badass,” Kapler said pregame.

After 101 pitches, Wood handed the ball off to John Brebbia, San Francisco’s most reliable reliever throughout the season. The righty had allowed one run in his previous nine appearances and led the Giants’ bullpen with a 2.36 ERA, but failed to record an out Sunday. 

Bryan Reynolds’ three-run shot off Brebbia flipped a 5-3 Giants lead into a 6-5 Pittsburgh edge.

But the Pirates’ gaffe in the seventh gifted San Francisco a run. Both shortstop Oneil Cruz and second baseman Kevin Newman pursued a pop-up in shallow center field, but neither corralled it. Had either of them made the routine play, the Pirates would’ve taken a one-run lead into the eighth. 

Since the Giants blew their lead, they had to deploy Camilo Doval for his third consecutive ninth inning. The closer wasn’t nearly as sharp, allowing a run on two singles, a walk and a Longoria overthrow. 

Longoria could’ve held onto the soft dribbler, but instead forced a throw that sailed over Wilmer Flores’ head. But Longoria quickly atoned, leading off the bottom of the ninth with a single.

Then Estrada dug in against Crowe. The park’s 36,471 fans cheered in anticipation, then in jubilation. His walk-off homer soared into the left-field bleacher seats at 102 mph. 

All year, Estrada has provided much-needed impact for the Giants. And Sunday, he delivered exactly what they needed at exactly the right time. 

 

Get KNBR in your inbox

Subscribe today to bring The Sports Leader to your email inbox weekly.