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Ford Proctor’s ‘big moment’ grand slam lifts Rodón, Giants to sweep

Chris Mezzavilla | KNBR

Before Thursday, the biggest memory of Ford Proctor’s baseball career came in Arizona, when he made his MLB debut and recorded his first big-league hit.

That was five days ago and a monster grand slam ago.

Proctor’s first career home run was also grand slam, the 16th time in Giants history that’s happened. His second-inning blast powered the Giants to a 6-4 win — San Francisco’s ninth in its past 10 games — and gave Carlos Rodón his 14th win.

“I think when a guy like Ford Proctor has a big moment, hits a grand slam and essentially wins the game for us,” manager Gabe Kapler said postgame. “And you could feel it in the moment with Rodón on the mound, that that’s probably going to be enough…That felt like the story of the game right there.”

By the time reporters crowded Proctor at his locker, he hadn’t yet checked his phone. Surely a slew of text messages awaited him. He hadn’t yet seen the video of his homer, or his home run trot.

When he crossed home, the three players he’d just driven in — Austin Wynns, Thairo Estrada and Jason Vosler — awaited him. Joc Pederson, who was on deck, raised his arms in the air and connected on a leaping elbow bump.

Proctor didn’t remember much of the scene. As starter Carlos Rodón predicted, the infielder blacked out.

“I was pretty fired up,” Proctor said. “It was a pretty special moment.”

Proctor’s homer left his bat at 98.5 mph and just barely cleared the left-field wall on a line. He said he usually tries to use the opposite field, since many of his mistakes in the batter’s box come when he tries too hard to pull the ball.

The last Giant to hit a grand slam for his first career homer was Kelby Tomlinson in 2015. Brandon Crawford also famously did it as a rookie in 2011.

Moments before he addressed the media, Proctor exchanged a signed ball and bat and took a photo with Byron Paz, the San Francisco native who caught the ball. Proctor said he plans to send the souvenir back home to his family in Beaumont, Texas.

When he got called up for his Sept. 24 debut, Proctor became the 65th player to wear a Giants jersey this year, a franchise record.

“When it’s a guy who’s trying to establish himself in a role like he’s trying to establish himself, I think his teammates get especially excited for him,” Kapler said. “Obviously the coaching staff as well, myself included.”

One hit — no matter how momentous — won’t make or break a career. Proctor, a third-round pick from 2018, still has a lot to prove.

But he’ll always have that moment. And that ball.

 

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