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Wade makes a big splash, but Giants drown in 3-2 series-opening loss to Orioles



© Neville E. Guard | 2023 Jun 2

Before throwing his first pitch of the second inning, Logan Webb stepped off the mound to pick up a confetti streamer that had strayed onto the infield grass. 

Just minutes before, LaMonte Wade Jr. smoked the 100th Splash Hit since the franchise moved to its waterfront ballpark in 2000. As Webb threw his warmup pitches to begin the second inning, the Oracle Park crowd celebrated as the Splash Hit counter in right field changed from 99 to 100 and public address announcer Renel Brooks-Moon congratulated Wade. 

A video played on the big screen showing the greatest Splash Hits in McCovey Cove history.

“That was really cool to see that,” Wade said postgame. “Starting off with Barry. Craw and Belt, all those guys. Yaz hitting balls into the water. I saw Yaz hitting balls into the water. I saw Pablo hit one in there. Dickerson, all those guys. Just to be part of that group means a lot, and being No. 100 is definitely special.”

That inning, though, after discarding the loose celebratory shrapnel, Webb served up a pair of Orioles runs. Later, in the seventh inning, the ace allowed his first home run since May 3 — a solo shot that put Baltimore up for good. 

The Giants out-hit the Orioles, six to four but went scoreless after the third inning. With chances to complete a late-game comeback, San Francisco (28-29) ran into the Orioles’ nasty duo of closers. 

Wade uncorked a memorable home run to start the game, but it came in a 3-2 loss — SF’s third straight defeat. Michael Conforto, who tested out his injured heel pregame, pinch hit with the tying run on second base and two outs in the ninth inning, but struck out to end the game. 

“I thought, generally speaking, it was a well-played game on both sides,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said postgame. “They just got that one big hit, the home run, that was the biggest difference.”

Wade, a Baltimore native, made the Splash Hit history against his hometown Orioles. 

His leadoff home run sailed into the McCovey Cove waters down the right-field line. It would have left all 30 ballparks, but only one MLB diamond is conducive to Splash Hits. 

In 2021, Wade won the Willie Mac Award in large part due to his penchant for late-game heroics. The Giants had traded Shaun Anderson for him right before spring training, and he broke out to become one of their most valuable players in their 107-win season. 

Wade’s home run on Friday night — his fifth career Splash Hit — put the Giants up 1-0. A fan named Mark kayaked to the floating piece of Giants history. Shortly after fishing it out of the bay, the fan parked his boat, showed his ticket to an usher and walked into Oracle Park to catch the rest of the game. 

After the game, the fan traded the ball for a signed bat and two signed balls. If Wade gets to keep the historic cowhide (he joked he might have to negotiate with the team for custody), he’ll give it to his mom.

Between plucking himself out of McCovey Cove and finding his seat, the fan might’ve missed the Orioles take a 2-1 lead. Ryan O’Hearn singled up the middle and then Aaron Hicks scored on an infield single. 

Mike Yastrzemski drove in J.D. Davis to even the score, and Webb kept it that way with four near-flawless innings. 

On his 82nd pitch, Webb struck out Austin Hays to end the top of the sixth inning. It was the ace’s sixth punchout of the night and capped his fourth consecutive 1-2-3 inning. After its two-run second inning, the only runner Baltimore put on base for four frames came on a catcher’s interference. 

Webb got some help behind him. Patrick Bailey threw out Jorge Mateo trying to steal second, with an assist from a perfect tag by Brandon Crawford. The Giants correctly challenged the initial call. 

Bailey has caught four of eight attempted base stealers already in his MLB career — a tremendous rate. 

Later, Crawford made an accurate throw from deep short from his butt. Along with the defensive plays, Webb also just barely avoided a home run when Adam Frazier hooked a bomb mere feet from the right-field foul pole. 

Webb finally allowed a hit in the seventh, and it was a big one. Rookie Gunnar Henderson led off with a home run over the Levi’s Landing sign. Unlike Wade’s, his stayed dry. 

Still, the first home run Webb surrendered in nearly a month put Baltimore up 3-2. 

One batter later, the Orioles thought they had back-to-back homers, but Brett Wisely poked his glove just above the center field wall for the most nonchalant robbery possible. 

That play kept the Giants in reach, but the offense couldn’t stretch out. Four Giants in a row struck out between the sixth and seventh innings. 

In the eighth, Yennier Cano — one of the filthiest relievers in baseball — worked around a rare lapse in command to strand two runners. He’d only walked one batter and hit another in 29 innings of work prior to Friday night. He issued a leadoff walk and then hit J.D. Davis in his surgically repaired left hand two batters later, but spun out of the inning with a double play. 

Then Baltimore closer Felix Bautista, who has one more save on the season than National League Reliever of the Month Camilo Doval, stranded the game-tying runner on second base by fanning Conforto, the hobbled pinch-hitter, for his third strikeout of the ninth inning. 

The night began with a historic highlight and ended with a third-straight Giants loss.