Another comeback, another win for Giants
SAN FRANCISCO — For weeks, different Giants players have taken turns playing the hero role, delivering clutch hits whenever the team finds itself with its back against a wall.
Donovan Solano, Pablo Sandoval and Mike Yastrzemski all found themselves in the middle of walk-off celebrations over the weekend, earning high-fives and Gatorade baths in three extra-inning wins over the Mets.
Neither right fielder Austin Slater nor second baseman Joe Panik received that treatment on Monday night when the Giants defeated the Cubs 5-4.
That’s because they took care of business in the bottom of the eighth inning.
With the Giants trailing 4-2, Sandoval kicked off a rally with a leadoff double against Cubs reliever Pedro Strop. He scored on a one-out single from Brandon Crawford, who pulled the Giants within a run.
After Kevin Pillar grounded into a force play, Slater stepped up and slammed a double into the deepest part of the yard that barely snuck over the outstretched glove of Cubs center fielder Albert Almora.
The clutch hit tied the game at 4-4, but it didn’t stay that way for long.
A few innings after Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant robbed Yastrzemski of a potential game-tying single with a diving stop, Panik snuck a go-ahead double past Bryant to help the Giants secure another stunning comeback.
The Giants (51-50) climbed above .500 for the first time this season and improved to 15-3 in the month of July with another remarkable showing of resilience.
Despite throwing just 76 pitches, starter Shaun Anderson was removed with the Giants trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Bochy chose to send pinch-hitter Zach Green to the plate to hit for Anderson following Joe Panik’s leadoff single, but Green struck out on four pitches and the Giants turned the game over to reliever Drew Pomeranz.
The Giants scored a run on a Yastrzemski RBI single and had a chance to take Anderson off the hook for a loss in the fifth, but Cubs reliever Kyle Ryan induced a 4-6-3 double play from Pablo Sandoval to preserve Chicago’s 3-2 lead.
Anderson only allowed three hits in five innings, but two were solo home runs and the third was a run-scoring single off the bat of Cubs center fielder Albert Almora.
The rookie right-hander matched his career-high with 12 swinging strikes, but the Cubs took advantage of the mistakes Anderson made including a hit by pitch of Anthony Rizzo that led to a run in the top of the fifth.
After logging at least six innings in four of his five outings in June, Anderson has yet to record an out in the sixth inning in July. His ERA in four outings during the Giants’ best month of baseball is 7.85, but the Giants have found a way to win all four of those starts.
When Anderson exited, Pomeranz made his first appearance out of the bullpen since the Giants decided to shift him out of their starting rotation. The veteran left-hander retired all six Cubs he faced, striking out four including pinch-hitter David Bote who was ahead in the count 3-0 before he punched out to end the top of the seventh.
Pomeranz’s velocity spiked in his first relief appearance as his fastball maxed out at 95.8 miles per hour and consistently registered above 94 miles per hour on the radar gun.
Closer Will Smith wasn’t available after pitching in six games over the last 10 days, but Sam Dyson earned his first save of the season by stranding the tying run on second base in the bottom of the ninth inning.