SAN FRANCISCO — A pair of San Diego Padres sluggers launched early home runs and a veteran San Francisco Giants starting pitcher struggled to give his lineup a chance.
It appeared the Padres and Giants were destined to follow the exact same script from Tuesday night’s home opener at Oracle Park, but third baseman Donovan Solano had other ideas.
Mike Yastrzmeski did, too.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Solano –who goes by “Donnie Barrels” in the Giants’ clubhouse– crushed a game-tying three-run home run into the left field bleachers off Padres set-up man Craig Stammen.
In the bottom of the ninth, Yastrzemski stepped to the plate and pulled a fastball from Padres left-hander Mike Strahm into McCovey Cove, delivering the Giants a 7-6 walk-off win and Yastrzemski’s second home run of the night.
“He just looks like a great all-around player right now,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s starting to seem like this is who Yaz is.”
After falling behind 6-2 in the early innings, the Giants secured a stunning victory to climb back to .500 and give themselves a chance to steal a series from San Diego on Thursday.
Solano’s home run was the 14th of his career, his first at Oracle Park and the first homer hit by a Giants player this season with runners on base.
“I was looking for a pitch I could drive and I was able to react to that one pitch,” Solano said through Spanish-language translator Erwin Higueros. “Luckily I have a short swing and I was able to do some damage. The only thing I was trying to do was make solid contact and at least drive one run in.”
Solano hit .330 in 81 games for the Giants last year and set a career-high with four home runs, but the 5-foot-8 infielder’s production was so unexpected that it hardly seemed repeatable. With Evan Longoria (right moderate oblique strain) likely to return from the injured list Thursday, Solano appeared destined to lose playing time and move into a more permanent part-time role.
“I’m here to play as many games as possible,” Solano said. “I’m here to represent the Giants organization, they gave me an opportunity to be here and play baseball. If my role is to play against lefties, I will do that, if my role is to play against righties, I will do that. If my role is to play everyday, I will do that.”
After Wednesday’s effort which included a RBI single to put the Giants on the board in the bottom of the second, Kapler may need to find more opportunities to keep his bat in a lineup that’s struggled to slug the ball against right-handed pitchers.
Solano’s home run helped 13th-year veteran Johnny Cueto salvage a no-decision after a rough outing Wednesday in which Cueto failed to finish the fourth inning.
The Giants’ No. 1 starter, battled command issues all night as he walked three and hit a batter, but it was a mistake inside the strike zone that haunted the 13th-year veteran. Armed with an …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News