Also known as: How Brandon Crawford got his groove back.
Wilmer Flores kicked things off with a solo home run in the first inning. But the Pirates tied it up on the other end. Ke’Bryan Hayes singled to lead off the inning and ultimately made it home after a fielder’s choice, a single from Michael Chavis, and a sac fly from Diego Castillo brought him home.
The Giants took the lead again in the third inning, which started off with a single from Curt Casali and a walk from Austin Slater. Darin Ruf hit a line drive single to left field, allowing Casali to be waved home and make it safely without a play (gritting his teeth the whole time). Luis González walked to load the bases with one out, but as became a bit of a theme throughout the day, they were all stranded.
I say it was a bit of a theme because despite having nine walks and ten hits, they managed to leave 12 runners on, and hit only 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position. It’s not exactly what you want, and a better team might have made them pay for it, but thankfully they were able to do enough damage.
That said, it seemed touch and go at that point in the game. That one-run lead would once again disappear in the bottom of the inning. Hayes once again kicked things off for the Pirates, this time with a double. He then stole third, before Chavis was walked, bringing Castillo back up with two runners on. The funny thing about the at-bats for Hayes, Chavis and Castillo is that Alex Wood had each of them in an 0-2 hole to start their at bats and wasn’t able to get any of them out. Castillo was no exception once again, hitting a home run that gave the Pirates a 4-2 lead.
Austin Slater chipped away at that in the fifth inning, hitting the second solo home run for the Giants of the day. In the sixth, the Pirates pulled their starter, Jose Quintana, to bring in Wil Crowe after he struck out González. Things did not go well for Crowe, but they could have gone worse.
Crowe was unable to get any of the first four batters he faced out. Thairo Estrada got things rolling with a single, before Brandon Belt was brought in to replace Austin Wynns as DH. Belt used his patented patient approach, ultimately getting a walk, which brought up Brandon Crawford, who was much in need of a hit and a hit he got, knocking in Estrada to tie the game. Casali followed that up with a walk of his own, before Mike Yastrzemski was brought in to replace Slater and hit a sac fly to score Belt and retake the lead for the Giants at 5-4.
Alex Wood remained in to start the sixth and got Jack Suwinski to ground out, before he was replaced by John Brebbia, who entered and quickly got two strikeouts to end the inning. Wood’s day ended with four runs on six hits and two walks, striking out four, in five and a third innings.
Former Giants Chris Stratton entered to pitch the sixth inning, and Joc Pederson was brought in to face him, replacing Ruf. Pederson drew a walk, and so did Evan Longoria, setting the table for González to double to the wall, which scored Pederson. Longoria was held at third. But once again, even with no outs when he got there, no one was able to bring him home.
Which was a bit unfortunate, because the Giants would have felt a little better about having that extra run after Dominic Leone allowed a lead off home run to Daniel Vogelbach, before walking Suwinski, allowing a single to Hoy Park, and walking Liover Peguero to load the bases with two outs. Manager Gabe Kapler had seen enough at that point and pulled Leone for Jake McGee, who got Tyler Heineman to pop out to end the inning.
But the Giants did get that extra run in the end, in the top of the ninth. Longoria walked to lead off the inning, before González and Estrada made the first two outs. Then Belt was intentionally walked by Pirates reliever Heath Hembree, who wanted to face Crawford.
And friends, he chose poorly.
Crawford doubled on a line drive to right field, scoring González to give the Giants their seventh run of the game, before Camilo Doval came in to close it out without incident or drama, sending everyone on with their day with a smile and no stress. Just the way we like it.