He did it again. This is becoming a thing. LaMonte Wade Jr. was christened “Late Night LaMonte” thanks to more heroics in the ninth inning in the form of a bloop single to left field on a 1-2 curve ball that put the Giants ahead 6-5. The single off Mark Melancon scored Brandon Belt (barely) and gave the Giants a crucial win to keep their one game lead above the leaderboard in the National League West in tact.
LaMonte Wade Jr. is now 12-for-19 (.632) with a 1.597 OPS and 11 RBIs in the ninth inning this season.
Is it late night? ✅
Is it LaMonte? ✅ pic.twitter.com/KSTIjlz6FB
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 22, 2021
It was the fifth time since the All Star Break that Mr. Wade Jr. has driven in a tying or winning run in the ninth inning. That’s just crazy.
“Late Night LaMonte, that’s what everybody’s been calling him. It seems like he always comes up in a big situation and has a good-quality at-bat and puts the ball in play and has been a huge part of what we’ve done this year. You can’t speak enough about how well he’s been able to play this year in so many different spots.”
The winning run scored on a very close play at the plate that saw Tommy Pham, the Padre left fielder, throw Belt out with a quick tag, until the ball was knocked out of San Diego catcher Adam Nola’s glove by BB9’s sliding elbow just as he was crossing the plate. It was scintillating. It was thrilling and it was a superb win in a back and forth game that saw the Giants relinquish an early 1-0 lead granted to them by Tommy LaStella’s lead off home run on a slow curve by Joe Musgroe in the top of the first inning. They would trail by as much as 4-1 in the game until they got to work in the top of the fifth inning.
Stell ya later pic.twitter.com/yUgyyPYWhs
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 22, 2021
The Giants had a very patient and very successful opposite field approach on off speed pitches in this game. One such example was Brandon Crawford’s game-tying double down the left line in the top of the sixth. That hit scored Kris Bryant who doubled ahead of the Giant shortstop.
A Tale of Two Seasons for Kevin Gausman
There is much to write about for this game. Kevin Gausman gave up a barrage of homers in a four inning, nine hits and four runs outing that ballooned his post-All Star Break ERA to over 5. At least two homers, those by Manny Machado, came off the splitter and it seems the opposing hitters have some kind of book on that pitch. It has been an issue for Gausman throughout the past three months with batters either taking splitters that are close but not strikes and sitting on other pitches or hitters seeming to lay good wood on a pitch that is supposed to miss bats. Is Gausman tipping his pitchers with change in delivery or motion? One thing I did notice watching the big Giant right hander is that if you watch his grip of the ball before he releases his pitch you can see the splitter, which actually seems to be gripped more like a palm ball or change up. It is a very different grasp of the baseball and Gausman may need to find a way to conceal that pitch in his delivery a bit more.
Tyler Rogers’ Gutsy Save
To preserve the lead Tyler Rogers survived a very scary bottom of the ninth that saw Brandon Crawford make an error and and Jake Cronenwerth single to put runners on first and second base with one out. Up came Manny Machado, already with two dingers in the game. Rogers induced him to hit a hot smash to Brandon Belt who slightly bobbled the hard hit grounder but recovered to make a strong and accurate throw to Brandon Crawford who then fired a missile to first base where Brandon Belt was not. It was Tyler Rogers covering the bag, grabbing BCraw’s throw and recording the final out of the game.
UNBELIEVABLE DOUBLE PLAY TO WIN THE GAME pic.twitter.com/bxrESu6LjJ
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 22, 2021
The Giants are now 49-27 on the road and 49-26 at home with a record of 43-34 against teams over .500.
The Giants are now 98-53 with 11 games to play, just like we all predicted at the beginning of the season. It may take 105 games to win the division.
This is an epic pennant race, one that will not be soon forgotten in the state of California and for real baseball fans everywhere.
Reyes Moronta was put on waivers and cleared. The burly right hander has had a bad 2021 season in his attempt at coming back from arm troubles. Chadwick Tromp was claimed off waivers by the Braves.
Scott Kazmir will face Vince Velasquez in game two of the series. First pitch is at 10:10 PM, Dave Winfield time.