Greek Giant

Last week, after the Giants dramatic comeback win to sweep the Cardinals in St. Louis, in a game that saw Mike Yastrzemski hit a two-out, two strike homer in the top of the ninth inning to send the contest into extras, I wrote a post called “Yaz, Yaz,Yaz“. For those of you keeping score at home that was a reference to Hunter Pence’s famous “yes, yes, yes” speech after the 2014 season. It was propulsive. I watch it and I get tears. We all know how that season ended: with a Giants World Series victory in game 7. Here is Hunter:

Why reference that moment? Because this Giants team is making a believer out of me, that’s why!

Well, after last night’s incredible 7-4, ten inning win that saw Yaz hit two homers, including a walk-off splash laser beam into McCovey Cove, some tremendous base running and defense, it’s hard to know where to begin today.

Yaz is playing like Willie Mays.

There, I said it!

He does it all! He hits for power. He runs the bases beautifully with excellent instincts. He hustles on every play. He hits lefties now. He can play all three outfield positions exceptionally well. He is a leader.

The Bullpen Games Are Working

Before I recap Yaz’s final at bat I want to address a few other things, notably the success of the bullpen games whereby a reliever starts a game and pitches an inning or two then gives way to another reliever and so forth. Last night’s script was a bit different and may explain much about the success of this formula for the Giants and how it contributes to the team’s current hot streak despite a shortage of arms in the starting rotation. That starting pitching shortage is due to a rotation of injuries to Desclafani, Wood, and now Cobb, not to mention Stripling, etc.

Last night Keaton Winn pitched five innings of one-run baseball keeping the Giants in the game despite a 3-0 then 4-0 deficit. That was one of the keys to this amazing comeback. Those five innings did a couple things. First, it rested other relievers. Second, it added much to Mr. Winn’s young MLB career in the form of confidence and the feeling that he may belong on the Giants.

Don’t look now but the Giants bullpen is a major strength on this resilient team. Who in the world would have imagined that in April!?

The Scoring

With Ryan Walker starting the game for the Giants Fernando Tatis lead off with a first pitch double down the line in left field on a curveball. Tatis was not content to let Juan Soto bat. He chose to attempt a steal of third. But he was thrown out by Patrick Bailey on a very close play that was first ruled safe by the umps. A review over-turned the call as replays clearly showed David Villar’s glove was tagging Tatis’s foot before it reached third. It was a huge out because Soto would later hit an opposite field homer to left to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. It would be the first of two Soto would hit on this night. Both long balls were to left and both were solo jobs. The Padres added two in the fourth and then Soto hit his second home run in the fifth. The Giants were being blanked 4-0 and looked a bit flat and ready for a loss.

David Villar had other ideas.

In the bottom of the fifth inning off a cruising Michael Wacha, Villar hit a laser beam homer to left field to wake up his team and the fans at Willie Mays Field. In the bottom of the sixth Yaz hit his first homer of the game, to right field.

It was 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth when the Giants tied the game with an improbable rally. Blake Sabol drew a lead off walk, a key part of the inning. Then Yaz singled to left to put Sabol at third. It was first and third with nobody out when a wild pitch, I mean Verrry wild pitch allowed Sabol to score easily. Luis Matos flied out to center  and Yaz tagged to third on the play before J. D. Davis walked.

Bob Melvin then opted for Carlton to replace Garcia. Patrick Bailey then hit a liner-fly to left that was not very deep but Yaz tagged and scored juuuuuuust ahead of the throw to tie the game! The fans went wild.

The Giants had a chance to win the game in regulation but Joc Pederson struck out with the bases loaded.

The winning rally in the bottom of the tenth inning went like this: With Pederson on second as Manfred’s man, Thairo Estrada was intentionally walked. Blake Sabol then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to make it runners on second and third with nobody, setting the stage for Yaz’s heroics.

Duane Kuiper had the line of the night: “Somebody tell Yaz all we needed was a sacrifice fly!”

Thew Giants have now won eight in a row. Their record is 40-32, a season-high eight games over .500. They are in second place, 3.5 games behind the Diamondbacks, who come to town this weekend.

That was an amazing game.

Yaz is one hell of a ballplayer!