The San Francisco Giants Austin Slater (13) is congratulated by Brandon Crawford (35) after hitting a solo shot home run against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Fri May 7, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Jeremy Kahn
Austin Slater came up with the biggest hit of the game when the San Francisco Giants needed it the most.
Slater hit an opposite field home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, as the Giants defeated the San Diego Padres 5-4 at Oracle Park.
It was the second home run of the night for the Giants, and the second by a right-handed to the Arcade section of the ballpark.
Buster Posey got the Giants on the board in the bottom of the third inning, as he hit his seventh home run of the season that gave the Giants an early 2-0 lead.
Evan Longoria lengthened the Giants up to 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning, as he singled to score both Slater and Posey and that looked like it would be enough, especially the way that Anthony DeSclafani was looking on the mound.
Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the Padres that the Giants were going to win this game after just five innings, when it is a nine-inning game.
Trent Grisham cut the Giants lead in half, as he hit a two-run home run off of DeSclafani in the top of the sixth inning that also scored Jorge Mateo, who led off the inning with a single.
After Manny Machado doubled with one out in the frame, Sam Selman came on to replace DeSclafani and then Eric Hosmer tied up the game with one swing of the bat with his fourth home run of the season.
DeSclafani ended up with a no-decision, as he went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on four hits, walking one and striking out three.
Blake Snell, who came over to the Padres after helping the Tampa Bay Rays to the 2020 World Series, went 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on just one hit; however, Snell walked six and struck out five.
This became a bullpen game, as the Giants bullpen of Selman, Zack Littell, Camilo Doval, Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee went the final 3.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits, walking one and striking out three. Doval pitched a perfect seventh inning with a strikeout to pick up his first major league victory.
Despite allowing a lead-off walk to Jake Cronenworth in the top of the ninth inning, McGee came back to strikeout the side to pick up the eighth save of the season, including getting Ha-Seong Kim on a called third strike to end the game.
The Slater home run off of Keone Kela in the bottom of the seventh inning was the only batter that Kela faced, as he was lifted for former Giants pitcher Pierre Johnson.
In all, the Padres bullpen went the final 3.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking one and striking out five; however, that bad pitch by Kela cost them a chance to gain ground on the first-place Giants in the National League West.
With the victory, the Giants lead in the NL West jumped up to a 1.5 games over the Padres and 2.5 games over the Dodgers, who have lost four in a row, including a 9-2 loss in the opener of the Freeway Series to the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim Stadium.
NOTES: Mike Yastrzemski and Jarlin Garcia were activated from 10-day injured list and Alex Dickerson was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder impingement.
This was the sixth straight game that the Giants picked up five or fewer hits against the Padres, which is the longest streak for the Giants against any opponent since 1901, this according to STATS, INC.
The Giants are now 11-3 on the season at home, the best home record in the major leagues thus far this season.
Prior to the game, Willie Mays was driven around the field in a convertible, as the team celebrated the 90th birthday of The Say Hey Kid. Mays, who turned 90 yesterday is the oldest living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Giants Community Fund is proud to introduce Willie Mays Scholars a new program designed to address racial and educational inequities by providing Black youth in San Francisco with academic and holistic support, in addition to a scholarship of up to $20,000…with the expertise of local partners, 100% College Prep and Alive and Free, scholars will receive mentoring and tailored wraparound services, empowering them to achieve success in high school, college and beyond…in celebration of the Say Hey Kids 90th Birthday, please join the Giants and Willie in giving the gift of education at jrgiants.org/MaysScholars.
UP NEXT: Kevin Gausman looks for his third win of the season, as he takes the mound on Saturday afternoon, while the Padres will send Joe Musgrove to the hill.