Yaz Strikes Late: Big home run in the ninth gets Giants past the Rockies, 7-6

By Morris Phillips

Game deciding home runs look great and feel even better. Ask Mike Yastrzemski.

That felt really good,” said Yastrzemski of his ninth inning blast that broke a 6-6 tie in Denver on Monday night. “Just really trying to get a pitch to drive and elevate, and I got one.”

The Giants had an awful weekend in St. Louis, losing Saturday and Sunday without putting forth much resistance. The Rockies had an awful week, bringing their fast start to the season to a grinding halt. On Monday, both teams were desperate to change their storylines.

For the Rockies to be the club to rebound closer Daniel Bard would have needed a better executed pitch against Yastrzemski. It wasn’t and Bard was saddled with a blown save for the second, straight day after allowing two late runs to the Royals on Sunday.

“It was a breaking ball, probably middle-in, and probably not down enough,” Black said. “It looked to be middle-down, on the inside part of the plate and he kind of golfed it.”

Golf or baseball, Yaz looked good rounding the bases, part of his personal resurgence after he was infrequently in the lineup in last year’s postseason.

Neither starting pitcher lasted long on Monday, and the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela departed with an injury in the second inning. Alex Wood didn’t survive a rough, fifth inning that saw the Rockies cut into the Giants 4-1 lead. That stuff happens at Coors Field, leaving the game decision up to both bullpen and whatever hitters can supply late-game dramatics. Yastrzemski, preceded by Curt Casali, who homered twice in the game, were the guys for San Francisco.

Casali homered in the third and the fifth innings to give the Giants their 4-1 lead. It marked just the third multi-homer game of his career that’s been built on catching and defense.

“It’s one of those stretches where I just feel good at the plate right now,” Casali said. “I work hard on defense, and that’s always a constant for me, and sprinkle in some offense here and there. It’s nice to drive in some runs and score some runs. It’s fun, that’s all I can say.”

John Brebbia and Camilo Doval closed the door for the Giants in the eighth and ninth after Tyler Rogers allowed a pair of game-tying runs in the seventh.

Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt had rough nights going hitless with a combined five strikeouts. Joc Pederson was 0 for 3 in the three spot in the batting order, and Tommy La Stella was hitless in his only at-bat before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. It was La Stella’s anticipated, season debut after injuries shelved him out of spring training.

Alex Cobb and Colorado’s Chad Kuhl are the announced starters for Tuesday’s game two of the three-game set.

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