SF’s Estrada belts two run walk off homer to defeat Pirates 8-7

San Francisco Giants Thairo Estrada belted a two run home run in the bottom of the ninth to win it celebrates at home plate with his teammates against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Sun Aug 14, 2022 (AP News photo)

Pittsburgh (45-70). 7. 11. 0

San Francisco (57-57). 8. 13. 1

Sunday, August 14, 2022

By Lewis Rubman

SAN FRANCISCO–The Giants came to work this afternoon having won five of the last seven games. Unfortunately, they also had won five of their last 11 and still were a game under .500 and 6-1/2 out in the race for the last wild card spot.

Alex Wood, their starting pitcher for today’s contest, pitched a fine game in his last outing, against the current occupants of that coveted fourth wild card place, the San Diego Padres. The 31 year old southpaw went 6-1/3 frames in a 1-0 win in which allowed three hits and struck out five opponents, throwing 89 pitches.

He wasn’t that impressive in his only appearance against Pittsburgh this year, allowing four earned runs on six hits in a 7-5 Giants win. His season record when he threw the his first offering, at 1:07 this warm, sunny afternoon was 8-9,4, 4.17)

The Pirates sent 28 year old righty Zach Thompson and his 3-9, 5.08 record against the possibly resurgent home team. He has been used as both a starter and reliever in his season and a half in the show this year, all but one of his 20 previous appearances were starts, while last season he started only 14 of the 26 games in which he was on the mound.

The game ended in a 8-7 walkoff win for the Giants. Wood threw 101 pitches, 64 for strikes, over six innings before leaving with a 5-3 lead.The three runs he allowed were earned and came on five hits, a walk, and two hit batters. All he got was a no decision that left him at 8-9, 4.18.

Thompson lasted only four innings, having thrown 90 pitches, 38 of them balls, and surrendering five runs, all earned, on seven hits, one of them yard, two walks, and a hit batsman. He escaped with a no decision and wound up with a record of 3-9, 5.34.

Brandon Belt was back in the San Francisco lineup, playing first and batting cleanup. It was his 1,394 game played as a Giant, tying Robbie Thompson for seventh place in that category since the team moved to San Francisco in 1958.

Kevin Newman wasted no time in attacking Wood and his defense. He lashed a leg double to right on the first pitch of the game. Although Wood put Bryce Reynolds on base by plunking him two pitches later, neither runner advanced.

It was a case of The Curse of the Leadoff Double in spades. Not only did the Pirates fail to score in the first, but Wood struck out four straight Buccos after he hit Reynolds with an 83 mph slider.

That strikeout streak ended when Greg Allen grounded into the second out of the second frame and Wood’s luck turned against him. Tucupita Marcano hit a dinky ground ball to second and got. an infield hit out of it.

Jason Delay was in no hurry and went to a full count before depositing a single to left that put runners on first and second, setting the stage for Newman to load the bases by being hit by another of Wood’s sliders. Reynolds flew out to deep right center, which preserved the scoreless tie.

That situation didn’t survive the Giants’ second inning onslaught. After Thairo Estrada took a called third strike, Brandon Crawford walked and scored on Tommy LaStella’s double to right. Joey Bart dropped a Texas League single that would have been called an error if MLB rules accepted the concept of team errors.

LaStella moved up to third. Both runners trotted home after LaMonte Wade, Jr. whalloped his seventh home run of the year, a. 406 foot no doubter to center that came off an 86 mph change of pace. The home team now had an early 4-0 lead to protect.

They didn’t merely protect it; they stretched it. Joc Pederson got hit by a Thompson fastball with two down in the home fourth and motored all the way home on Flores’s down the line double to left. Pederson left the game a couple of innings later with a contusion on his right hand.Rodolfo Castro’s relay throw to the plate might have nailed him if the Bucs’ third sacker had released the ball a mige quicker.

The Giants’ seemingly comfortable five run margin quickly shrunk to three in the fifth on Delay’s leadoff single to left center, followed by a full count walk to Newman, and a Bryan Reynolds double to left. Reynolds advanced to third on Chavis’s fly out to right and scoreddon Ben Gamel’s ground out to second. The Giants’ advantage now was down to two, 5-3.

The orange and black also had a new pitcher to face when they came to bat in their half of the fifth, the left handed Manny Bañuelos, who held them to Crawford’s single in his inning of work and was replaced in the sixth by Colin Holderman.

Kevin Newman beat out a hit to third, and Reynolds went way deep to center field, 442 feet, to be exact, for his 17th home run and 36th, 37th, and 38th RBI of the season, putting Pittsburgh up 6-5.

A single to center by Chavis sent Brebbia to the showers and Jarlín García to the mound. He fanned Gamel and Cruz, with Castro banging out a single to left sandwiched between them. Then he caught Allen looking at a changeup for an inning ending called third strike.

But it was a whole new ball game when Flores came to bat to face Holderman in the home seventh, who led off with a base knock to right that ended Holderman’s mound tenure. Southpaw Eric Strong came on to pitch a move countered by Evan Longoria pinch hitting for Belt.

He flew out to left but Yaz drew a four pitch walk that put Flores in scoring position. Estrad grounded into a short to second force out and just barely beat the relay to first, putting runners on first and third. Crawford then lifted a pop fly to shallow center field.

Allen and Newman collided, and the ball dropped off of the latter’s glove for what originally was scored as a two base error as Flores crossed the plate with the leading run. Upon review, the scorer reversed his decision and Crawford was credited with a double and an RBI, and Stout was charged with an earned run.

Stout didn’t come out for the San Francisco eighth. Wil Crowe relieved him and kept the Giants off the board with the help of a diving grab of Wade’s hard ground behind first for the second out.

Camilo Doval, who had earned his 17th save last night and his 16th the night before, came out of the bullpen, hoping to hold the Giants’ deficit at a single run. Reynolds led off with a clean single to right and took second on Chavis’s productive ground  out to short. Gamel then walked to put the potential leading run on base but also setting up a double play. Castro hit a weak grounder to third. Longoria made a barehanded pick up and threw wildly and late to first. Reynolds reached third on what was ruled Castro’s hit and scored on Longoria’s throwing error.

Gamel also tried to score, but Flores’s throw from first nipped him at home. The Pirates challenged the call, claiming that Bart had illegally blocked the plate. Sam Holberg and Greg Gibson in New York thought otherwise, and the scoreboard had the Buccos ahead 7-6 after Doval fanned Cruz to end the threat.

Longoria made amends for his error by leading off the bottom of the ninth with a single to left. JD Davis came in to run for him and was forced at second by Yastrzemski’s grounder to Newman. It might have been a double play if the Bucs’ second baseman had made a decent throw to the bag. The next pitch was to Estrada. It began as a 95 mph sinker. It ended as a game winning home run, 395 feet deep in center field.

What a game!

Doval didn’t get his save. Instead he got his fourth win against five losses. His ERA dropped to 2.76.

The loss went to Crowe, who now is 4-7. 3,34,

Arizona comes to town tomorrow for a 6:45 game. Alex Cobb (3-6,4.15) will start for the Giants. The Diamondbacks haven’t announced who will pitch for them.

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