By Morris Phillips
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants haven’t been winners at home. The Rockies have struggled on the road. And rookie Jaylin Davis hasn’t exactly tore it up since he received his well-deserved major league promotion.
Something had to give.
It turned out that something was the centerfield fence where Davis’ shot flew past on its way to deciding Wednesday’s Rockies-Giants game for the home team, 2-1. The Giants got an important 34th win at home, making it much less likely that they will finish the season with the worst home mark in franchise history.
And Davis became the third major leaguer this season to homer for the first time in a career in a walk-off situation. To say Davis was warmly greeted by his teammates at home plate would be an overstatement. The greeting too heavily leaned on ice cold Gatorade for that. But it was warm in the sense that no one wanted to go extra innings after Tuesday’s 16-inning marathon. Davis took care of that with one swing.
“It couldn’t come at a better time his first home run,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Davis. “I’m sure the team was gassed after last night, and here we’re looking at extra innings and going through the pitching again. So great timing.”
The Giants and Rockies have spent the last two nights reminding themselves and the fans of their struggles one last time before the season concludes. On Tuesday, they played 16 innings with just one hit with runners in scoring position between the two clubs. Wednesday wasn’t much better as the two clubs went 1 for 19 with runners in scoring position.
Both starting pitchers impressed, but both would admit they’ve done things in a smoother fashion. Colorado starter Tim Melville allowed four hits and a walk, but he couldn’t locate the strike zone, elevating his pitch count with 29 balls among his 75 pitches.
Jeff Samardzija had a bounce back season, but Wednesday he had issues locating the strike zone as well. And after six innings and 111 pitches, the veteran right-hander was lifted, one inning prior to the Rockies wiping out Samardzija’s razor thin, 1-0 lead.
Two errors on the same play–Brandon Crawford’s throwing error, then Brandon Belt’s inability to corral the ball–allowed Josh Fuentes to race home from third base, tying the game in the seventh. That play also prevented Samardzija from going for a career-best tying 12th win.