San Francisco Giants Brandon Belt slides in safely after Lamonte Wade Jr hits an RBI single in the top of the ninth as San Diego Padres catcher Austin Nola comes up empty handed at Petco Park in San Diego on Tue Sep 21, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Jeremy Kahn
Brandon Belt might have scored the biggest run of his big-league career, when it was needed the most for the San Francisco Giants.
Belt scored on a single by Lamonte Wade, Jr., with one out in the top of the ninth inning, helping the Giants to a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the San Diego Padres in game one of a pivotal three-game series at Petco Park.
This was a win that the Giants so desperately needed, as they held on to their slim one-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who defeated the Colorado Rockies 5-4 in 10 innings at Coors Field.
Wade, Jr., came with the big hit just out of the reach of Fernando Tatis, Jr., at shortstop and Belt just beat the throw of Tommy Pham, when Austin Nola was unable to hold to the ball at the plate.
This was the 13th hit in 19 at-bats for Wade, Jr., in the ninth inning or later and has now defeated the entire National League West in the 9th inning.
Belt singled with one out off of Giants closer Mark Melancon, then Buster Posey singled Belt to second and then Wade, Jr., came up with another big hit in the late innings.
Melancon was able to regroup and get Kris Bryant to ground into a double play to end the inning; however, the Giants regained the lead.
Tyler Rogers came on to close out the game for the Giants, and it did not get off to a good start, as Brandon Crawford committed a fielding error on a ball hit by Wil Myers, but then Rogers got Tatis, Jr., to strikeout looking for the first out of the inning to bring up Jake Cronenworth, who singled to put runners on first and second to bring up Manny Machado with the game on the line.
Machado hit a ground ball to Belt, who threw to Crawford for the second out and then got Machado at first base by a step to end the game and give the Giants their 98th win of the season.
Things got to a rousing start for the Giants, as Tommy La Stella led off the top of the first inning and the game with his sixth home run of the season.
After that, it became the Padres home run show, as Machado hit his 25th home run of the season onto Western Metal Supply Company building to tie up the game in the bottom of the first inning.
The Padres took the lead in the bottom of the second inning, as Tatis, Jr., gave the Padres the lead when he singled off of Kevin Gausman to score Trent Grisham.
Machado then hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the third inning that increased the Padres lead up to 3-1, it was the 26th home run for Machado. Pham then increased the lead up to 4-1 a few batters later, as he hit his 15th home run of the season.
The Giants began to make a comeback that eventually gave them the lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning.
Wilmer Flores cut the Padres lead in half, as he singled to left field to score Evan Longoria and send Mike Yastrzemski to second base, who then scored on a Buster Posey sacrifice fly.
Crawford then got the Giants even in the top of the sixth inning, as he doubled to the opposite field to score Bryant and then Yastrzemski hit a sacrifice fly to give the Giants the lead to score Crawford.
Once again, the Padres tied it up in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Nola hit his second home run of the season and that setup the heroics by Wade in the top of the ninth inning.
Gausman went only four innings, allowing four runs on nine hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three; however, he allowed three home runs and turned the ball over to the bullpen.
Camilo Doval gave up a single in his only inning of work, then Zack Littell gave up the game-tying home run to Nola in the bottom of the sixth inning and that would be the last hit allowed by the bullpen until Rogers gave up the single to Cronenworth in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Doval, Jose Alvarez, Dominic Leone, Tony Watson, who pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two on his way to his sixth win of the season and then Rogers picked up his 13th save of the season, despite allowing a single and a huge strikeout of Tatis, Jr., for the first out of the bottom of the ninth inning.
NOTES: This was the Giants 49th win of the season on the road, good enough for their sixth best road record in team history and have 13 out of their last 15 games on the road.
With two more wins, the Giants will reach the 100-win plateau just seven Giants teams in franchise history have won 100 games: 1904 NY Giants (106), 1905 NY Giants (105), 1912 NY Giants (103), 1962 SF Giants (103), 1993 SF Giants (103), 1913 NY Giants (101) and 2003 SF Giants (100).
UP NEXT: Giants will send Scott Kazmir to the mound on Wednesday night, as he looks for his first win of the season, while the Padres will send Vince Velasquez to the hill, as he looks for his fourth win of the season.