Win keeps playoffs realistic
Dickerson goes deep as pinch hitter, Bart hits two doubles
Are the Giants playing mustwin games this week? If they’re not mustwin, they’re certainly we-really-ought-to-consider-themmust-win.
The Giants pulled out a 52 victory over Colorado on Tuesday night at Oracle Park in their most important game of the year — at least until Wednesday night.
Austin Slater homered to open the top of the first inning and reached base five times, and Alex Dickerson came off the bench in the seventh to break a 22 tie with his second homer since becoming a new daddy.
Brandon Belt also got a huge pinch hit in the seventh, doubling off the centerfield wall to score two runs and give the Giants a 52 edge.
And Joey Bart — yes, Joey Bart — hit his first two doubles since his third game in the big leagues, a nice sign for the Giants who placed another
catcher, Chadwick Tromp, on the injured list Tuesday with a shoulder issue.
What does it mean? It means the Giants still have a legitimate shot at the postseason. They’re tied for the final playoff spot, though because they’d lose the tiebreaker, they’d need to consider these final six games over five days, well, mustwin.
“Every game is a must win,” Dickerson noted before the game. “This is kind of the last stretch. A lot of teams are in it. You go out there and give it everything you’ve got and see what happens.
“We know how important every single game is. We know our schedule is not easy to finish up. We’ll go out there and grind it out like we have all season.”
The Giants lost another outfielder when Luis Basabe limped off the field in the third inning after grounding out. He reached for the back of his right leg, showing a possible pulled hamstring, which would be bad news for a team running out of outfielders.
Mike Yastrzemski (calf strain) missed his fifth straight game, and Slater can’t play defense because of a flexor strain in his elbow. Dickerson had a scary moment in the ninth inning Monday when drilled on the right elbow, but Xrays were negative.
Dickerson missed two games to be with his wife, Jennifer, who gave birth Sunday to the couple’s first child, a boy named Levi. Dickerson returned to the team Monday and got three hits, including a homer, and is turning into the second coming of Mike Trout, who went on a home run barrage after the birth of his first child.
Outfield depth is close to nonexistent. With Basabe out, Daniel Robertson moved from shortstop to left field and Darin Ruf shifted from left to right. Brandon Crawford came off the bench to play short.
That set up a Robertson-Mauricio Dubón-ruf alignment, basically three infielders in the outfield. As it turned out, Robertson made the play of the game in the seventh inning when gunning down speedy Garrett Hampson, who tried to turn a single into a double.
It was Robertson’s sixth career game in the outfield, first since 2018. It could have been a big inning, but the Rockies settled for one run on former Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar’s double off Tyler Rogers.
That made it 22, and the Giants answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning on Dickerson’s and Belt’s differencemaking pinch hits.
Drew Smyly, in his penultimate start of the regular season, pitched five scoreless innings before running into trouble in the sixth and needing Trevor Cahill to bail him out.
Smyly walked Pillar on five pitches, and Pillar stole second, the Rockies’ third steal on Smyly’s watch — the lefty did a poor job keeping runners close — two by Pillar and one by Matt Kemp, who hadn’t stolen a base since 2016.
Pillar took third on Trevor Story’s single to right and scored on Charlie Blackmon’s grounder to second baseman Donovan Solano, who made a bad backhanded flip to Crawford, ruining any chance for a double play.
Tony Watson and Sam Coonrod shut down the Rockies over the final two innings, Coonrod earning the save.
Austin Slater (13) celebrates with Donovan Solano after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Rockies.
Alex Dickerson runs the bases after hitting a solo home run off Colorado’s Jairo Diaz in the seventh inning. The Giants added two more runs in the inning.