GIANTS WIN IN EXTRA INNINGS
MILWAUKEE — The Giants may have spent four days resting during the All-Star break, but it wouldn’t come as a shock if there were restless nights for players confronting uncertain futures.
After the club won for the seventh time in nine games on the final day of the first half on Sunday, Giants players seemed to understand their fate. Win, and the front office might just keep the current roster together. Lose, and the Giants may have no choice but to sell off veteran assets and completely shift their attention toward the future.
One game won’t force the hand of the team’s decision-makers, but the Giants (4248) displayed remarkable power and resilience throughout a 10-7, 10-inning victory over the Brewers on Friday.
Catcher Buster Posey’s 10th-inning grand slam off reliever Matt Albers broke a 6-6 tie and sent the club to its eighth win in its past 10 games. Posey’s fifth career grand slam and first since July 24, 2015 marked the team’s fifth home run of the game as all 10 of the runs the Giants scored came on home runs.
San Francisco hadn’t hit five home runs in a game since the Giants blasted six on April 23, 2014 at Coors Field, but they needed all five to outlast Milwaukee in Friday’s series opener.
The Giants rallied from two separate deficits on Friday including one against hard-throwing Brewers All-Star Josh Hader who surrendered a game-tying home run to pinch-hitter Tyler Austin in the eighth inning and a go-ahead home run to shortstop Brandon Crawford in the top of the ninth.
With San Francisco trailing 5-4 in the eighth, Austin drilled a 419-foot opposite field home run into the second deck of the Miller Park bleachers off Hader. Austin’s blast marked the Giants’ third home run of the game, but the team was in need of more offense after starter Shaun Anderson and reliever Reyes Moronta combined to allow three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Crawford provided the extra lift, yanking a 378-foot solo shot over the right field wall that gave manager Bruce Bochy a chance to put the ball in the hand of closer Will Smith. Smith was a perfect 23 for 23 in save opportunities entering Friday, but he allowed a leadoff triple to Christian Yelich who scored the tying run on a one-hopper to the right side of the infield from Mike Moustakas that second baseman Joe Panik couldn’t field clean
Smith wound up earning the victory thanks to Posey’s grand slam while Mark Melancon allowed a run and finished off the game in the 10th.
The Giants initially fell behind 5-4 after a rough performance from Moronta, who allowed a pair of inherited runners to score and the go-ahead run to cross home as the first five Brewers reached base in a three-run inning.
The Brewers’ rally followed a pair of Giants home runs as Austin Slater put the club on the board with a two-run home run in the fifth before Evan Longoria lined his teamleading 13th home run of the season off the left field foul pole to push the Giants ahead 4-2 in the sixth.
Longoria’s sixth home run in July came against Corbin Burnes, who pitched in relief of starter Chase Anderson. After entering the month with just seven home runs on the year, Longoria is three shy of matching his total of 16 from a season ago.
Anderson set new career highs with eight strikeouts and 13 whiffs, including three punchouts of Yelich, the reigning National League MVP. The Giants rookie completely dismantled one of the most polished hitters in baseball, racking up six swings and misses on 17 pitches against the NL leader in home runs.
Entering play on Friday, Yelich had struck out three times in one game just once this season, but the Angels needed two different pitchers to combine for three strikeouts against the Brewers right fielder on April 9. On Friday, Anderson achieved the feat by himself and became the first pitcher to strike out Yelich three times in the same game since Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco on September 2, 2016.
Longoria’s two-run homer put Anderson in line for the win, but the right-hander allowed a leadoff walk to catcher Yasmani Grandal and a double to right center field to Moustakas before Bochy called on Moronta to try to get out of the inning.
Moronta’s implosion hurt the Giants and didn’t do any favors for Anderson’s final line as the starter was charged with four earned runs in fiveplus innings. After allowing three runs or fewer in six consecutive starts, Anderson has now allowed four earned runs in each of his past two outings.
After hitting a 106-mph lineout directly into the glove of left fielder Ryan Braun in his first at-bat, Slater drilled a 1-2 pitch out to right field off Anderson to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth, marking his second career homer at Miller Park.
Slater hit his first career home run at the stadium on June 8, 2017, six days after he made his major league debut for the Giants in Philadelphia. His first career home run traveled 461 feet and remains the farthest of the seven he’s hit in the majors while the two-run shot he hit Friday against Anderson barely snuck over the right field wall at 369 feet.
The Giants right fielder hit just one home run in 74 games for San Francisco last season, but has already matched his career-high with three in the six games he’s played since earning a call-up on July 1.