The SF Giants had a seven-game winning streak earlier this month, but that seventh win was the most exciting thanks to a comeback capped off by a Donovan Solano walk-off homer.
In a week highlighted by the largest American athlete movement in decades, the SF Giants had their share of highs and lows. No moment on the field was better than in Tuesday’s epic 10-8 victory in the 11-inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Any win against the Dodgers is a good victory, but especially one where the Giants showed their grit and competitiveness coming back from multiple deficits.
Anyone who has visited my Twitter account knows I am the president and chief operating officer of the Donovan Solano Fan Club. I have a Don Solano shirt, mug, and socks. I have requested, on multiple occasions, that the Giants build a Don Solano statue.
That said, my bias did not get in the way of Solano’s play becoming the highlight of the week. Few things in baseball are more exciting than a walk-off home run. Even fewer are more exciting than a walk-off home run in extra innings against your biggest rivals.
Solano has had a fantastic season at the plate. In 115 plate appearances, the middle infielder has slashed a .336/.374/.486 (137 OPS+) line with two home runs and 18 RBI.
It is a shame that there is no All-Star game this season as Solano could have likely earned his first selection. At 32 years of age and given the non-linear path he took before establishing himself as a major leaguer, it would have made an All-Star selection very special.
Solano appeared in 1,144 minor league games across 15 seasons, including 665 games at Triple-A. That is a lot of bus rides and a lot of moments where you feel like you are so close to getting an opportunity, but that opportunity never comes.
When he finally did get the big-league call on multiple occasions from 2012-2016, the right-handed bat struggled to a .636 OPS at the plate in 370 games with the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins.
He failed to establish himself with either team, but now he is firmly entrenched in the Giants lineup.
The Giants faced off against the Dodgers on Tuesday night and came from behind on multiple three-run deficits. Before Solano had a chance to display his extra-inning heroics, Brandon Belt had one of the best nights of his life.
Belt went 4-5 on Tuesday with two home runs, five RBI, and two runs scored. His three-run home run in the first evened the score at three between the Giants and the Dodgers. Then, Brandon Belt stepped to the plate in the ninth inning and slammed a solo homer to tie the game and eventually send it into extra innings.
San Francisco and Los Angeles traded runs in the 10th inning, and the Dodgers added another room at the top of the 11th inning. However, Evan Longoria immediately tied it back up with a single to right field thanks in part to the terrible, awful, evil new extra-inning rule where a runner starts the inning at second base.
Then, Solano stepped to the plate and blasted a Dennis Santana offering into the night:
The 32-year-old only has two home runs on the year, but he saved them for when they matter most.
ATF’s SF Giants Highlight of the Week: Donovan Solano’s Walk-Off Home Run
The 2020 season has been an odd year in many respects but seeing Solano prove that his strong 2019 season was not a fluke is one of the best stories on the roster. His walk-off home run capped one of the most satisfying wins of this season, and yet another reason to build that statue!