The count showed one ball and two strikes. Bases empty, two outs in the bottom of the ninth, down by one and unable to put anyone across the plate all game long. By all appearances, the SF Giants' four-game winning streak was toast.
Had this game been contested two weeks ago, when the Giants were in the throes of their month-plus skid that dropped them out of contention for the National League West title, the game might have ended on the next pitch for an agonizing loss.
But the Orange and Black seem rejuvenated, and lately Thairo Estrada has served as one of the team's major catalysts. It was Estrada at the plate in that situation, and again he delivered: after taking a borderline pitch for ball two that was awfully similar to the first strike in the at-bat, he hammered an outside pitch the other way. The ball bounced off the brick right-field wall and off of leaping right fielder Daulton Varsho, with Estrada motoring around the third as the potential tying run.
Crawford provides game-winner for SF Giants
Brandon Crawford was next and swung and missed at the first pitch. The next offering was similar, and this time his contact sent the Oracle Park crowd home happy with a 2-1 Giants win:
It was the second walk-off home run for the Giants in three days, following Estrada's two-run bomb to overcome the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. The win also extended their winning streak to five games and represented the second-straight win over surging Arizona, which had won eight of their 13 games in August before San Francisco beat up on Giants legend Madison Bumgarner on Monday night.
The night was a tightly-played pitchers' duel, with Jakob Junis starting for the Giants against Arizona ace Merrill Kelly. The Giants threatened in the first when Joc Pederson led off with a double, but they couldn't bring him around. The Diamondbacks hit a one-out double in the second and rallied by putting two on with two out in the third before Junis shut the door in each frame.
In the fourth, Christian Walker led off against Junis with a home run, making it 1-0 in favor of the visitors, and for a while it appeared that blast would hold up as San Francisco put runners in scoring position occasionally from the fourth through eighth but couldn't score.
Junis finished with seven strong innings and seven strikeouts, allowing just four hits without a walk.
In Wednesday night's game three of the four-game set, left-hander Carlos Rodon is scheduled to take the ball and try to continue his outstanding season against Arizona's Zach Davies.