For over two months the SF Giants have looked like a shell of their former selves; rather than resembling any part of the franchise-record 107-win 2021 squad, the Orange and Black have struggled to hit and play defense against even the worst of teams in Major League Baseball.
After all of the poor play and falling well off the pace of a playoff spot, it was surprising to see the Giants pick up the pieces and win the first two games of a three-game series against a team in playoff position, the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday and Saturday. Even more stunning was the way they took Sunday's finale to sweep the visiting Phillies: blowing a late lead and, just when the momentum seemed gone, winning it with one swing of the bat.
Wilmer Flores was the walk-off hero Sunday afternoon, ripping a David Robertson pitch just inside the left-field foul pole for a two-run shot with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 5-3 win.
Just moments before Flores stepped in, rookie outfielder Bryce Johnson drew a leadoff walk in a 3-3 ballgame. Fellow flychasers Luis Gonzalez and Mike Yastrzemski were helpless against the right-handed Robertson, striking out on a total of 7 pitches between them before Flores saved the day.
On the hill for the Giants to start the game was Carlos Rodon, and he continued his strong campaign with six scoreless innings, five hits and two walks allowed while striking out 10.
Rodon's outing was backed up by a Giants outburst in the fourth. J.D. Davis and Thairo Estrada walked with one out, and Lamonte Wade Jr. knocked in Davis with a base hit. With two out, Austin Wynns drove in Estrada, then Johnson plated Wade on a single to right - his first career MLB hit - for a 3-0 lead.
Giants bullpen falters in 8th
Following Rodon's stellar performance, Alex Young tossed a scoreless seventh inning with two strikeouts. John Brebbia, reliable for much of the season until recently, entered for the eighth and struck out the first hitter before a pair of singles and a three-run homer allowed Philadelphia to tie the game.
Despite not earning the victory, Rodon improved his season numbers to a 2.92 ERA and 201 strikeouts in 157 1/3 innings pitched.
In the Wild Card chase, the Giants are eight games back of the Phillies for the last spot and also have to hurdle the Milwaukee Brewers. They have 30 games left in the season and start a three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.