An unbelievable ninth-inning rally with three home runs - the last being a walk-off grand slam - against one of the best closers in the game propelled the SF Giants to a win Friday night over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, 8-5.
A night after being out-hit by nine but losing by just one in extra innings, the Giants went into the home half of the ninth in a 5-2 deficit and having to face fireballing left-hander Josh Hader, who was named to his fourth career All-Star team in four full seasons (not counting 2020, where there was no All-Star game).
Rookie catcher Joey Bart fired the Giants up with a leadoff home run, and Darin Ruf added a solo shot with one out to pull San Francisco within one. The hosts then loaded the bases on a base hit, hit batter and bloop single, bringing up left-handed batting Mike Yastrzemski, who went after the first pitch he saw from Hader and cleared the fence just to the right of straightaway center field.
The grand slam capped a six-run ninth and ballooned Hader's season ERA from 2.73 entering the game to 4.50 when the dust settled.
According to the team, it was the first walk-off grand slam by a Giants player since Bobby Bonds on September 3, 1973 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
San Francisco had a promising start to the game before poor defense allowed the Brewers to come back and take the lead.
In the second, Lamonte Wade Jr. hit a two-out triple to drive in David Villar and Bart, putting the Giants up 2-0. The Orange and Black loaded the bases in the third inning but couldn't score, and didn't put more than one runner on base at a time from the fourth through the eighth.
Meanwhile, Alex Wood was pitching well. The southpaw allowed leadoff hits in the first and third innings for Milwaukee's only runners through the fourth.
Disastrous fifth inning prolonged by error
In the fifth he struck out the first two hitters before giving up a pair of hits, but a routine ground ball to Wade at first base - playing the field because Brandon Belt is dealing with a knee issue and mainly serving as designated hitter at present - was muffed, allowing a run to score and the inning to continue.
The Giants went to the bullpen, with submarine pitcher Tyler Rogers replacing Wood. Rogers walked a batter to load the bases, then gave up a bases-clearing double to former Giant Andrew McCutchen to put the Brewers in the lead. A hit batter followed, and an infield hit loaded the up again before a four-pitch walk forced in the fifth run of the inning.
Giants pitchers had to work around baserunners most of the rest of the game, including a bases-loaded situation in the eighth, but kept Milwaukee from scoring each time.
With two games until the All-Star break, San Francisco sits in third place in the NL West, 13 games behind first-place Los Angeles.