SF 1st to 90 wins, 1st to sweep Rox at Coors

September 9th, 2021

DENVER -- There’s a reason Alex Wood once described as “ice-cold.”

Wade once again showed off his ability to stay cool under pressure and come through with the game on the line, delivering a two-run, go-ahead single off Carlos Estévez in the ninth inning to propel the Giants to a 7-4 comeback win over the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field.

The Giants entered the ninth trailing, 4-3, but they mounted a late rally against Estévez, who issued a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Buster Posey and then gave up back-to-back singles to Thairo Estrada and Brandon Belt to load the bases with no outs. That brought up Wade, who promptly lined a 1-2 fastball to right field to knock in a pair of runs and put San Francisco ahead, 5-4.

Evan Longoria capped the four-run inning with a two-run double to center field to hand over a three-run lead to closer Jake McGee, who worked a scoreless ninth to convert his 30th save of the year and seal the win for San Francisco.

The Giants became the first team to sweep the Rockies at home this season and the first team to reach 90 victories this year. At 90-50, the Giants moved to a season-high 40 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 7, 1993.

“Nobody outside our clubhouse expected that this year for us, so it’s definitely a nice benchmark,” said , who delivered a game-tying, three-run homer off Jon Gray in the sixth. “We still have 20-something games to go, so the next benchmark would be 100 [wins]. We’re going to keep pushing for that and try to win every game.”

Wednesday’s comeback proved particularly gritty for the Giants, considering they were at the tail end of a punishing stretch of 16 consecutive games without an off-day.

“The Rockies are really good at this ballpark, as we know,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “In particular, it’s tough to come from behind when you’re at the end of a long, kind of grueling stretch of games. You really have to dig deep. You’ve got to have quite a bit of mental strength and toughness. I thought that’s exactly what happened in the last couple of innings.”

Wade is now 9-for-15 (.600) with nine RBIs in the ninth this year, the second-highest ninth-inning batting average by a Giants player since Glenn Adams’ .615 in 1975. Wade also ranks second on the team with 17 go-ahead RBIs this year, trailing only Crawford (19).

“I would definitely say it’s not on purpose,” Wade said. “I wish I could get some better at-bats earlier in the game. But I guess it’s good that they’re coming late in the game.”

With Estévez pumping an upper-90s fastball in the ninth, Wade opted to choke up on his bat with two strikes, which he said he’s been doing over the last couple of weeks to try to produce more contact.

“He’s been getting big clutch hits for us all year,” Kapler said. “I think he has a very calm presence at the plate. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, but it’s the kind of pressure and adrenaline he can channel into focus. He just looks like a guy that always has his peak level of concentration in the biggest moments. I think it comes from desire. It really does.”

Anthony DeSclafani started for the Giants on Wednesday and breezed through four scoreless innings before running into trouble in the fifth, when he gave up a double and three consecutive one-out singles that ultimately sunk San Francisco in a 3-0 hole. Still, Crawford wiped away the deficit with his 20th home run of the year in the sixth, marking his first long ball since Aug. 11. The 34-year-old shortstop is now only one shy of matching the career-high 21 he hit in 2015.

“At the start of the year, if you would have told me that I’d have 20 homers in early September, I would have been pretty excited,” Crawford said. “But at the All-Star break, I was going for a little bigger than that. I would definitely love to hit a few more this month and be able to have a career-high this year.”

The Rockies briefly went ahead on Elías Díaz’s solo shot off reliever Zack Littell in the bottom of the sixth, but in the end, the Giants once again found a way to win. They’ll now enjoy a much-needed break on Thursday before kicking off a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday.

“It’s big,” Kapler said. “It’s a relatively tired group. It’s been a long stretch of games. After this off-day, I think we have nine consecutive games as well. It’s really big for everybody to just have a full day off and reset.”

The Giants will head to Chicago with unsettled pitching plans, as they’re planning to use a bullpen game on Friday to help fill the void in their rotation left by injured starters Alex Wood (COVID-19) and Johnny Cueto (right elbow strain). Kevin Gausman will start on Saturday, and San Francisco is leaning toward using another bullpen game on Sunday rather than move up Logan Webb. Scott Kazmir, who is back with Triple-A Sacramento after helping Team USA capture a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, will be in the mix to start the finale.