Giants' flair for dramatic worth another look

January 25th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Maria Guardado’s Giants Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox. Maria Guardado is on vacation, so researcher Sarah Langs pinch-hit on the Giants newsletter this week.

Spring Training is right around the corner. But before the offseason ends, it’s worth taking one more look at some of the most dynamic moments of last season. The Giants had a flair for late drama in 2022, hitting four walk-off home runs. Only the Yankees had more. 

In fact, the Giants have only had four seasons with more walk-off homers since the 1958 move to San Francisco: 1973 (six), ‘87, ‘63 and ‘61 (five each). Their only New York-era seasons with more were ‘43 (six) and ‘33 (five).

Three of the four were hit while trailing, the team’s most since also having three such walk-off homers in 1973.

Here’s a look back at each of the Giants’ four walk-off home runs from 2022 to get you ready for ‘23:

July 15 vs. MIL, Mike Yastrzemski: The Giants turned a 5-2 ninth-inning deficit into an 8-5 walk-off win in this one against Josh Hader. After solo homers by Joey Bart and Darin Ruf, Yastrzemski hit the sixth walk-off grand slam in Giants history and first since Bobby Bonds hit one on Sept. 3, 1973.  WATCH >>

In addition to Bonds, Yastrzemski joined Jack Hiatt (April 25, 1969), Leon Wagner (May 26, 1959), Bobby Thomson (June 16, 1952) and Billy Southworth (May 8, 1925). It was Yastrzemski’s third career walk-off homer and the Giants' first since Donovan Solano on Aug. 25, 2020. San Francisco hadn’t hit a walk-off homer while trailing since Andrew McCutchen did on April 7, 2018. WATCH >>

Aug. 14 vs. PIT, Thairo Estrada: The Giants and Pirates were tied, 6-6, entering the ninth before Pittsburgh knocked a run across to take a one-run lead. But Evan Longoria led off the bottom of the inning with a single, and the Giants were back in business. Yastrzemski grounded into a force out at second, reaching first. Then Estrada hit the first pitch he saw from Wil Crowe out to left-center. It was the first walk-off home run of Estrada’s career and the team’s second in a month. WATCH >> 

Aug. 16 vs. ARI, Brandon Crawford: That month between walk-off homers would look like eons compared to the time the Giants would wait for their next. Two days after Estrada’s, San Francisco entered the bottom of the ninth down, 1-0. After Longoria hit a pop fly and Yastrzemski flied out, it was Estrada’s turn against Ian Kennedy. Down to his final strike, Estrada hit a 2-2 pitch off the wall in right for a triple. Crawford came up next and hit the second pitch he saw deep to center for his fourth career walk-off home run. WATCH >>

Sept. 4 vs. PHI, Wilmer Flores: The Giants led, 3-0, in the eighth inning until J.T. Realmuto tied the game with a three-run homer. Entering the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies’ David Robertson headed into his second inning of work. He walked Bryce Johnson before striking out Luis Gonzalez and Yastrzemski, an out from sending the game to extras.

Flores had been the first batter Robertson faced in the eighth and had seen four pitches, flying out. This time, he hit the first offering for a walk-off homer. Flores, no stranger to walk-offs, is the Mets’ all-time leader in walk-off RBIs, with 10. But this – his 11th career walk-off RBI and fifth of those to be a home run – was his first in a Giants uniform. WATCH >>