Joc bashes upper-deck HR: 'You just black out'

June 1st, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- Joc Pederson has been one of the Giants’ hottest hitters, but he was left out of the starting lineup on Tuesday since the Phillies sent a left-handed starter to the mound in Ranger Suárez. But that didn’t prevent Pederson from making a late impact.

After entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, Pederson remained in the lineup as the designated hitter and delivered the biggest blast of the night, hammering a two-run shot into the upper deck in right field to cap a three-run 11th inning and lift the Giants to a 7-4 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Donovan Walton kicked off the decisive rally by smoking a double off Andrew Bellatti to knock in automatic runner Joey Bart and give the Giants a 5-4 lead. Pederson followed by clobbering a low slider from Bellatti 428 feet out to right field for his team-high 12th home run of the year, helping the Giants secure their second straight extra-inning win over the Phillies.

“That’s kind of one where you just black out,” said Pederson, who is 11-for-23 (.478) with five home runs and 15 RBIs over his seven-game hitting streak. “It felt really good. It kind of hit the perfect spot on the bat, and you don’t really feel anything.”

Lefty José Álvarez struck out Roman Quinn with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th to end the back-and-forth affair and seal the win for the Giants, who have won five of their last seven games to end May with a 13-14 mark, their first losing month under manager Gabe Kapler since August 2020.

Rookie Luis González had a career-high four hits and two RBIs, though San Francisco’s lineup went only 5-for-18 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base to prolong a matchup that lasted four hours and 52 minutes.

The Giants’ big lefty bats -- Pederson, Tommy La Stella, Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Crawford -- were out of the starting lineup to get a day off against Suárez, but they all ended up seeing action as Kapler emptied his bench and deployed a line change to try to maximize matchups once the Phillies turned the game over to their bullpen.

“These guys are always ready,” Kapler said. “These guys have really bought in. They’ve come in with big at-bats. They’re prepared. Full disclosure, we don’t want to run through our entire bench on a day that we want to give guys days off, but that’s baseball.”

González, one of two left-handed hitters to start on Tuesday, put the Giants on the board with a bases-loaded, two-run double off reliever Nick Nelson in the fifth inning. Yastrzemski followed with a sacrifice fly to extend San Francisco’s lead to 3-1, but the Phillies came back to tie the game by scoring two runs off John Brebbia in the sixth.

Both teams traded runs in the 10th, with the Giants capitalizing on a defensive blunder by Jeurys Familia to briefly go ahead. Pederson hit a hard grounder to the right side that was fielded by first baseman Rhys Hoskins, but Familia was late to get to the bag and then dropped the throw, allowing Pederson to reach on a single -- and Wilmer Flores to score from second on the play, sliding in ahead of Familia’s throw to the plate to give the Giants a 4-3 lead.

“I was flying and beat him there,” Pederson said. “What can you say? Speed kills.”

Camilo Doval opened the bottom of the 10th by striking out Hoskins and coaxing a popout from J.T. Realmuto, but Alec Bohm followed with a grounder up the middle that hit the second-base bag and popped over the head of Walton at second base, allowing the tying run to score.

Still, Pederson came through again with his towering shot in the 11th to hand over a three-run cushion to Álvarez, who was tested after walking Kyle Schwarber to put a pair of runners on with two outs for Bryce Harper. Kapler came out for a mound visit, and at the urging of Bart, the Giants decided to intentionally walk Harper for the second time in the game to bring the potential winning run to the plate and load the bases for Quinn.

The move worked out, as Álvarez struck out Quinn on a changeup to end the game. Afterward, Kapler praised Bart for the leadership he showed in that moment, calling it “one of the better moments of his career.”

“I just felt like the best way to win was staying away from Harper,” Bart said. “I think Kap, all credit is due to him. The call he had earlier when we intentionally walked him was spot on. I think he rolled out a few good moves there at the end of the game. That guy is as hot as anybody in the league and one swing could have changed that game. I’m glad we put him on.”