SAN FRANCISCO -- Though this was just a regular-season game, the Giants celebrated their 7-5, 14-inning victory Saturday as if they were their historic forerunners, toasting Bobby Thomson or rejoicing in Player Page for Travis Ishikawa.
In the unquenchable hearts of these Giants, Andrew McCutchen was their Thomson, their Ishikawa, men who won postseason games with memorable home runs. This April game bore nothing approaching postseason gravity. But there's always room for spirit, and McCutchen raised the Giants' spirits to the heavens with his career-high sixth hit of the game: a three-run homer in the 14th that erased Los Angeles' 5-4 lead and ignited a clubhouse celebration that was happily out of proportion for Game No. 7 out of 162.
"We went ballistic," said right-hander Chris Stratton, describing the jubilation in the clubhouse shared by players who had already left the game. "That was awesome. … jumping around, high-fiving, acting like little kids."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy called the victory "epic." He added, "It's one of those Giants-Dodgers games that will be talked about."
McCutchen may always remember his return to the clubhouse.
"They had the lights out," he said. "I didn't know what to expect. Then it was pretty much a party. We celebrated, jumped around and screamed a little more."
This five-hour, 16-minute standoff actually gave the Giants more to savor than McCutchen's effort.
There was much praise for Kelby Tomlinson, who entered the game in the top of the 14th inning and lashed a leadoff single in the bottom half of the inning to launch the Giants' response to John Forsythe's RBI single that snapped a 4-4 tie.
Credit was heaped upon rookie relievers Pierce Johnson, Reyes Moronta and Roberto Gomez, who combined to work the final five innings. Though Gomez yielded the go-ahead run, he stranded a pair of runners, helping set up the Giants' reversal against Dodgers reliever Wilmer Font.
"There's something to be said about the fight in this team," said center fielder Austin Jackson, who, like McCutchen, is a newcomer to the Giants.
That fight was evident as Tomlinson and Joe Panik singled to put runners on the corners. Up came McCutchen for what would be a 12-pitch at-bat. He took the first two pitches, a curveball and a fastball.
"From there, I knew those were the two pitches that he throws," McCutchen said. "I was just trying to fight him off, fight him off, fight him off, until I got comfortable enough that whatever he threw up there, I was ready to hit."
McCutchen fouled off seven two-strike pitches.
"He kept elevating fastballs to the top of the zone and I was trying to foul them off until i got a pitch I could handle," McCutchen said. "He didn't elevate it too much there, and I was able to elevate it."
That made McCutchen the only player since 1900 besides Detroit's Jim Northrup to collect six hits, including a walk-off home run. Northrup performed his feat against Oakland on Aug. 28, 1969.
McCutchen also became the first player to hit a walk-off homer with his club trailing in the 14th inning or later since he did it for Pittsburgh on July 11, 2015, against St. Louis.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Left out? Hardly: Brandon Belt's sixth-inning RBI double got obscured by the game's hard-fought conclusion, but in the Giants' big picture it was significant, since he smacked it off Dodgers left-hander Tony Cingrani. The presence of opposing left-handed starters typically prompts Bochy to bench Belt and give right-handed batters a chance to play. But this pattern could be changed if Belt continues to hit lefties authoritatively.
Respectable relief: Dodgers relievers limited opponents to a .220 batting average entering the game, and it was easy to see why. Cingrani recovered after yielding Belt's hit, striking out two batters. Kenta Maeda struck out two more in the seventh before Thomas Stripling struck out the side in the eighth and pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval in the ninth. JT Chargois contributed a perfect 10th. Josh Fields, Kenley Jansen and Scott Alexander each worked an inning.
The Giants will go for a sweep of the abbreviated series when they face the Dodgers in Sunday's 1:05 p.m. PT finale. Ty Blach, who tends to be at his best against the Dodgers, will oppose Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw, who tends to be at his best, period.
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