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Posey’s huge HR ends longest drought of career

Catcher's clutch 3-run blast beats Bucs, snaps Giants' 4-game skid
@mi_guardado
April 21, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- Buster Posey couldn’t hide his smile after snapping the longest home run drought of his career in the fifth inning of Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Pirates at PNC Park. Posey’s go-ahead three-run home run off right-hander Chris Archer checked off a few notable boxes for the

PITTSBURGH -- Buster Posey couldn’t hide his smile after snapping the longest home run drought of his career in the fifth inning of Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Pirates at PNC Park.

Posey’s go-ahead three-run home run off right-hander Chris Archer checked off a few notable boxes for the 32-year-old veteran catcher. It marked his first homer since June 19, 2018, a period spanning 237 at-bats. It marked his first homer against the Pirates, the only National League team against which he had yet to go deep.

Most importantly for Posey, it halted a four-game losing streak and lifted the Giants to a 3-2 win, denying the Pirates their first sweep of San Francisco at PNC Park since 2008.

“It’s always nice to check that box and not have a goose egg up there,” Posey said. “I think we all want to contribute, and we want to help the team win, so it feels good when we can do that.”

The Giants fell behind, 2-0, after Josh Bell launched a two-run shot in the fourth inning, but right-hander Dereck Rodríguez atoned for the mistake by helping to spark the rally in the following inning.

Rodriguez and Steven Duggar led off the fifth with back-to-back singles to set up Posey’s decisive hit. Posey, who walked and doubled in his first two at-bats, crushed a 1-1 fastball from Archer to dead center field, giving the Giants their first lead of the series. The ball left Posey’s bat at 107.1 mph, making it his third hardest-hit home run tracked by Statcast since 2015.

“It obviously felt good,” Posey said. “I’ve been trying to just stay positive and know that this is a process. I come to the field each day with an attitude to keep on going. Hopefully things are where my expectations are at some point.”

It was an encouraging sign for Posey, who hit only five home runs last year as he played through a right hip injury that led to season-ending surgery in August. The Giants were optimistic that Posey’s repaired hip would enable him to regain some of his power, but he struggled to produce over the first few weeks of the season and entered Sunday batting .210 with two RBIs.

Manager Bruce Bochy stayed patient with Posey, keeping him in the middle of the Giants’ lineup and expressing confidence that he would begin to settle in at the plate once he got his timing down. While Posey didn’t indulge much in his game-winning hit afterward, Bochy believes it could be big for him moving forward.

“I’m sure even for Buster, it’s a weight off his shoulders,” Bochy said. “I know there’s a lot of tension on our offense and our struggles, especially early in the game. They have a lot of pride. I know that was huge for him. And just the timing of it. We’re down two runs, and he hit a three-run homer. It’s a little different than just hitting a home run when it doesn’t count.”

Sunday also marked another health milestone for Posey, who started behind the plate in all three games of a series for the first time this season. He helped secure the Giants’ victory by tagging Jung Ho Kang out at home to end the game. Kang had attempted to score the tying run from first on former Giants prospect Bryan Reynolds’ two-out double to right field, but Duggar and Joe Panik executed a perfect relay throw to nail him at the plate.

“That’s a catcher’s dream throw, where he can handle it and put the tag on him,” Bochy said. “Great way to end the game. Sure, we would have liked a 1-2-3 [inning], but I guess it made it exciting.”

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.