Yelich hit a 2B so hard it went through the fence

Thames, Aguilar homer as Milwaukee registers 12 hits in win

June 17th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Add this to the legend of : The day he hit a baseball so hard it went through the fence.

Technically, a gap in the fence, but that spoils the story. It happened at Oracle Park on Sunday, when Yelich was denied an RBI, and the Brewers denied a run, by an opening in the right-field wall that produced a ground-rule double with a runner on first base. Yelich responded by going the other way in his next at-bat for another double that did drive home a run -- the go-ahead tally in a 5-3 win over the Giants that spared the Brewers from a three-game sweep.

Those doubles were among the Brewers’ 12 hits on a day they got contributions from up and down the roster. Jesus Aguilar, Ben Gamel, Yasmani Grandal, Eric Thames and Yelich each drove in a run apiece, with Aguilar and Thames smacking solo home runs. And four Brewers relievers combined to pitch five scoreless innings, starting with Matt Albers inheriting a bases-loaded, no-out mess in the fifth and limiting the damage to one run while preserving a lead.

“We need everybody,” Albers said. “We can’t just wait for Yelich to hit three homers.”

He didn’t hit three homers Sunday, but Yelich did knock two doubles, including the one that proved a first even for longtime Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Gamel had just given the Brewers a 2-0 lead with a two-out single in the second inning and was the lone man on base when Yelich scorched a Jeff Samardzija cutter to right field. With an exit velocity of 117.9 mph, it was the fifth-hardest base hit in MLB this year and the hardest-hit ball of any kind for the Brewers since Statcast tracking began in 2015.

It bounced to the wall in the perfect spot to slip through a gap in a fence that allows passersby to watch Giants games for free from the walkway along McCovey Cove. Had it stayed in play, Gamel would have scored easily, but he was instead ordered back to third base, and Ryan Braun struck out to end the inning.

“I was scoring on that, for sure,” Gamel said. “In a game that’s pretty close, you need all that you can get.”

"That’s the first time I’ve seen it,” Bochy said. “I was a little concerned. Kevin [Pillar, the right fielder], with his experience, did the right thing instead of trying to dig it out. I’ve never seen that. I didn’t know what happened until the replay. You could see it went through the cushion."

Said Brewers manager Craig Counsell: “It’s a clear ground rule if it happens, but it was like the disappearing baseball. You’re like, ‘There’s a fence there. How does it get through?’”

Yelich’s reaction? It happens.

“Just one of those freak baseball plays,” he said.

That run loomed large when the Giants tied the game in the bottom of the inning against Brewers starter Chase Anderson. Yelich, however, reclaimed the advantage in the fourth when he followed Gamel’s one-out walk by driving another Samardzija pitch to the wall -- gate-free -- in left-center for a lead that the four Brewers relievers behind Anderson made stand.

Yelich has hit in 13 straight games, a stretch during which he's hitting .472 (25-for-53) with five homers, six doubles and 12 RBIs.

“The guy’s incredible,” Gamel said of Yelich. “Every at-bat, you want to be present just because you never know what can happen. So many good things happen when he’s up at the plate.”

Yelich passed the credit to the Brewers’ bullpen, which let a lead get away the day before but was stout on Sunday. The Giants loaded the bases in the fifth against Anderson when he stumbled in front of third baseman Travis Shaw as both men converged on a bunt, but Albers “put the inning back in order,” said Counsell, with a strikeout of Buster Posey, and wiggled free with one run in and the Brewers still leading, 4-3.

Aguilar promptly rewarded Albers’ escape by pulling a long home run to the left-field seats to extend the lead back to two runs.

“Just one run. … We’d take that any time and consider that a victory,” Yelich said. “That was really the game right there.”

"The two games on this road trip that we've won, it's been a scoreless bullpen game, and they covered five [innings] in one and seven in the other,” Counsell said. “That's pretty impressive."