Longoria's 2 HRs in front of family make for 'really fun night'

October 1st, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO -- After the Giants opened their final home series with a 10-4 win over the D-backs at Oracle Park, they were enthusiastically welcomed back to their clubhouse with a high-five line made up of some special guests: Evan Longoria's kids.

When the Longorias' dad finally emerged from the tunnel, though, they forwent slapping palms and instead swarmed him for hugs. It's not every day your dad goes deep twice in the same game.

"Any time they're around is special, no matter how the game goes," Longoria said of his family, who made the trip from Arizona for this series. "That's kind of the beauty of non-baseball stuff, is being able to go home and they don't care how well I do. But when I have nights like tonight, obviously, they're in the stands, they're excited. And then we win the game -- it makes for a really fun night."

Longoria was one of the driving forces behind San Francisco's power surge, plating five runs as the Giants won their fifth straight game. After winning 10 of its past 11, San Francisco is a game above .500 for the first time since Aug. 17.

The Giants' elimination number remains at one, so they're a loss (or a Phillies or Brewers win) away from being removed from the postseason picture.

Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Wynns also went deep, bringing the Giants' home run tally on Friday to four, one short of their season high. But that doesn't count arguably the most fun "round-tripper" of the night: Joc Pederson's Little League home run, which was officially scored as a triple and an error.

The feat was especially entertaining because Pederson initially seemed to think he was out, almost imperceptibly shaking his head when the ball left his bat. But it continued to travel, soaring over the head of a leaping Jake McCarthy and ricocheting off the right-field wall into center.

By that point, Pederson had rounded second base and was headed to third, but an errant throw by D-backs second baseman Josh Rojas bought Pederson enough time to keep going. The Oracle Park crowd was on its feet as Pederson slid into home, letting loose an ear-splitting roar.

"The 'Little League' thing really fits," manager Gabe Kapler said. "He's just like a giant kid out there."

Added Longoria: "Ran right through the stop sign, didn't care -- and was safe. It was fun to watch."

After going 126 games without a triple this season, Pederson now has three in his past four games -- though Kapler thinks that's more a matter of circumstance than speed for Pederson, whose sprint speed ranks in the 20th percentile among Major Leaguers.

"I think we can all agree that this is not about [Corbin] Carroll- or McCarthy-level speed," Kapler quipped.

Even more satisfying was that the Giants finally solved D-backs right-hander Merrill Kelly, who had gone 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA in five previous starts against San Francisco this season.

The Giants decided to try something a little different on Friday, taking a more aggressive approach than usual. And it worked, as they tagged Kelly for eight runs and chased him after 4 2/3 innings.

"Philosophically speaking, we kind of just were like, 'If he throws a complete game in 80 pitches, so be it,'" Longoria said. "In the past, we've gotten him on the ropes a little bit, and he seems to kind of work his way out of it and make those big pitches in big spots. Today, we were able to just capitalize on those mistakes."

September ended up being one of the best months of the season for the Giants, as they went 18-10 to put together a winning month for the first time since April. But at the same time, there is a bittersweet mood in the clubhouse as they look back on what could have been if they had only gotten on a roll earlier.

"It's been good baseball. It's just too late," said right-hander Alex Cobb, who allowed four runs in five innings and earned his seventh win. "We're not controlling anything, and that, for me, is too late. We're just hoping and praying on other scoreboards, and it's not the position you want to be in."