Call it payback: Giants overcome 5-run deficit, win in extras

May 23rd, 2024

PITTSBURGH -- 's return didn’t end the way Giants would have hoped, but if it’s any consolation, the game ended exactly how they wanted -- and it exacted some revenge after a heartbreaking series opener.

Snell completed only 3 1/3 innings in his first start off the 15-day injured list, as he scuffled in a five-run fourth. But the Giants earned those runs back and more, tying the game with two outs in the ninth to force extras and unloading in the 10th for four runs in a 9-5 victory over the Pirates at PNC Park on Wednesday.

It followed a game on Tuesday in which the Giants built a 6-2 lead, only to see it evaporate in the ninth before they were eventually walked off by the Pirates in the 10th inning.

This time, it was the Giants who faced the early deficit. Snell left in the fourth after hitting Andrew McCutchen with the bases loaded, and Sean Hjelle allowed a grand slam to Bryan Reynolds in the next at-bat to make it a 5-0 game. Snell said he developed a blister on his foot in the second inning that affected him, but he thought there were some positives to take away.

“I just feel like it’s coming out effortlessly,” Snell said. “My adjustments are a lot quicker, and being able to repeat things is a lot better. Today, the last couple of innings were not good, but I understand why and I’ll clean that up as quickly as my body will allow.”

The grand slam after Snell exited was a crushing blow, but not one the Giants let crush them.

continued his hot stretch by slugging a two-run homer in the sixth inning, his second in two games. The signs were there on Tuesday for continued success, when he hit four balls at a 103 mph exit velocity or more.

In the eighth, the Giants capitalized on Pirates reliever Aroldis Chapman’s wildness, as he went from an 0-2 count against to throwing 12 straight balls for three walks. The Pirates nearly escaped the jam without a run, but Jorge Soler’s chopper trickled just far enough from home plate to cause Joey Bart to forgo touching home plate for an RBI fielder’s choice.

“We felt like we should have done a little more damage that inning, too, but we did just enough,” Giants manager Bob Melvin said.

With two outs in the ninth, Luis Matos hit a single off Colin Holderman, who was going for a six-out save, and advanced to second on an error. But Matos said he was going to second no matter what. The bobble just gave him a bit more room to work with.

In the dark of night stepped up the batter tailor-made for these situations: Wade., who has built a reputation for late-game theatrics.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that’s his moment,” Matos said through interpreter Erwin Higueros.

Wade sat on two sweepers before getting a third over the middle of the plate, and he ripped it for a game-tying single to right.

“There were some really, really big at-bats today,” Melvin said. “A lot of subtle things, but there were just some monumental at-bats that pushed us over the top.”

The Giants kept the chain moving in the 10th, scoring four runs (three earned) against Pirates reliever Carmen Mlodzinski to put the game out of reach. It was the Giants’ first comeback win after being down by five runs or more since June 15, 2021, against the D-backs (seven runs).

Of course, the offense doesn’t get its moment to shine without amazing bullpen work to hold it where it was for six innings, including two innings from rookie reliever Randy Rodriguez who Melvin said is becoming more than just a long reliever in the team’s plans.

“They came in and shut the door,” Wade said. “They were pounding the zone, getting outs.”

Instead of things potentially snowballing into a string of losses after a four-game winning streak, the Giants are back on track as they try to battle their way to contention in a loaded National League West. And if they’re going to accomplish that, they’re going to need some gritty wins like the one they showed they can accomplish on Wednesday.

“Last night was a tough one, but we’ve got to flush it and come back today,” Wade said. “Down five and to come back like that, it’s a great win. You can build momentum off that.”