Wade's first splash highlights SF's 5-HR win

August 1st, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- Entering Saturday, the Giants hadn’t homered in four consecutive games, their longest drought of the season.

They got back to their homer-happy ways in emphatic fashion, crushing five home runs to outslug the Astros, 8-6, on Saturday afternoon at Oracle Park.

Donovan Solano, Wilmer Flores, , Darin Ruf and Mike Yastrzemski each homered for the Giants, who rank second in the Majors with 156 home runs this season, trailing only the Blue Jays (157). San Francisco and Houston combined for eight homers -- tied for the most in a single game at Oracle Park -- though the decisive hit didn’t end up leaving the yard.

Brandon Crawford snapped a 6-6 tie with a go-ahead single to right-center field in the sixth, capping a string of three consecutive two-out singles by the Giants. Ruf and Thairo Estrada also delivered base hits to set the table for Crawford, who leads San Francisco with 62 RBIs this year.

“I think Brandon just takes what the pitcher is going to give him in those situations,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Obviously, he’s hit some big homers with two outs as well, but from my perspective, I think he understands the situation, and he understands that scoring the run is the most important thing. Sometimes that’s a ball to the middle of the field on a line, and he’s done that job consistently for us all year.”

Dominic Leone, Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee combined to pitch three scoreless innings out of the bullpen to lock down the win and help the Giants improve to 65-39 and even this three-game Interleague series. There was more to celebrate after the game, as the Giants commissioned a cake shaped like a tomahawk ribeye steak in honor of Kapler’s 46th birthday.

“I’m pretty sure nobody really ate it because everybody wanted to take pictures and was all in awe of it,” Wade said. “It was really cool to see. I’m glad we could get the win on Kap’s birthday.”

More good things await the first-place Giants on Sunday, when the newly acquired Kris Bryant is expected to arrive and play his first game for the orange and black. The 2016 National League MVP and four-time All-Star will only further lengthen San Francisco’s lineup and add another middle-of-the-order, right-handed bat to an offense that’s already known for its power.

Solano put the Giants on the board with his fourth homer of the year and his first since June 26 in the second, but the Astros went ahead, 2-1, on Aledmys Díaz’s two-run shot off left-hander Alex Wood in the third. Wood nearly escaped without further damage, but errors by Solano at second and Flores at third led to an unearned run, extending Houston’s lead to 3-1.

Still, the Giants were able to capitalize on a defensive miscue from the Astros in the bottom of the third. After Ruf reached on an error by shortstop Carlos Correa, Flores quickly atoned for his airmailed throw earlier in the inning, launching a game-tying two-run shot off Astros right-hander Zack Greinke.

“It’s usually impossible to hit home runs here,” said Greinke, who gave up four homers in four-plus innings. “I would guess three of them might have been home runs, still, in any situation. The same thing with ours; a lot of ours were hit pretty good. I’ve never seen home runs hit like this, though.”

Flores’ afternoon ended shortly after hitting his 13th blast of the year, as he was removed from the game with lower back tightness. Estrada came off the bench in the top of the fourth to replace Flores, who is considered day to day.

None of the Giants’ homers were cheapies, but Wade’s two-run shot in the fourth was particularly impressive. Wade, who has emerged as the club’s breakout hitter this year, gave San Francisco a 5-3 lead in the fourth by bashing a 417-foot shot that sailed over the right-field wall and splashed into McCovey Cove.

Wade’s mother, Emily, happened to be standing out in the right-field arcade at the time and got a perfect view of her son’s first career splash hit. Cameras caught Emily jumping up and down and throwing her hands in the air as she watched the ball fly into the Cove at 107.8 mph.

“I was kind of laughing when I saw her out there,” Wade said. “Just typical of my mom. She can’t sit still at the games. I’m sure my dad just let her go do her thing, and then it just so happened that she was out there at the right time, so that was pretty cool.”

Acquired from the Twins in exchange for right-hander Shaun Anderson in February, Wade is now batting .258 with a .921 OPS and a career-high 13 homers over 54 games with the Giants this year. The 27-year-old hit two over 42 games with the Twins in his first two seasons in the Majors.

“I think the confidence is beginning to grow now,” Kapler said. “He’s starting to recognize that he is a power hitter, that he can drive the ball in the air to the pull side, that he can go deep to the opposite field, and that comes along with a package that’s pretty selectively aggressive. I think that’s a recipe for a quality Major League hitter.”