Rogers twins' 'brotherly thing' helps Giants sweep Pirates

July 16th, 2023

PITTSBURGH -- The Giants knew they’d be tested straight out of the gate as they embarked on an 11-game, four-city road trip to start the second half.

They’ve risen to the challenge so far, erupting for five runs in the top of the 10th inning to beat the Pirates, 8-4, in Sunday afternoon’s series finale and complete a three-game sweep at PNC Park. The Giants have now won five in a row and six of their last seven games, climbing a season-high-matching 11 games over .500 at 52-41.

The Pirates tied the game at 3 on Jason Triolo’s sacrifice fly off Tyler Rogers in the eighth inning, but the Giants’ bats came alive in extras, with Michael Conforto and Patrick Bailey each delivering two-run doubles off Yerry De Los Santos to help San Francisco finish off its first three-game sweep at Pittsburgh since 2017.

“I think it speaks to the club’s resilience,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I think that’s still the true character of this team. I think it speaks to an unselfish, team-first mentality that was really the key to our [107-win] season in 2021. … Everybody wants the big moment, but what we’re really trying to do is pass the baton to the next hitter in the lineup, give the ball to the next reliever coming into the game and just trust that a 26-man puzzle is going to fit together nicely and win a lot of baseball games.”

The Giants overcame a rare stumble from Rogers, who entered Sunday with a 1.67 ERA since May 5 but couldn’t preserve a one-run lead after allowing the first three batters he faced to reach base in the eighth. Andrew McCutchen led off with a single, and Rogers issued back-to-back walks to Carlos Santana and Henry Davis to load the bases with no outs for Triolo, who lifted a game-tying sacrifice fly to right field. 

Kapler subsequently brought in Rogers’ twin brother Taylor, who managed to limit the damage by striking out Tucupita Marcano and Jason Delay on sweepers to end the inning. Tyler watched his brother bail him out from the top step of the Giants’ dugout, clapping hard after Taylor successfully worked his way out of the jam.

“I didn’t really look at it any different,” said Taylor, who has a 1.27 ERA over his last 32 appearances. “It’s probably a good storyline, but it’s still the same. You feel good when you strand runners for somebody, and you feel bad when you don’t.”

While Taylor downplayed the moment, other members of the Giants viewed it as one of the highlights of the afternoon. 

“That was really cool,” third baseman J.D. Davis said. “It was a brotherly thing. I thought it was someone just passing the baton and getting outs and doing both their jobs and giving us an opportunity to get back in there and swing the bats.”

Left-hander Alex Wood and rookie Tristan Beck combined to allow two runs over seven innings in what was essentially a tandem start for the Giants. Wood, who returned to the rotation after a brief stint as a bulk-inning reliever, gave up one run on five hits over 3 2/3 innings in his first start since June 22. 

“I was really happy that I got to get the start today,” Wood said. “I threw OK. My slider was good. Just more strikes. Not a whole lot of hard contact. Kind of the same thing they did to me last time. Had a few walks and a couple of infield hits. But I felt good overall out of the break. My body feels good, so I’ll keep on going.”  

The lone run against Wood came in the second, when the Pirates loaded the bases with two outs and opened the scoring on former Giants prospect Bryan Reynolds’ infield single up the middle. The 32-year-old veteran retired the next six batters he faced, but he was lifted after issuing a two-out walk to Jason Delay in the fourth.

“Woody was a total pro,” Kapler said. “I don’t think that outing necessarily went exactly the way he wanted it to go, but he grinded through some innings for us, which was huge. And then Tristan Beck came in and picked him up. They took us through the bulk of the game. Really nice job by our bullpen in general. It was a great series out of the break, and a very team-first mentality series.”  

With the first leg of their longest road trip of the season in the books, the Giants will now head to Cincinnati, where they’ll kick off a four-game series at Great American Ball Park on Monday night. Logan Webb, who ended the first half with a Major League-high 126 innings, will start the series opener and will be followed by Anthony DeSclafani, Ross Stripling and Alex Cobb.