Flores' 'clutch' HR keeps SF alone in 1st

Two-run, go-ahead shot in ninth was career home run No. 100 for infielder

July 22nd, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- One night after being on the losing end of a dramatic ninth-inning comeback, the Giants managed to turn the tables on the Dodgers.

launched a go-ahead, two-run home run off Kenley Jansen in the ninth to power the Giants to a thrilling 4-2 comeback win on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

The victory kept the Giants in sole possession of first place in the National League West for the 52nd consecutive day, allowing them to pick up their MLB-best 60th win of the year and move two games ahead of the Dodgers.

They’ll have a chance to create more separation atop the division when they send right-hander Anthony DeSclafani to the mound to duel Dodgers ace Walker Buehler in Thursday night’s series finale.

The Giants trailed, 2-1, heading into the top of the ninth, but kicked off the late rally with a pinch-hit, leadoff single to right field against Jansen. Flores followed with the decisive blow, hammering a 1-1 cutter at the top of the zone out to left field for his 11th homer of the year and the 100th of his career.

“I think this group roots pretty hard for Wilmer Flores,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He’s been as clutch as any hitter that we’ve had over the course of the last two seasons. This was kind of his M.O. when he was in New York. He’s always been known to be clutch and come up in big spots and kind of thrive in the biggest moments.”

It was the second straight blown save for Jansen, who entered Wednesday with a 1.45 ERA and hadn’t allowed a homer on the first 349 cutters he’d thrown this year. The Dodgers’ closer ended up being booed off the mound after departing with the bases loaded and one out, and the Giants later forced in a key insurance run on ’s two-out walk against Victor González.

With first place on the line, the win was easily one of the biggest and most cathartic of the season for the Giants, who were on the verge of increasing their lead over the Dodgers to three games before blowing a five-run lead in a stunning 8-6 walk-off loss on Tuesday night.

“Tonight just kind of showed the type of team that we are and the type of resiliency that we have as a group,” said right-hander , who allowed two runs over five innings in his third start since returning from the injured list. “I don’t think that’s going away.”

Submariner , who surrendered the three-run, walk-off blast to Will Smith the previous night, worked a 1-2-3 ninth to rebound from his stumble and pick up his 11th save of the year. As he walked off the field, Rogers took a moment to hug Kapler and thank him for having the confidence to throw him back out there in another big spot.

“That was huge to get right back out there and not have to try and forget about it another day,” Rogers said. “It’s just so cool to see all the guys in the clubhouse happy for me. I’m happy for all them, and Kapler showing the trust in me personally was huge for my confidence tonight.”

The Giants’ bats were dormant for much of the night against Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías, who allowed only three hits while spinning seven innings of one-run ball. The lone blemish for Urías came in the first inning, when he gave up a solo shot to that put San Francisco ahead, 1-0. The Giants have hit 144 homers this year, tied with the Blue Jays for the most in the Majors.

“I think it’s huge because when everybody has power, you never know when we’re going to score, so we’re never out,” Flores said.

The Giants’ early lead proved fleeting, but Webb said he never lost faith in his club’s ability to come back.

“That was awesome,” Webb said. “I was screaming in the clubhouse. Honestly, it’s weird, but I had no doubt. I had no doubt in my mind something like that was going to happen. When Flo came up, I had a feeling about it. That was awesome. It was really fun.”