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Same ol’, same ol’

Another come back win, another late-inning bash from Mike Yastrzemski...boring!

MLB: San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Forgive me if you’ve heard this before: Down in the early goings to a division rival, frustrated by a dominant outing from an opposing starting pitcher, a slow-but-patient team comeback aided by stellar relief performance, a backs-against-the wall rally in the late-innings punctuated by a crooked number in extras.

The San Francisco Giants once again orchestrated a comeback win to claim their 8th win a row, this one a 7-4 walk-off against the San Diego Padres. The final knock a buoyant 10th inning 3-run homer by Mike Yastrzemski that splashed down in the Bay, reminiscent of another clutch blast less than a week ago.

Change the record, guys.

Yaz’s fingerprints were all over this one even before the headlining blast in the 10th. He homered against the stingy Padres’ starter Michael Wacha to whittle the score down to 4 - 2 in the 6th.

In the 9th, still down two runs, he singled off reliever Luis García after Blake Sabol’s lead-off walk. Sabol then scored on a wild pitch while Yaz, as the tying run, moved into scoring position. He dashed to third on Luis Matos’s fly-out to center field and then tagged up on Patrick Bailey’s line drive to Juan Soto in left, sliding headfirst across home as former Giant Gary Sánchez couldn’t quite handle the excellent throw from the outfielder.

And in the 10th, of course, in a left-on-left match-up with one out and the winning run 90 feet away, a ball needed to be put in play, preferably in the air with a drawn-in infield and a little on the deeper-side with Joc Pederson running. Yaz met those requirements and then some after spitting on 3 fastballs away and off the plate before turning on a 95 MPH inside fastball to send everybody home.

It was Yaz’s 10th homer of the season and his second career walk-off splash hit.

Small things have to be done right to set-up big things. Apart from Yastrzemski, it was the young Giants rookies that showed tremendous discipline at the plate to tie the game in the 9th, walking 4 times in the inning with key contact and productive outs from Matos (who has yet to strike out in a SF uniform) and Bailey.

Blake Sabol set the table for Yaz in consecutive innings as well, working a 4-pitch walk against a noticeably wild García in the 9th, read Yaz’s single beautifully to go from first-to-third and score on a subsequent wild pitch, and dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the winning run to third in the 10th.

This kind of late-game insanity doesn’t come without its luck and good fortunes. See the head-scratching, Little League out made in last Friday’s game.

The San Diego bullpen as a whole is one of the best in baseball. They own the lowest ERA in the National League and the third lowest in the Majors. They have a low strike-out rate, but don’t hand out free bags and get a ton of ground balls. After an incredibly slow start with a still under-performing offense, the Padres are trending in the right direction, and their pitching is a major reason for it.

In his last 8 starts coming into Monday’s game, Michael Wacha had allowed 5 runs over 49.1 innings. The veteran starter is similar to Tony Gonsolin in a lot of ways—not reliant on missing bats rather on disrupting timing, getting opposing hitters off-balanced and off their back leg. For Gonsolin, the weapon was his splitter, for Wacha it’s a double-digit difference in velocity from his low- 90s four-seam to his changeup.

Wacha (who looks like a cross between Adam Wainwright and Madison Bumgarner? No?) would pitch 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits with 0 strikeouts. 11 of the the 17 outs he recorded were pounded into the dirt. Anything hit hard was on the ground and anything on the ground was hit directly at a San Diego infielder.

The Giants first run came on their second hit, a solo shot by David Villar in the 5th, and even that liner seemed rushed to get back to the ground just eking over the left field wall.

Lefty Tim Hill came in support of Wacha in the 7th and threw two perfect innings with 3 strike-outs. He came in for the 9th to face Michael Conforto, but after some managerial chess played out with Kapler sending out Austin Slater to face Hill, only for him to get pulled from the game without seeing a pitch for Sabol when Bob Melvin went out to the mound and swapped the lefty for a righty.

As much as that was a performative dance and meant burning a valuable bench-bat, the moves played out in the Giants favor. Maybe the biggest break of the night was not having to face Josh Hader, the Padres’ typical closer, in that situation. Hader had pitched in consecutive days against Tampa Bay before San Diego came to town—things probably would’ve gone differently against the lefty.

Instead they faced three rookies in García, Drew Carlton, and Ray Kerr in the 9th. The first two were immediately diagnosed as erratic. García and Carlton only recorded one out and walked 4 while Kerr gave up the game winner. You don’t get 5 runs on 2 hits without shamelessly accepting some gifts.

Runs don’t mean nearly as much without good pitching. In a bullpen game with a different look with John Brebbia on the IL, San Francisco arms settled in after giving up four early runs, thanks in large part to Keaton Win.

In the second outing of his career, Winn (who looks like a blonde J.D. Davis to me…no?) came in the 5th and made the 9th inning comeback possible.

After Soto rudely welcomed him to the bigs by slapping the first pitch he threw into the bleachers—the second Soto Solo Shot™ of the game—the young right-hander battened down the hatches. With a late-action splitter that even caused Bailey to whiff at the ball, Winn would scatter 2 more hits while striking out 4 and walking 0 (!) across the next 5 innings. In his illustrious Major League career, the right-hander has thrown 9 innings with 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB and 6 K.

Throw this guy in the rotation? Maybe? Possibly?

Camilo Doval came on in the 10th and stranded the Manfred Runner, Fernando Tatis Jr., at third. After intentionally walking Soto to set up a better match-up and a force out, Manny Machado put up a fight with an 11-pitch at-bat. The third baseman fouled off 6 2-strike triple-digit fastballs, spoiling 4 in a row before waving at the first breaking ball of the at-bat—a slider a foot off the plate. Doval got routine contact out of Xander Bogaerts and Jake Cronenworth to end the inning and set-up the walk-off.

Since their series in Colorado starting on June 6th, the Giants have won 11 out of 13 games. In the 7th inning or later during that stretch, they’ve scored 41 runs and the bullpen has allowed 8. In 6 of those wins, the Giants were losing at the start of the 7th inning.

It doesn’t seem like a sustainable offensive practice, and it’d probably be a good idea to take those late runs and score them earlier for the health and sanity of an already depleted pitching staff, but whatever, let’s not ask questions and enjoy the ride because it’s working for the 40-win, second place Giants.

And gosh darn, does it make for some exciting television.