Giants Shutout Braves in Thriller at Oracle Park
The San Francisco Giants faced off against the Atlanta Braves in San Francisco at Oracle Park on Saturday Night. The Giants were coming off a thrilling extra inning win against the Braves on Friday. Kevin Gausman knocked in Brandon Crawford on a sacrifice fly to win in the 11th inning, 6-5. Camilo Doval got the win and Jacob Webb picked up the loss. The Giants were 96-52 heading into the Saturday night game while the Braves were 76-69.
It was Somos Gigantes night and the Giants were wearing their black alternates with Gigantes across the chest. The Giants had returning Alex Wood on the hill while the Braves had their ace Charlie Morton starting. Wood had his first start since his 5.1 inning start in New York against the Mets. The Giants won that game, 3-2. The Braves were looking to even the series with the Giants with a win to help their playoff push. The electricity at Oracle Park was high as game time came closer.
The Giants started this game off dominant on defense, not allowing a hit for 3 innings and striking out 7 batters through 4 innings. They pulled Alex Wood after the third and put in Zack Littell. Giants fans were scared about this because Wood had been doing well, and the bullpen had worked really hard the night before. A bullpen game was not ideal. Littell had runners on the corners with no outs, but got out of it by striking out the side. The Giants offense came to life in the bottom of the fourth with LaMonte Wade leading the inning off with a walk, and then Brandon Crawford singling, putting Wade at second. Mike Yastrzemski bunted to third, advancing the runners, but he was thrown out. Catcher Curt Casali came on to hit and Atlanta thought they could get out of the inning with little to no damage done behind their ace, Morton. Casali singled to right and both runners scored making it 2-0 Giants. Jay Jackson came in in the 5th for the Giants and retired the side, striking out 2. Jackson continued in the 6th, but after a leadoff walk, the Giants put in Jarlín García, who retired the side after an incredible single handed double play from Brandon Belt. Atlanta star Freddie Freeman lined a ball right at first base, Belt caught it and tagged the bag, getting Jorge Soler, the lead runner, for a double play. Jesse Chavez came in in the bottom of the 6th to relieve Morton, and he retired the Giants easily. José Álvarez came in in the 7th for the Giants and retired the side in 4 batters. AJ Minter retired the Giants in order in the bottom of the 7th after the whole of Oracle Park joined together in the singing of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame". The Giants sent in submariner Tyler Rogers to hold the Braves, and he did just that, retiring the side in order. Rogers was coming off an abysmal performance the night before, where he gave up a three run homer to Travis d'Arnaud, which gave the Braves the lead, 5-4. Luckily for the Giants, Donovan Solano hit a solo homer off former Giant Will Smith, to force extras. Another former Giant Drew Smyly, came in in relief, and held the Giants, retiring the side in 4. Dominic Leone was brought in to try to make his second save of the year. Leone was brought in in the top of the 8th on Friday to retire the side and hold the Giants 2 run lead over the Braves. He did it in order, but on Saturday, he was in an interesting spot. With one out in the ninth, and former Giant Adam Duvall on first, Travis d'Arnaud came up. d'Arnaud was the man who gave the Braves the lead in the ninth on Friday with a 3 run homer. d'Arnaud hit it to 3rd Baseman Kris Bryant, who threw it to 2nd Baseman Tommy LaStella for an out, and LaStella threw it to Brandon Belt at first in time to get the double play and the win, 2-0.
Zack Littell got the win to get to 4-0, and his ERA dropped to 2.72. Charlie Morton got the loss, dropping to 13-6, and his ERA rose to 3.49. The holds went to Jay Jackson (5), Jarlín García (9), José Álavarez (6) and Tyler Rogers (28). Dominic Leone picked up his 2nd save of the year. The Giants pitchers struck out 10 Atlanta batters, while Atlanta pitchers struck out 6 Giants batters. The Giants pitchers gave up 2 walks and hit one batter, Travis d'Arnaud (By Alex Wood). The Braves pitchers gave up 3 walks and hit 2 batters, LaStella (By Morton) and Belt (Also by Morton). The Giants left 8 runners on base while Atlanta only left 6 runners on base. The Giants had 2 runs, 5 hits, and no errors, while Atlanta had no runs, 5 hits, and no errors. According to ESPN, at the start of the game, the Giants had a 50.9% win probability, and after Casali's 2 RBI single, the Giants win probability boosted to 80.3%.
The atmosphere at Oracle Park was incredible with only 32,058 fans in attendance. The sense of togetherness among Giants fans was greatly shown through song and chants. The MVP chants for Brandon Crawford by Giants fans were ringing throughout the stands. Everyone joined together in haromony to sing both the National Anthem and Take Me Out to the Ballgame. It shows that everyone has become more united under America and baseball in this post lockdown America. The Giants held a Wall of Fame ceremony before the game for Bob Lurie, one of the Giants CEO/Owners, who bought the team in the 1980s to prevent a move to Toronto. I caught up with Giants President Larry Baer, who called the game "a great win", and it truly was. The Giants are a team to be reckoned with in the National League and both teams we saw in this game, could be competing to make it to the World Series in the National League Championship Series in October.