ORACLE PARK — As he stood at third base, Evan Longoria looked down into the dirt and clapped.
Whether it was adrenaline or simply a cathartic release, it was a pure moment for the three-time All-Star and American League pennant winner who, in a season and a half with San Francisco, hadn’t had a signature moment. In a season likely headed nowhere for the Giants, on a team in desperate need of a few, he finally got his.
Longoria’s one-out, two-run double into the left field corner in as part of a three-run seventh in Tuesday’s 6-5 win over the San Diego Padres not only dug San Francisco out of a deficit, but saved young Tyler Beede from a bizarre gut punch. It also helped the Giants break out of what’s been a persistent funk with runners in scoring position by sparking their second comeback of the game.
“We needed some help at that point. Longo delivered in a big way,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “Couple great comebacks, great game, coming off of a couple tough ones.”
The seventh inning, keyed by a leadoff walk by Brandon Belt, came down to third base coach Ron Wotus. Having held Belt up at third on a Joe Panik single, and then holding him again on a rocket to right by Mike Yastrzemski due to the strong throwing arm of Hunter Renfroe, Wotus sent both Belt and Panik home on Longoria’s 1-1 double into the left field corner off reliever Trey Wingenter.
“If I stopped another one, I think I would have gotten booed out of the place,” Wotus said. “Honestly, it was the time to take a chance, because we’d tied the game at that point. When we were losing, it was hard to jam Belt in there, and Renfroe throws really good on the play before. It was the right time to take a chance.”
The Giants had fallen behind at the jump when Beede served up a home run on the first pitch of the game to Fernando Tatis Jr. — an echo of what what Ronald Acuña Jr. did to Andrew Suarez on May 20 in a 4-1 Atlanta Braves win.
Beede, though, settled in. Just under two weeks ago, he had the best start of his young career, going six innings and allowing just one run on five hits in a May 30 win. After allowing three hits in the first four batters on Tuesday, he found that groove again. He retired the next 11 men in a row, including seven via the strikeout.
After San Francisco stranded a pair in the third, in the bottom of the fourth, Tyler Austin — starting just his third game against a right-handed pitcher — got San Francisco’s fourth hit in its last 32 at-bats with men in scoring position, ripping a 108-mph RBI single up the third base line.
One batter later, Steven Duggar sent a lob-wedge home run 397 feet to right center, putting Beede ahead 3-1.
“Once you break the ice, you saw what happened,” Bochy said. “Hopefully, that starts picking up, in terms of hitting with runners in scoring position.”
The Padres, though, were able to scratch across three runs without the ball leaving the infield in the top of the fifth. After a leadoff walk to Wil Myers, a stolen base, a roller to the left side by pitcher Chris Paddack (after he couldn’t get a bunt down) and a roller back of second by Tatis that was stopped on a dive by Panik, the Padres had narrowed the lead to one.
“Here, we take the lead and we walk the first hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s never a good sign.”
After a diving stop at first for the second out by Pablo Sandoval, Beede lost a 12-pitch battle to Manny Machado, loading the bases with a walk. Trevor Gott came on and got ahead of Eric Hosmer, 0-2, but what followed was a cavalcade of strangeness.
Hosmer lined a shot up the middle, taking Gott’s glove off his left hand as he tried to make an instinctive backhanded play. The ball, instead of going to Brandon Crawford for a force at second, deflected towards third. Gott raced to his right to barehand it as Paddack scored, and frantically threw to first, but not in time. Sandoval had time to throw to third and get Machado, but threw home. That throw was late, allowing Tatis to score. The throw from catcher Stephen Vogt to third to try and get Machado was also late.
“It looked like we were taking infield there for a second,” Bochy said.
“I don’t know if I should have thrown it, but I was trying to save an inning,” Gott said. “First, home, third, it was an interesting play, but just glad to get the next guy out and keep the game close … When I go back and looked, I wished I maybe pump faked. It’s going 100 miles an hour out there. That’s easier said than done.”
After the Giants came up empty in a two-on, one-out situation in the sixth, Belt — having overcome a stomach virus and a locked up neck over the previous two days — led off the seventh with a walk.
“That set up the whole inning,” said third base coach Ron Wotus.
Panik lanced a single to left, Longoria doubled, and one batter later, the San Francisco third baseman trotted home on a Sandoval sac fly to center.
San Francisco needed that third run, as Ian Kinsler deposited a 400-foot homer to left in the eighth off Tony Watson. Closer Will Smith, though, nailed down the ninth, though not without help from Longoria. The Giants’ third baseman made a leaping snag of a line drive up the third base line by Manuel Margot for the second out, helping Smith secure his 15th straight save.