Considering that he’s made his whole career out of being the guy who wasn’t supposed to make it, for Stephen Vogt to hit a game-tying homer in a game he entered to give Buster Posey a rest in what was supposed to be a blowout loss was on-brand for the journeyman catcher, Visalia native and lifelong Giants fan.
After being called up on Wednesday, Vogt hit his first home run as a Giant off Raisel Iglesias with two outs in the top of the ninth brought the San Francisco Giants even at 11-11 in a game they’d ultimately win 12-11 over the Cincinnati Reds in 11 innings, matching the largest comeback victory in franchise history.
In a game that San Francisco (14-18) trailed 8-0 and 10-3 as Tyler Beede, the team’s seventh-ranked prospect, got absolutely shelled, Vogt’s homer capped off an incredible comeback and Evan Longoria took Jared Hughes deep to give the Giants their only lead of the night, one that would hold up for their third win in their last four games.
It was the first time Giants have hit a tying homer when down to final out in ninth, and then a go-ahead homer in extra innings, since Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent did it in St Louis on May 24, 1998.
A win looked like a pipe dream as Cincinnati (13-19) got a pair of three-run homers from Derek Dietrich within the first three innings, knocking Beede out after he allowed eight runs (seven earned) while only recording seven outs. For his final act, he walked opposing starter Sonny Gray.
While Gray’s outing wasn’t up to the standards he had set when he came onto the scene with the Oakland Athletics in 2013, he held the Giants to three runs over five innings, and after Kyle Farmer’s fourth homer of the year had staked the Reds out to a 10-3 lead, it looked like a comfortable win for the hosts.
Things got interesting as Cincinnati reliever Wandy Peralta allowed four runs in the sixth after Gray left, having thrown just 82 pitches.
Vogt doubled in a run and Joe Panik hitting his second homer of the year — a two-run shot — to cut the lead to three. The Reds would leave men on second and third in the sixth, but got an insurance run in the seventh on Jesse Winker’s ground-rule double, a pop-up that landed on the chalk as a fair ball.
Michael Lorenzen, who allowed two baserunners in the seventh but emerged unscathed, allowed singles to Steven Duggar and Vogt in the eighth, and though Amir Garrett relieved him and got the first two outs with ease, he allowed a two-run single to Brandon Belt to cut it to 11-9.
Iglesias then came on to try for a four-out save, and Longoria greeted him with a single to bring the visitors within one before Brandon Crawford struck out to end the inning. He got Kevin Pillar to fly out to start the ninth and froze Duggar for the second out, but Vogt hit the first pitch he saw halfway up the massive bleacher section in right field to tie the game for the first time since the opening inning.
The Reds would load the bases in the bottom of the ninth against Tony Watson, with an infield hit by Nick Senzel, Major League Baseball’s fifth-ranked prospect overall, who was making his debut. Yasiel Puig was hit by a pitch with two outs to fill the bags, but Watson got Scott Schebler to gently ground out to end the inning.
Jared Hughes took care of the top of the tenth with a pair of strikeouts and, despite issuing a leadoff walk to Jose Iglesias, Reyes Moronta took care of the bottom half by striking out three in a row. The Giants finally went ahead in the top of the 12th as Longoria took Hughes deep on the second pitch of the inning, and Will Smith finished things with his eighth save of the year, striking out Eugenio Suarez to end the game.