Mike Yastrzemski homered twice, the second a towering solo shot into McCovey Cove in the ninth inning, lifting the San Francisco Giants past the San Diego Padres 7-6 on Wednesday night.
Donovan Solano had a three-run home run in the eighth and Alex Dickerson also went deep as the Giants rallied to beat the Padres, who entered the game tied for the best record in baseball.
“Our players have actually talked about it … this team is full of fighters,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. “These are their words and I believe them when they talk. They demonstrated that they can back those words up tonight.”
It took a big lift from the Giants bullpen after starter Johnny Cueto was knocked out of the game in the fourth.
The two big swings from Yastrzemski were even more pivotal.
The Giants trailed 6-3 with two outs in the eighth before rallying.
Solano shook things up with his tying three-run blast off Padres reliever Craig Stammen.
After Tyler Rogers (1-1) worked the ninth, Yastrzemski homered off Matt Strahm (0-1) in the bottom of the inning to give San Francisco the walkoff victory. Yastrzemski also homered leading off the third.
Yastrzemski rounded the bases, did air high-fives with third base coach Ron Wotus then was met by several teammates who surrounded home plate and danced apart from one another.
“That was weird. I didn’t know what to expect,” Yastrzemski said. “Obviously we’re trying to do our best to stay safe and avoid as much contact as possible. Sometimes in that situation you just have to follow the lead and everybody was doing the right thing. We just jumped around.”
Kapler had high praise for his young leadoff hitter afterward.
“Tonight was an important moment in Yaz’s career,” Kapler said. “He just looks like a great all-around player right now. It’s starting to seem like this is who Yaz is. He’s a real leader in the clubhouse as well.”
Solano finished with a career-high four RBIs. Brandon Crawford added three hits for San Francisco.
Manny Machado and Trent Grisham homered for San Diego.
The loss prevented the Padres, who were sporting their flashy alternate pinstriped road jerseys, from extending their best start since 1997.
“This one hurts tonight,” San Diego manager Jayce Tingler said. “We had the guys in there we wanted. Bottom line, you’ve got to finish. You let a team hang around and things like tonight can happen. We felt good with Craig in the eighth and trying to get the ball to (closer Kirby Yates). It just didn’t work out tonight.”
The meltdown by San Diego’s bullpen spoiled a mostly strong start by Chris Paddack. The right-hander gave up two runs on five hits, struck out six and didn’t walk a batter but was still disappointed by his outing.
“I noticed early on I didn’t have my best stuff,” Paddack said. “I was able to go out there and compete, battle. I kept us in the game as long as I could.”
Cueto had a frustrating outing that had the veteran pitcher cursing at himself while walking off the field after allowing Machado’s two-run homer in the third.
Cueto got into trouble again in the fourth and was done after Edward Olivares’ two-out RBI single. Two batters later, Grisham homered off reliever Shaun Anderson to put the Padres up 6-2.
Machado, Grisham and Olivares had two hits apiece.
Cueto allowed four runs on four hits with three walks and was called for a balk, his first since 2017.
TWO ON, TWO OUT
Giants reliever Tyler Anderson gave up back-to-back walks to Olivares and Fernando Tatis Jr. in the eighth. Each time, he promptly picked the runner off first base.
NO TIME TO WAIT
Giants rookie Chadwick Tromp made his major league debut behind the plate. With a pitcher like Cueto, whose release point changes nearly every pitch, that could be a challenging task. But Kapler felt he had no choice because Tyler Heineman needed a rest.
Padres: Paddack was checked briefly by a team trainer after taking a line drive by Crawford near his wrist on his glove hand. The ball nearly knocked Paddack’s glove off. … 1B Eric Hosmer was a late scratch again for a non-COVID related illness, according to the team.
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt (right Achilles tendonitis) and 3B Evan Longoria (right oblique strain) are expected to come off the injured list Thursday.
San Diego RHP Dinelson Lamet (1-0, 1.80) goes for his second win of the season in the series finale Thursday. Lamet had eight strikeouts in five innings against the Diamondbacks last week. RHP Kevin Gausman (0-0, 4.50) will make his first start for San Francisco.
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