Thairo crushes walk-off homer as Giants sweep Pirates originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Through four innings Sunday at Oracle Park, it appeared as though the Giants would cruise to a smooth victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But unlike last year, nothing has come easy for the Giants during the 2022 MLB season.
After jumping out to a commanding lead early in the game, the Giants needed a two-run walk-off homer from Thairo Estrada in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull out a thrilling 8-7 win and complete the three-game sweep of the Pirates.
The Pirates took a 7-6 lead in the top of the ninth inning when, with runners on first and second, Rodolfo Castro chopped a single to third base. Evan Longoria fielded the ball but threw it over Wilmer Flores' head, allowing the go-ahead run to score. The trail runner, Ben Gamel, tried to score but was thrown out at the plate.
But with one swing of the bat a few minutes later, Estrada made everyone associated with the Giants (57-57) forget about how bad the top half of the inning was.
Early on, things were looking really good for the Giants. In the second inning, they jumped out to a 4-0 lead, capped by a three-run home run from LaMonte Wade Jr.
It was his fourth long ball in his last seven games, a good sign for San Francisco, which needs last year's spark plug to help carry the offense.
Flores pushed the lead to 5-0 with a double to drive in Joc Pederson in the fourth inning. But the pesky Pirates refused to go away, scoring three runs in the fifth inning off Alex Wood to cut the deficit to two.
In the seventh, former Giants top draft pick Bryan Reynolds gave the Pirates a 6-5 lead with a 442-foot three-run homer to dead center field.
The Giants caught a break in the bottom of the seventh when Pirates infielders Oneil Cruz and Kevin Newman misplayed a shallow fly ball in center field off the bat of Brandon Crawford, allowing Flores to score the tying run and Estrada to advance to third base. Crawford was awarded a double on the play, but the Giants weren't able to regain the lead.
Luckily for the Giants, Estrada was able to come through to help them avoid what would have been a bad loss to the rebuilding Pirates.
Aside from the three-run fifth inning, Wood pitched well, going six strong innings while allowing five hits and one walk. He struck out nine Pittsburgh batters.
The three-game sweep of the Pirates gets the Giants back to the .500 mark with the Arizona Diamondbacks coming to town for a four-game series beginning Monday.