Bochy clapped and took a deep breath. A one-run cushion had become three, and within minutes it would be a 10-7 win. Hours earlier, Bochy had watched his ace give up a grand slam with a perennial Cy Young candidate pitching for the other side. The night looked lost. Instead, it turned into one of the most unlikely wins of the season.
"We took a pretty good punch there,” Bochy said. “It was important that we punch back."
They did it in a sort of unbelievable way. Jacob deGrom, who had given up two earned runs in three previous starts against the Giants, was charged with a career-high eight runs on 13 hits. The go-ahead run came on a blast by Bumgarner, his third of the season and 14th as a big leaguer.
Bumgarner loves to hit, but this home run wasn’t about the company he joined in the record books or the man he hit it off of. In an odd way, he felt he had let the team down in recent weeks with his swings with runners in scoring position. His first at-bat Thursday came with a runner on first and he nearly homered, pulling a blast just foul. He would line out, but he got to deGrom in the fourth, smoking a 95 mph fastball over the left field wall.
“I don’t know if anybody can say they’re comfortable against Jake, but for whatever reason I was seeing the ball better,” he said. “With the at-bats with runners in scoring position I had the last few games, I wanted to shorten up.”
Bumgarner was told that the only other right-handed hitter with homers off deGrom, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke is Giancarlo Stanton. He ducked his head.
“You can find a stat line anywhere you look,” he said quietly.
He was also told that he was the first pitcher since 1957 to give up a grand slam and hit a homer in the same inning.
“I’d rather not be a part of that stat line,” he cracked.
It was an odd bit of history because Bumgarner normally buckles down in those situations. He had allowed just two previous grand slams, but he lost his command in the fourth and walked two to load the bases. Justin Ruggiano took him deep to center.
“Man, it was just rough the whole game,” Bumgarner said. “My location wasn’t really good, even the strikes in the strike zone weren’t located where I wanted them. It’s just one of those days you’ve got to battle through it. The location wasn’t there and the stuff wasn’t there.”
Bumgarner has gotten his teammates off the hook so often. After the slam, they did it for him. Three straight singles and a triple got the Giants within one. Bumgarner’s homer made it 5-4.
“I’ve never played with a pitcher who has to ability to do what he does,” center fielder Denard Span said. “Sometimes I’m like, maybe we should bunt here. But then I think about it and it’s like, nah.”
The Giants kept tacking on. Eduardo Nuñez had a four-hit night and Brandon Crawford picked up three hits. Hunter Pence had a pair and scored twice. Span had three hits at the top of the order.
Still, this one wouldn’t be easy. They never are with this group. Bumgarner’s lack of command led to a 38-pitch inning and Bochy pulled him after five.
“I’ve got to take care of him,” the manager said. “That’s a pretty good workload.”
Cory Gearrin (in his first appearance off the DL) and Will Smith combined to give up a pair in the sixth and the Mets were back within one. Bochy had hoped Derek Law could cover the seventh and most of the eighth, but he worked in and out of trouble and ran his pitch count up. Sergio Romo was supposed to get a night off, but he entered in the eighth and struck out a pair. Romo’s last 11 outs have come via the strikeout.
As Santiago Casilla warmed up, Buster Posey crushed a two-run double off the bricks. A closer who has blown six saves all of a sudden had a three-run cushion. The Giants would win their 10th game of the second half.
“We could have easily folded the tents and said we’ll get them tomorrow,” Span said. “We collectively came together.”
The key now: Do it again. Of those previous nine second-half wins, only one was followed by another. Will the themes from this win finally carry over?
“It sure doesn’t hurt,” Bumgarner said.
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