Alex Wood

Alex Wood sets table for late heroics as Giants cap huge homestand

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SAN FRANCISCO — Before the series finale against the Cleveland Guardians, manager Gabe Kapler said he felt Kyle Harrison was in a good place and could give the Giants 100 pitches if they needed him to. By the end of the day, it was another lefty who was in the spotlight. 

After Harrison left with the Giants trailing 5-1 through four, veteran Alex Wood took over and pitched four shutout innings. Wood’s appearance was his first since a disappointing start last week in Chicago, and it set the stage for late dramatics.

J.D. Davis hit a three-run blast in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game and LaMonte Wade Jr.‘s sacrifice fly clinched a 6-5 win in the 10th. With two walk-offs in the series, the Giants finished off a 5-1 homestand that vaulted them back into the thick of the National League wild-card race. As they headed for SFO, they were just one game out of the final spot.

"This is the time of year that s--t is pretty fun," Wood said. "If you're not playing to be in games like this or step up in moments like that, what are you playing for? This is the funnest time of the year and we've got some good momentum right now and hopefully we keep grinding."

When the Giants were rolling in the first half, they often came back late because rookies Tristan Beck and Keaton Winn kept them in games through the middle innings. Wood, a starter early in the season, never expected to be in that spot, but he embraced the role Wednesday. 

Harrison gave up an early two-run shot, and Casey Schmitt’s error cost the Giants two more. After another run in the second, Harrison made a mechanical adjustment that brought back some of his usual late life on the fastball. The early struggles were enough to guarantee a short day, but Wood was ready to step in.

"He's the man," Harrison said. "He kept us in the ballgame."

Wood's appearance was his longest scoreless outing since July 8 and it couldn't have been better timed. The Giants don't know how many wins it will take to get into the postseason, but they knew they had to have a huge homestand, and they were on the verge of losing two of three to a sub-.500 Guardians team before heading out on the road for 10 games. 

The big homestand set them up well heading into Coors Field, where they have won eight straight. For the first time in a few weeks, the Giants feel like they're back in control.

"We're at the point where you've got to come out and you've got to freaking fight every day and put what's happened over the last couple weeks behind you and just fight and try and scratch and claw and do everything you can to help us win in whatever way it may be," Wood said. "I thought these last six days we've really done that at a time when we had no choice but to.

"It was a great homestand, and hopefully we can start to come out on the other side of some of these road games and keep the momentum going."

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