SAN FRANCISCO -- As they took batting practice on Monday afternoon, even some of the Giants wondered aloud if their big weekend had been about a team turning the corner or about one taking advantage of the Colorado Rockies pitching staff. Against a much better bullpen, they again found a way.
Trailing the Cleveland Guardians by a run in the 10th, the Giants tied it when Blake Sabol smoked a 100 mph cutter into center and then won it 5-4 when LaMonte Wade Jr. did the same a batter later. Sabol took two wicked foul tips off his lower body in the late innings, but he stole second to set up the winning run and give the Giants a quick rally on a night that started in a similar fashion.
LATE NIGHT LAMONTE FOR THE WIN 😤 pic.twitter.com/xwWPnkegyX— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 12, 2023
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The win was the fourth straight for the Giants, who moved back to four games above .500. They kept pace with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs, both of whom won earlier in the night.
Coming off their best offensive weekend of the second half, the Giants got going right away when Mike Yastrzemski took rookie right-hander Gavin Williams deep. The leadoff homer was their second in a week and sixth of the year.
The Guardians took the lead in the third, but the Giants bounced right back with two runs of their own. Alex Cobb's gritty effort got the one-run cushion to the bullpen, but the Guardians tied the game in the seventh when Bay Area native Steven Kwan whistled a two-out single past John Brebbia.
It looked like the Giants would again come right back with runs, but they failed to score after putting runners on the corners with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. The Guardians returned the favor, failing to push the go-ahead run across after putting two in scoring position with one out in the eighth.
San Francisco Giants
Toughing It Out
Cobb had not pitched in eight days because he needed a cortisone injection in a hip that has bothered him for a couple of months, and it took just nine pitches before trainer Dave Groeschner came out with manager Gabe Kapler. After throwing a sinker to Jose Ramirez, Cobb hobbled off the side of the mound and grabbed at his right hip, but he stayed in the game.
Cobb managed to get through five, although it was touch-and-go in his final two innings. Taylor Rogers was warming up in the fourth and again in the fifth, but Cobb made it through 79 pitches before Kapler turned to the bullpen.
Cobb was charged with two unearned runs in his five innings, allowing just three hits while striking out a pair. The runs came when Brandon Crawford made a two-out error in the third and Josh Naylor followed with a blast into the cove.
After a one-out single in the third, Thairo Estrada easily nabbed his 21st stolen base in 26 attempts this season. Estrada is the first Giant to steal 20 in consecutive seasons since fellow middle infielder Omar Vizquel did it in 2005 and 2006.
Estrada entered the night leading the Giants with 3.4 fWAR, in part because of that baserunning and in part because of his excellent defense at second base. He ranks among the league leaders in Outs Above Average and had a strong game with the glove on Monday:
Missing On A Monday
When the schedule was released last year, the Giants knew a Monday night game against the Guardians wouldn't be a huge draw, but they hoped that they would win enough in the first few months that fans would start filling Oracle Park down the stretch. The product hasn't been very compelling lately, though, and on Monday they announced a crowd of just 20,705.
It was the third-smallest crowd of the year at Oracle Park and the smallest since May 8. Overall, the Giants are 17th in the big leagues in nightly attendance, although they have seen a minor uptick from 2022. They drew 30,605 per game last year and are currently at 30,763, but that increase is well short of the league-wide bump of around nine percent.