Before beginning his postgame Zoom call with reporters, Giants manager Gabe Kapler stepped into the visitors’ weight room to review the highlights from a wild night at Dodger Stadium. There was plenty to digest.
A milestone home run from Buster Posey, a game-saving catch from Mike Tauchman and a go-ahead single from LaMonte Wade Jr resulted in one of the most dramatic wins of the season for the Giants, who rallied to beat the Dodgers, 8-5, in 10 innings on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
Posey’s 150th career homer — a tiebreaking, three-run blast off Blake Treinen — gave the Giants a 5-2 lead in the top of the eighth inning, but the Dodgers came back to tie the game on Austin Barnes’ three-run shot off Tyler Rogers in the bottom of the ninth.
Albert Pujols nearly ended the game when he sent a drive deep out to left field, but Tauchman made an incredible leaping catch at the wall to rob the Dodgers’ first baseman of a walk-off home run and force extra innings.
“That was an excellent, very, very, very difficult Major League catch, up against a wall that’s not easy to scale,” Kapler said. “It was obviously a game-saver, and one of the better catches we’ll see all season.”
Tauchman, who entered the game as a late-inning substitute, said the play ranked among the “top two, or maybe probably one” catches he’s made in his Major League career. He said the only other play that comes close is another home run robbery he pulled off at Camden Yards in 2019.
“That’s probably the most fun play you can make as an outfielder,” Tauchman said. “You practice it as a little kid over your chain-link fence in the backyard. The opportunities are so few and far between that when you get a chance at one, it’s pretty cool.”
Tauchman’s grab stunned Pujols and the rest of the Dodgers, many of whom placed their hands on their heads in disbelief.
“That was an unbelievable play by their left fielder,” Barnes said. “I thought Albert got it. The dugout was about to go crazy, it would’ve been fun. Great swing, but great play by him.”
Tauchman flied out against Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen to lead off the top of the 10th, but Wade followed with a single to right field that knocked in the automatic runner and put the Giants ahead, 6-5. Evan Longoria later capped the decisive rally with a two-run double that sailed over the head of Sheldon Neuse in right field.
With the win, the Giants improved to 1-4 against the Dodgers and 31-20 overall, tied with their archrivals for second place in the National League West.
That the Giants find themselves hanging with two behemoths — the Padres and the Dodgers — in the uber-competitive division is due in large part to the resurgence of Posey, who is batting .333 with a 1.028 OPS over 34 games this year.
Posey received a scheduled off-day on Thursday, but he was back behind the plate on Friday and snapped a tie in the eighth by launching a 96.6 mph sinker from Treinen out to left-center field to give the Giants a 5-2 lead. It was the 10th home run of the season for Posey, who has now reached double digits for the first time since 2017.
Despite Posey’s impressive production, the Giants remain committed to playing the long game with the 34-year-old veteran to ensure that he stays fresh and healthy over the entire regular season. Posey is currently starting two out of every three games, a strategy that seems to be working well for him thus far. Of Posey’s 10 homers this year, seven have come after he received the previous day off.
“I think what’s most impressive is that he did it against Treinen,” Kapler said. “Blake is a great Major League reliever with pretty nasty stuff, and he’s particularly tough on right-handed hitters. He’s particularly hard to get in the air against right-handed hitters. That was just a high-quality swing that he was able to get up in the zone.
“Buster’s been swinging the bat well for us all season long. I think that was career home run No. 150, which is quite an achievement. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”