What we learned as Giants salvage Snell's strong start with walk-off

What we learned as Giants salvage Snell’s strong start with walk-off originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area


SAN FRANCISCO — For the first time as a Giant, Blake Snell made it through five innings. He was dominant, too, looking every bit like the pitcher who won the Cy Young Award last season.

Snell qualified for the win but he’ll have to wait to get his first in orange and black. The Giants didn’t win this one until the ninth, when Brett Wisely tied it up and a wild pitch brought home the final run in a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Giants trailed by a run with one out in the ninth, but a single by Patrick Bailey got them going. With two on, Wisely hit an 83-mph bouncer up the middle that inched past reliever Trevor Richards and second baseman Leo Jimenez. Richards then spiked a two-strike changeup to Thairo Estrada, allowing Tyler Fitzgerald to race home for the winning run.

Snell was on a pitch count after coming off the IL for the second time, but his 73-pitch outing was easily his best in San Francisco. After picking off a runner to end the fifth, Snell had a long discussion with pitching coach Bryan Price and assistant pitching coach J.P. Martinez.

The Giants turned it over to the bullpen, and two innings later they were behind. Ryan Walker has pitched like an All-Star, but he hung a two-strike slider to third baseman Ernie Clement, who lined a three-run shot into the bleachers.

Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi struck out a career-high 13, but the Blue Jays pushed him into the eighth and nearly paid for it. Fitzgerald hit a solo homer and the Giants put two on for Matt Chapman, who fouled off five straight from hard-throwing right-hander Nate Pearson before swinging through a 99 mph fastball.

Is Blake Back?

The Giants let Snell go through three rehab starts to make sure he was fully ready to return to the big leagues. He threw five no-hit innings in Triple-A last week in his final appearance and he nearly matched that Tuesday.

The only hit off Snell was a single by Davis Schneider in the second inning. Snell walked three, but picked off one of the runners and got out of another jam with a double play. The outing was his fifth over the past two seasons with fewer than two hits.

Snell’s stuff was generally pretty good even during his rough starts, although his command and pitch shapes weren’t close to what he was looking for. On Tuesday, he topped out at 97.7 mph, a season-high. His four-seamer averaged about 96 mph.

Another One

On his first day back in San Francisco as an All-Star, Heliot Ramos laughed when asked if he would want to participate in the Home Run Derby.

“You think I have enough juice for that?” he asked.

Yes. Yes he does.

Ramos went to dead center in the fourth for his 13th homer of the 2024 MLB season, putting him back ahead of Chapman for the team lead. The only players in the National League with more homers than Ramos since his debut on May 8 are Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani and Los Angeles Dodger-killer Christian Walker. Only Chicago’s Ian Happ has more RBI than Ramos’ 42 over the last two months.

The 13 homers have come over 55 games, putting him on a 38-homer pace over a full season. That’s more than enough juice to get him into the Derby in future years if that’s something he wants to do.

Unexpected Turn

When Randy Rodriguez pitched a quick sixth, the Giants had the Blue Jays right where they wanted them. Walker came on for the seventh, but he was hit hard, giving up a double and a three-run homer, along with a scorched liner to second that was stabbed by Wisely.

Walker had not allowed an earned run since June 1 and had allowed just one run, period, over his previous 15 appearances. When he gives them up, they tend to be in bunches. He has 38 scoreless appearances this year, but also three in which he has allowed three runs.

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