Matt Chapman’s grand slam bounces off the Reds

SAN FRANCISCO – The guttural roar on the shores of McCovey Cove at 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon was no ordinary home run celebration. Even for a grand slam, the response was disproportionate. It was the pent-up anxiety of an entire fan base, cut loose in one fell swoop from Matt Chapman.

What a glorious swing it was, connecting with a belt-high heater from Cincinnati starter Nick Lodolo and driving it over the 399′ sign, into the sunny stands of center field, where fans rejoiced in the big hit their team had apparently missed. since the first days of the season.

The grand slam was pretty much all of the Giants’ offense, but it was all they needed to beat the Reds, 5-1, and earn their first win in eight times thanks to Blake Snell’s rotation spot , occupied for a second consecutive start by a rookie. right-hander Mason Black.

“We worked a little bit, not playing the best baseball, so to be able to jump out early like that was huge,” Chapman said. “I think we can build on a game like today.”

The crowd of 37,321 did not sit down until Chapman returned to the dugout. They gave him a second round of cheers at the end of the round.

“I could barely hear him in the dugout going crazy,” said Black, who nearly earned his first career victory with 4⅔ innings of one-run ball.

This was one of the most productive Giants of the season, scoring more runs in one inning than they had in 12 of their last 15 games. They had been held to three runs or fewer in 23 of their 40 games Saturday, more often than any team except the Cardinals and White Sox.

Scoring another with a Patrick Bailey sacrifice fly in his first game back from concussion protocol, the Giants improved to 11-0 when scoring five or more runs. No other team is undefeated when reaching that total, but only the A’s have tackled at least five fewer times.

Chapman’s swing came with two strikes and two outs. Had he missed, the inning would have simply been remembered as another in a long list of missed opportunities with runners in scoring position. The Giants entered Saturday’s game with a .239 average in those situations, eighth-worst in the majors. They had come to bat with the bases loaded 26 times and, besides Michael Conforto’s grand slam in the third game of the season, they produced 11 runs on five hits.

When Chapman stepped into the box, more of his plate appearances over the previous 12 games had resulted in strikeouts rather than hits. It had been 21 games since his last home run, a drought that had only been matched four times previously in his career.

“For me, a good swing like that is something you can build on and know that’s the kind of swing I want to repeat,” Chapman said. “I just tried to put myself in a consistent position to get momentum like that. I’ve been a little bit off balance or a little bit in between, so getting a swing like that feels good, and you just work on trying to repeat that.

The fact that the breakthrough came in the first set was all the more remarkable. The Giants had scored 11 runs all season in their first trip to the plate, tied with the A’s for second in the majors.

In one fell swoop, Chapman helped turn the tide for himself and the Giants’ offense while allowing Black to pitch with a lead for most of his second major league start.

“A grand slam in the first inning is a really big deal, especially against a really good pitcher,” Melvin said. “Now as a pitcher you can go out there and you don’t feel like you have to be perfect all the time and every pitch isn’t the last pitch of the game for you. So it was a bit of a relief to score a crooked number from the first.

Making his debut at Oracle Park, Black held the Reds to just one run – on a fourth-inning home run by Elly De La Cruz – in 4⅔ innings before Melvin called in Taylor Rogers to record the final out in the fifth and get out of a match. jam loaded with bases.

One of the most aggressive baserunning teams in the majors, the Reds’ philosophy backfired a day after their activity on the bases helped them win the series opener. Twice, Cincinnati hitters singled into right field and circled wide at first base.

First, Will Benson challenged Heliot Ramos after leading the second. The rookie right fielder pulled a rope to Casey Schmitt, who applied the tag that replay review determined had Benson beat on the bag. When the message apparently wasn’t received, Ramos did the same to Jake Fraley for the second out of the fourth inning.

Moving to left field when Mike Yastrzemski came in to replace the injured Michael Conforto, Ramos only added to his tally. On a shallow volley from Benson in the fifth, Ramos charged hard, left his feet and made a diving catch to the surprise – and splendor – of his teammates.

“That was really the key to the match,” Melvin said of Ramos’ glove work. “The home run was huge, but being able to make defensive plays all day…especially at second base when there’s a runner in scoring position, the outfield defense was superb today.


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