SAN FRANCISCO — Austin Slater hit a solo home run to lead off the seventh as the Giants beat the Padres 5-4 Friday night to open a three-game series at Oracle Park.
That the Giants (19-14) blew a four-run lead was secondary to taking a 1 1/2 game over the Padres (18-14) in the National League West on a night where the club celebrated the 90th birthday of Hall of Fame center fielder Willie Mays.
Buster Posey and Slater both had opposite field home runs for the Giants, Posey with his eighth in the third inning and Slater with his third in the seventh. For San Diego, Trent Grisham and Eric Hosmer each had two-run home runs in a four-run sixth, Grisham’s fifth and Hosmer’s fourth.
Camilo Doval (1-1) got his first big league win, pitching a scoreless seventh preceding Slater’s home run. Tyler Rogers pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and then Jake McGee, who had endured several rough outings of late, walked the first hitter in the ninth and then struck out the side for his eighth save.
Slater’s home run leading off the seventh inning put the Giants back in the lead. It came off reliever Keone Kela, and it was the only batter he faced. Kela (2-2) left with an injury after the home run pitch and was replaced by Pierce Johnson, who managed to work out of the inning despite an embarrassing misplayed popup by Hosmer at first base.
Starter Anthony DeSclafani’s Oracle Park magic came to a sudden end in the sixth, during which the Padres tied the score 4-4 on two-run home runs by Grisham and Hosmer.
Pinch-hitter Jorge Mateo opened with a single, with third baseman Evan Longora making a sprawling stop at third but unable to make an accurate throw to first. Grisham followed with a home run to center, which ended DeSclafani’s run of scoreless innings at home at 20 innings.
DeSclafani got Fernando Tatis on a grounder to third, but when Manny Machado doubled to right, manager Gabe Kapler brought in left-hander Sam Selman to face the left-handed swinging Hosmer. Hosmer did the same thing Grisham did — homering to center, another two-run shot which tied the score 4-4.
The Giants didn’t give up any more runs, but needed Zack Littell to come on and get the final out after he first hit Austin Nola with a pitch.
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The walks finally caught up to starter Blake Snell in the fifth, as he didn’t make it out of the inning with Evan Longoria hitting a two-run, two-out single against reliever Austin Adams. Snell gave up just one hit but walked six in all.
Slater drew a one-out walk against Snell, then after Brandon Crawford was retired on a fly to center, Snell walked Posey and was pulled in favor of Adams. Adams promptly plunked Mike Yastrzemski with the first pitch, with Longoria slicing a single to right with the bases loaded to bring home two runs.
Neither team had a hit until Posey struck with two out in the third inning.
Snell walked DeSclafani, the pitcher, who was forced at second on grounder by Austin Slater. Snell walked Wilmer Flores before Posey, on a 1-0 count, launched a 95 mile an hour fastball over the right field fence to give the Giants the lead.