What we learned as Estrada plays hero in Giants’ comeback over Cubs

What we learned as Estrada plays hero in Giants’ comeback over Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area


The Giants and Chicago Cubs combined to score three runs through six innings Monday, before then scoring 10 over the final three innings for a wild back-and-forth battle that ended in San Francisco’s favor, 7-6.

Thairo Estrada’s three-run blast in the top of the ninth inning was the cherry on top to start off a six-game road trip. The Giants combined to hit three long balls, and Heliot Ramos and Patrick Bailey also joined the party.

The efforts of Ramos, Mike Yastrzemski and Jordan Hicks appeared to be enough to eke out a win before everything went wrong in the bottom of the seventh.

Ramos led off the seventh by tying the game at 2-2 with a solo shot to right-field bleachers. Estrada’s hit by pitch with the bases loaded then gave the Giants a 3-2 lead. But manager Bob Melvin curiously kept Trenton Brooks in the game instead of turning to his bench. The result was three runners stranded on Brooks’ third strikeout of the game.

The Cubs responded by scoring four runs in the bottom half of the inning, including a three-run shot by Ian Happ off reliever Erik Miller. The inning easily could have turned out differently, too. Brooks misplaying a pop fly didn’t help. Neither did home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez.

Before Estrada’s homer, the Giants left 12 men on base and were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Here are three takeaways from a wild win for the Giants.

Star In the Making

The first returns of fan voting for the MLB All-Star Game were released Monday, and Ramos led all Giants in votes at 241,532. That’s good for ninth among outfielders. Not good enough.

Ramos, since being called up May 8, has looked like a star in the making, and Monday was the latest example. Especially when the Giants really needed his red-hot bat. Ramos’ solo shot was his ninth homer of the year, and he now has four straight multi-hit games after going 2-for-5.

In that four-game span, Ramos has gone 9-for-19 (.474) with three home runs and seven RBI. He has power to all fields. He’s taking smart at-bats. He doesn’t turn 25 until September.

If you somehow haven’t bought Heliot Ramos stock yet, do it now. Time is running out.

All That Yaz

Yastrzemski’s spelling bee last name is baseball royalty, and his baseball IQ shined bright at Wrigley Field. From the fourth through sixth innings, Yastrzemski put on a baseball clinic.

First, in the top of the fourth, Yastrzemski smoked a triple to right field to knock in the first run of the game.

Then, in the bottom half of the fifth, Yastrzemski showed off his hose from right field and nailed Patrick Wisdom out at home plate.

One at-bat after smacking a triple 104.1 mph off the bat, Yastrzemski laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line to load the bases. The Cubs couldn’t even make a play on the work of art.

From little league to the bigs, Yastrzemski showed everybody how it’s done.

Effective Hicks

No matter the pitch, Hicks’ velocity was down all day. The former flamethrower still found ways to throw five strong innings despite walking four and dealing with an up-and-down strike zone.

Hicks forced 10 swing and misses, the most by any pitcher in Monday’s game. He struck out four, had four groundouts and four fly balls for outs, too. Whenever Hicks was in trouble, he found a way to get out of a jam.

The converted reliever continues to prove he’s no longer a thrower but a pitcher. Monday was the first time Hicks has finished five innings this month, and it marked his first scoreless outing since his first start of the season. Hicks dropped his ERA back below 3.00. Hicks now has a 2.82 ERA on the year as one of the better offseason moves by any team.

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