San Francisco Giants: Arroyo and Morse Lead the Charge in Comeback Win

Apr 26, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielder Michael Morse (38) celebrates after hitting a home run during the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 26, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielder Michael Morse (38) celebrates after hitting a home run during the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

Where they are in their careers couldn’t be any more different, but Michael Morse and Christian Arroyo led the charge as the San Francisco Giants completed a much-needed comeback.

Just one day after collecting his first career base-hit on a first-pitch single against the best pitcher in the game, Clayton Kershaw, Christian Arroyo one-upped himself. In the seventh inning of Wednesday’s contest with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Giants’ top hitting prospect hit his first career big league home run, a two-run shot that cut into a 3-0 Dodgers’ lead.

After a Buster Posey single, Arroyo took his place at the plate with one out. It was a battle of a past Giant against a Giant of the future, with Sergio Romo on the mound for the Dodgers. This wasn’t the first meeting between the two, as Romo struck Arroyo out looking on Monday during the rookie’s major-league debut.

The 21-year-old had his revenge in the rematch. Romo hung a slider toward the middle of the plate in a 2-0 count, and Arroyo put a charge into it. It looked like a double off the bat, but kept carrying and carrying until it disappeared over the left-center field wall. After busting it hard out of the box, Arroyo slowed up as the ball cleared the fence before clapping his hands enthusiastically between first and second base.

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The rookie made the first dent, but it was another former Giant, back for one last chase of glory, leveled the score. Michael Morse, in his first at-bat since having his contract purchased from Triple-A Sacramento earlier, looked like a guy coming off an injury that hadn’t played much on his first few swings. Facing fireballing right-hander Pedro Baez, Morse was late on his first two swings as Baez tried to pump the heater right by him.

When Baez tried to do it for a third strike, he paid for it. Morse was right on the center-cut fastball, and he sent it screaming into the night. As the ball soared, visions of the 2014 NLCS resurfaced when Morse pumped his arms in the air and the ball kept carrying way beyond the spot where Arroyo’s ball landed. As if the similarities between Wednesday night and that fateful night in 2014 weren’t already enough, Morse’s latest home run tied the score at three, exactly the same score as the home run off Pat Neshek.

With the game tied, the two teams traded zeroes into extra innings. Derek Law survived a scare when Yasmani Grandal was AT&T’d on a long flyball to left field, leaving the door open for the Giants’ first walk-off win of the season in the bottom of the 10th.

Gorkys Hernandez was the first man to the plate, and despite all his failures and deficiencies from earlier in the season, he came up big when the team needed it on Wednesday. After getting count leverage against Dodgers’ reliever Ross Stripling, Hernandez lined a single into right field to get the rally started. He stole second base on a checked swing by Conor Gillaspie (which wouldn’t have mattered since Gillaspie took ball four on the next pitch), and had a great jump on Nick Hundley‘s bunt to beat Adrian Gonzalez‘s throw to third base.

From there, it was all on Morse’s good buddy Hunter Pence. Stripling did everything in his power to get Pence to chase fastballs above the zone, and while Pence followed him up the elevator, he just kept fouling off pitch after pitch. He worked the count full, and on the 10th pitch of the at-bat, Stripling made a mistake. The high fastball wasn’t high enough, just reaching the top of the zone, and Pence put a powerful swing on. He lofted the ball out to left field, deep enough to allow Hernandez to race home and slide his team into the win column.

The celebration was on from there, and they looked like a team that needed a celebration. With all the bad things happening to the team, all the losses and injuries and anything else that could happen, they needed a reason to let loose and enjoy themselves. They did just that. Arroyo led the charge from the dugout, Morse hugged his buddy Pence, and Nunez, with gusto, imitated Pence’s awkward swings from the final at-bat.

Next: The Kid Is Here; Arroyo Called Up

Maybe it was Morse that brought the right mojo. Maybe it was the rookie’s first home run. Maybe it was a combination of everything finally coming to a boil. The Giants hadn’t won a game yet this season when trailing after seven innings, but Wednesday changed that. That three-run deficit, which was insurmountable so many times earlier this season, was erased and the Giants took their biggest win of the young season. They needed it.