Grant Green homer pushes Giants over Diamondbacks

Grant Green grew up in Orange County, played ball at USC, and spent three years with the Los Angeles Angels. But under that positively SoCal resume, a “huge” Giants fan hid:

“My dad was a huge Giants and 49ers fan growing up. He grew up in the Bay Area and he kind of put that on me. … Every single team I played with, like pony ball and stuff, I was always on the Giants. I grew up a huge Giants fan.”

Green, the Giants fan, fulfilled a childhood dream Saturday afternoon: he hit a home run at AT&T Park, his parents looking on from the stands during San Francisco’s 4-2 win over the Diamondbacks:

“Growing up a huge Giants fan it also had a little sentimental reasons to it.”

But that home run ball had more on it than sentiment, it gave the Giants a lead they never relinquished en route to their win Saturday afternoon.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

The dinger provided a slice of normalcy in an otherwise bloop-tastic game.

The blooper bug started out in the stands: a soaring foul ball crash landed into a fan’s beer, causing a boozy explosion. Then the players caught the bug, and it was funny at times. Buster Posey banked a ball into a distracted Jake Peavy‘s glove while he disputed a check swing:

“Who gets it in there other than Buster.”

Javier Lopez tripped gracefully up the stairs and rolled onto his back his way to the bullpen. Who else but oft-injured Jeremy Affeldt sent Lopez the video:

“I told him at least I didn’t get hurt.”

Then there were the costly mistakes: Brandon Crawford popped an easy out up into the sun. But Jake Lamb, sunglasses perched on his hat, only saw it as it bounced off his shoulder.

The bloop gave Crawford a hit and set up Green’s go-ahead homer, putting the Giants up 3-2.

Then there were the anti-bloopers, the defensive gems.

Javier Lopez inherited the fifth inning with two runners on–one-run lead intact– to face Jake Lamb, who punched a potential double play ball up the middle that evaded Lopez’s glove. Crawford, who first juked right, dove back to his left to make the stop and perfect throw to first. Lopez said he felt comfortable letting the ball go by:

“When you have a great infield, you don’t want to do something to mess it up.”

He added:

“I take full blame, but I’m also pumping him up to make Gold Glove plays.”

Crawford, in response, smirked:

“I think he was kind of disappointed in himself that he drew his glove back. We talked about it a little bit and we could have made the double play if he didn’t pull his glove back.”

Peavy, who was responsible for the two base runners on, was still pumped on Crawford’s play:

“He’s got to be the biggest All-Star snub, doesn’t he. The dude is an RBI machine and he plays defense. And he’s got sexy hair.”

Peavy’s relatively early departure, just 86 pitches deep, keyed a full day of classic Bruce Bochy bullpen match-ups. Peavy-the-competitor wanted to keep pitching, but he’s learned to trust his skip:

“He told me Javy was hot.”

Said Bochy:

“I think he knows I wanted to leave him in the game to get the win, but I think he knows he was at that point. So it was more about protecting him.”

A strategy that his sometimes blown up in Bochy’s face, this time, went smooth as ice. George Kontos (W, 2-1, 3.12 ERA) recorded the last out of the fifth inning when Yasmany Tomas lined out to left field, and then pitched a perfect sixth inning.

A fresh Albert Suarez and Josh Osich tag-teamed a scoreless seventh and Sergio Romo dominated his eighth. Santiago Casilla closed out the ninth and the Giants bullpen pitched 4-2/3 innings of scoreless ball, said Lopez of the match-up game:

“It was one of those where the trust has got to be there. We know we have to pitch better and execute when we can.”

With a win Sunday, the Giants will tie the great 1962 Giants team–that one with Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Jim Davenport, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, to name a few–for second-most wins before the All-Star break in San Francisco Giants’ history. The 1993 team won 59.

For now, they team’s 56-33 record is the best in the Majors. They’re 23 games over .500.