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Slater grand slam lifts Giants after line drive to elbow knocks out Bumgarner

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An Austin Slater pinch-hit, grand slam busted open an 8-4 win Saturday night as five Giants relievers finished up for an injured Madison Bumgarner to tie the weekend series with the Cardinals.

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Bumgarner tried to bounce back from the ball that struck him in his pitching arm, striking out Paul DeJong and Dexter Fowler. But singles to Tommy Edman and Martínez to open the game came back to roost after Paul Goldschmidt singled to bring in Edman for an early 1-0 St. Louis lead.

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Bumgarner showed heart in returning to the mound in the third, but the coaches made a quick decision to take him out of the game to avoid further injury. Bochy acknowledged his starter and how tough he is:

“Yeah, it got him really good. You can see a big lump there where it hit him in the left elbow, just above it. He wanted to try and go – he took his time and threw some pitches and said he was good to go, but you know Madison, how tough he is … He didn’t wave us off.”

Sam Dyson (W, 3-1, 2.48 ERA) came in for two innings after Bumgarner (ND, 5-7, 4.03 ERA) sustained a contusion to his pitching elbow from a José Martínez line drive in the first. Dyson immediately struck out Martínez, his first victim in the top of the third with just thirteen pitches.

Bumgarner spoke about his injury:

“I didn’t think it was broken, but I knew it hit me in the arm, so I was going to let them come out and see because that’s obviously a little more important. And I thought it was fine – I threw and it felt fine, it didn’t tighten up or anything; it looked bad but it felt fine … Curt and the training staff were just a little uncomfortable with all the swelling there, and that’s their job and I’m not going to dispute that. Whatever they thinks best, it looks nasty, but it’s not sore.”

Bumgarner walked off to a standing ovation at Oracle Park. Bochy had his mind made up at a certain point:

“We got a break; his x-rays were negative, and he should be fine to go after the break … So we’ll see how he’s doing over the break and if he needs more time we can rearrange the rotation and give him more time.”

The Giants (40-48) left the first inning in a tie from a Pablo Sandoval RBI which, considering last night, is a good sign. Slater, who was recalled on July 1, filled in for Bumgarner at the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning and immediately contributed, slugging a Mikolas slider out of the park to right for a grand slam and a 5-1 Giants lead.

Slater said:

“That’s the goal going in at bat, right? Get something in the air and do some damage with it. It was a big spot in the game too, which makes it even more special … I barreled it; it was a middle-middle slider. That was the goal going in – get something in the air.”

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The crowd of 32,487 at Oracle Park roared as the outfielder made his run around the bases and basked in the crowd’s celebration. Slater said:

“That is my first big-league grand slam; first pinch-hit grand slam as well at any other level.”

Reyes Moronta (3-4, 2.87 ERA) closed out the fifth in style with only twelve pitches. Mark Melancon (3-2, 4.29 ERA) relieved Moronta in the top of the seventh and ended it with nine pitches.

Sandoval made his mark in the bottom of the seventh, crushing a home run that saw him and Alex Dickerson score. As the ball floated over left field, one could feel the crowd roar for their Panda, regardless of the three seasons that he’s already been back with the club.

Tony Watson (2-0, 2.67 ERA) took his turn on the mound in the top of the eighth and gave up a three-run homer to Goldschmidt after Martínez reached and DeJong was hit by a pitch.

The Giants lone All-Star and newly engaged closer, Will Smith (1-0, 2.10 ERA), did his thing and made sure they tied up the series.

Up Next

The Giants look to close out the series against the Cardinals in the finale with first pitch scheduled at 1:05 p.m.

Notes

Slater’s teammates celebrated by giving him a beer shower post-game as he became just the 22nd player in the San Francisco era to hit a pinch-hit grand slam and the first since Rich Aurilia on June 12, 2003 at the White Sox.

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