The Giants were staring at a horrible loss Saturday night in Arizona before Austin Slater stepped to the plate in the top of the eighth inning and blasted a two-run homer to deep center field to give the Giants the 6-5 lead and a much-needed win over the Diamondbacks.
Prior to that at-bat, Slater was 0 for his last 14 with six strikeouts, but some advice from Buster Posey helped him snap out of his funk in a big way.
“Buster (Posey) made a comment to me in the dugout that when he feels jumpy he tries to hit a line drive at the first base dugout,” Slater said after the game. “My intention that at-bat was to take something the other way.
"After pulling that first curveball way foul I was just trying to stay back and hit something the other way.”
Added manager Gabe Kapler: "The pitch prior to the home run to center field, I think his timing was just a little off,” Kapler said. “We were talking about it in the dugout and seemed if he got ready a tiny bit sooner and if he had a little gather and momentum, something good might happen.”
Last season, Slater was a productive member of the Giants' outfield, posting a 1.127 OPS against left-handed pitchers. However, in June, Slater was a ghastly 4-for-36 with 12 strikeouts. As the Giants' trademark depth took hit after hit due to injuries and skids, Slater's extended slump became even more of a glaring issue.
But with the Giants staring at another bad loss to the Diamondbacks and the prospect of falling out of first place in the NL West, Slater came back to life and put a charge into a Ryan Buchter offering that, at least for now, has stopped the bleeding for the Giants.
Kapler, Posey and the Giants can only hope this is the beginning of an extended hot streak for one of the most vital pieces of their bench.