SAN FRANCISCO — Andrew McCutchen dropped his bat, took two strong steps, pumped both fists, and screamed. When you know, you know, and an entire fan base now knows exactly what the city of Pittsburgh felt for all those years.
McCutchen showed every bit of his talent in a thrilling and long 7-5 win at AT&T Park, piling up five hits before dropping the hammer on the Dodgers in the bottom of the 14th. The sixth and final hit was a walk-off homer to left on the 12th pitch of an epic battle with Wilmer Font. It turned a deficit into an instant classic of a win. Afterward, he was asked how he celebrated his Welcome to San Francisco moment.
“It was pretty much a party in here,” he said, smiling.
There were many worthy of being celebrated on this night. After some early wobbles, the bullpen hung tough until McCutchen’s heroics. Pierce Johnson, Reyes Moronta and Roberto Gomez, all rookies, handled the final five frames. Kelby Tomlinson singled to lead off the bottom of the 14th and boldly took third on Yasiel Puig. Tony Watson kept things close in regulation.
Mostly, though, this was about McCutchen. He was the big offseason acquisition, the player the front office imported after a 98-loss season to try and inject some life back into a suffering franchise. It had been a rough start for McCutchen. He entered the seventh game of the season with a .083 batting average. By the time he crossed the plate after five hours and 16 minutes of baseball, it was .280.
“I’ve gotten six hits in a couple of games … like six in a row,” he joked. “But never in one game.”
McCutchen said nothing really felt different on this day. He got pitches to hit and he took advantage, starting with his first at-bat, when he smoked a double into the left field corner. By the time it was over, however, he was in the record books. According to ESPN Stats & Info, McCutchen is the second player in MLB history with six hits and a walk-off homer in the same game.
The final touches were put on that feat in dramatic fashion. McCutchen walked to the plate with the Giants down by a run, but the tying run was on third and the go-ahead run was on first. Font was the last reliever left in the Dodgers bullpen, and it quickly became clear what his plan was.
“The first pitch he started me off with a curveball that I didn't want. It was up and then he went fastball up, and from there I knew those were the two pitches that he throws,” McCutchen said. “I was just trying to fight them off, fight them off, fight them off, until I got comfortable with whatever he threw up there.”
Font kept pumping curveballs and elevated heaters. McCutchen fouled seven of them off. The final one came in at 94.6 mph. McCutchen rocketed it out to left at 100 mph.
“He didn’t elevate it too much and I was able to elevate it,” he said.
With the swing, McCutchen lifted a clubhouse that has seen so many of these games go the other way the past two years. He emphatically threw his high socks into one of the sport’s best rivalries, and offered a reminder to the rest of the National League West that this is a different Giants team. It’s the type that’s used to playing and winning games like this.
“It was one of those Giants-Dodgers games that will be talked about,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s how good a game it was. It had everything.”