Albert Pujols lingered near the batter’s box after connecting. Many LA players jumped the dugout rail. And lots of fans at Dodger Stadium raised their arms, all ready to celebrate.
Mike Tauchman had other ideas.
Tauchman remarkably reached over the left-field wall to rob Pujols of a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, and San Francisco broke through in the 10th to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in an 8-5 thriller Friday night.
Dodgers pinch-hitter Austin Barnes provided a jolt when he hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to make it 5-all. Pujols was up next, and the recently signed slugger launched a long, high drive.
“I mean, just off the bat, I thought obviously he hit it well,” Tauchman said.
Tauchman angled back to the fence, jumped, and made a sensational backhanded grab. After knocking into the wall, he fell to the ground, raised his arm to show the ball, and hobbled a bit on his way back to the dugout.
“You can never really tell, but I think any time you’re going back, or after anything, you want to go hard at first to keep yourself from drifting. I got to the spot to time my jump,” Tauchman said. “Sometimes the ball goes in, and sometimes it doesn’t. I happened to make a play for the boys.”
In late April, the Giants got Tauchman in a trade with the New York Yankees, who liked his defensive ability but had no room for him in an overcrowded outfield.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler called the play “an excellent, very, very difficult major league catch up against a wall that’s not easy to scale. Obviously, a game-saver and one of the better catches we’ve seen all season.”
As Tauchman debated where that catch ranked in his career, he said top two — but maybe No. 1.
“I robbed another homer in Baltimore. I got up pretty good,” Tauchman said. “It’s probably the most fun play you can make. You can practice over your chain-link fence in the backyard. The opportunities are so few and far between, so it’s pretty cool.”
Pujols has 668 lifetime home runs and is tied with Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and three other Hall of Famers with 12 career walk-off homers, trailing Jim Thome’s record 13.
“Albert hit a homer and just so happened the guy jumped up and caught it,” Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler said. “Tough game for us, but at the end of the day, we still feel perfect about what we have in this clubhouse.”
LaMonte Wade Jr. hit a go-ahead single in the Giants 10th off Kenley Jansen (0-2). Evan Longoria added a two-run double.
Tyler Rogers (1-0) got the win despite giving up Barnes’ homer. Jarlin Garcia got his first save since he was Marlin’s minor leaguer in 2011.
Three times the Giants had a lead, and three times the Dodger tied it. In the end, the Giants wound up with their first win over their NL West rivals in five tries this season.
Buster Posey hit a three-run homer in the eighth that gave the Giants a 5-2 lead.
Posey’s 10th homer of the season and 150th in his career came off reliever Blake Treinen.
The Dodgers trailed 1-0 and 2-1 and 5-2 but kept answering. With a tie game and runners on second and third in the sixth for the Giants, left fielder Yoshi Tsutsugo made a running, leaping catch to rob Brandon Crawford of a hit and kept the game tied. It was another spectacular play in left field.
Hot-hitting Steven Duggar had a solo home run off Buehler in the fifth. Duggar is 10 for 24 with three homers in his last 13 games.
Matt Beaty hit a solo home run off Anthony DeSclafani in the Dodgers second.
Buehler threw six solid innings and allowed one earned and three hits.
PUT A RING ON IT
Former Dodgers Alex Wood and Jake McGee received their World Series rings from the 2020 championship before Friday’s game in their clubhouse.
WALK THIS WAY
Dodgers catcher Will Smith tied a career-high with three walks. He also drew three walks on April 5 at Oakland.
Giants: RHP Darin Ruf suffered a Grade 2 right hamstring strain and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.
Dodgers: OF Cody Bellinger (hairline fracture left leg) will return to Saturday’s lineup after missing nearly two months … INF/OF Zach McKinstry (right oblique strain) will be back with the team Saturday, and in the lineup, Saturday or Sunday … OF A.J. Pollock (left hamstring strain) will play four games for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and is expected to travel with the Dodgers to Atlanta next weekend… RHP Jimmy Nelson (forearm) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session this weekend and live BP Tuesday.
Giants: RHP Logan Webb (3-3, 4.09) will come off the IL with a mild shoulder strain to make a start. He threw six scoreless innings in his previous start on May 17 against Cincinnati.
Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (7-1, 3.03) earned his seventh win of the season in San Francisco last Sunday, allowing just two runs on three hits in six innings. He is tied for second-most wins in MLB, along with teammate Clayton Kershaw and Cleveland’s Aaron Civale. Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty has eight.