May 22, 2019
Rookie right-hander Shaun Anderson started for the second time in his career on Tuesday
Joe Panik’s walk-off single lifts Giants to comeback before smallest home crowd of 2019
SAN FRANCISCO — It’s one thing to earn a comeback victory. It’s another to steal a win.
The New York Giants did both against the Braves on Tuesday.
Trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, a Giants’ offense that recorded two runs in the first 17 innings of the series pounded out four singles, secured two key stolen bases and completed a come-from-behind win with three hard-earned runs in a 4-3 walk-off victory.
Second baseman Joe Panik fell behind Braves closer Luke Jackson 0-2, but battled his way through an eight-pitch at-bat to deliver his second career walk-off hit and his first since May 1, 2015 against the Angels.
“There’s no quit in this group,” Panik said. “It doesn’t matter who’s out on the mound or what the score is, we believe in each other and we believe in ourselves.”

The Giants announced the smallest crowd of the season at Oracle Park as they sold just 28,030 tickets to Tuesday’s game, but the few thousand fans who stayed through the end witnessed a stunning comeback and the club’s third walk-off win of the year.
Right fielder Kevin Pillar drove in Brandon Crawford with a two-out single up the middle to plate the first run of the inning and sprinted his way into scoring position with his team-leading sixth stolen base.
“It just picked up once Craw got the hit,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You just saw the energy in the dugout, guys had some great at-bats and their kid was throwing good pitches.”
Pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval was robbed of a game-tying RBI on a diving stop from Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson, but Sandoval hustled up the line for an infield single while Pillar advanced to third. After Bochy inserted Mac Williamson in to run for Sandoval, the speedy outfielder took advantage of Jackson, who was slow to the plate with his delivery.
Williamson swiped second base on an 0-2 slider in the dirt, taking away a force play from the Braves while moving into scoring position for Panik.
“Any time you can advance 90 feet, it’s big,” Panik said. “In that situation for me, having Mac at second base versus first base, I don’t have to hit a double to win the game. I just had to stay within myself.”
Down to the club’s final out, Bochy faced a critical decision in the ninth. He could have had Sandoval pinch hit for Pillar and used another bench player to hit in the pitcher’s spot, but the Giants manager stuck with his veteran outfielder who was 0-for-3 entering the last inning.
“I wanted him to hit there,” Bochy said. “I said the game would be determined by whether he gets on, obviously, and he got a base hit. Then you’ve got speed there and a guy who can steal a base and he did that.”
Once Pillar reached, Sandoval came to the plate and delivered his third consecutive pinch hit as he improved to 10-for-25 on the year as a pinch-hitter. That paved the way for Panik, who is now 22-for-66 (.333) over his last 18 games.
“I’ve been seeing the ball really well,” Panik said. “I feel like I really turned the corner a few weeks ago, got really comfortable hitting with two strikes. And anytime you can hit with two strikes and feel comfortable with that, it gives you confidence throughout the at-bat.”
The Giants managed just five hits in the first eight innings before breaking through with four in the ninth, leaving the spotlight for much of the evening on rookie starter Shaun Anderson.
Anderson wasn’t dominant, but the 24-year-old showed off intriguing potential in a five-plus inning stint as he used his changeup and slider effectively.
“(The changeup) has always been a pitch that I feel good with, I usually go to my slider because I feel comfortable with that, but we were mixing in everything with Buster,” Anderson said.
The Giants didn’t have a first round pick in the 2016 draft, but they acquired a solid prospect in Anderson, a third round selection, when they sent utility player Eduardo Núñez to the Boston Red Sox in July, 2017.
The Red Sox were the first side to benefit from the deal as they re-signed Núñez prior to the 2018 season and watched him deliver a clutch, three-run home run in Game 1 of last year’s World Series, but the Giants have a chance to pull even as they’ve begun the process of determining whether Anderson can be a long-term fit in the club’s rotation.
If he continues to build off his first two starts, Anderson should have plenty of opportunities in a 2019 season where auditions for future roles with the Giants have been plentiful.

Attendance slips
Tuesday’s attendance marked the sixth game this year in which the Giants failed to draw 30,000 fans, making the 2019 season just the second in the two-decade history of Oracle Park in which the club has had more than five crowds consisting of fewer than 30,000 fans.
The smallest crowd in Oracle Park history was 23,934 on May 11, 2009 when the Giants hosted the Washington Nationals. The Giants will not set a new low this year because they have a season-ticket base of about 26,000, but they will likely set a new record for most games with an attendance of fewer than 30,000 fans.
The previous record was established in 2009 when the Giants had 12 home games in which they sold fewer than 30,000 tickets.
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