SAN FRANCISCO — As they headed for the All-Star break, the Giants at long last rediscovered their stride at the plate. And they did it in a stunning, thrilling and historic fashion.
Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey hit grand slams as a slumping team beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-4 in the first half finale. Bumgarner and Posey became the first battery in MLB history to hit grand slams in the same game.
Bumgarner is the second pitcher in history to hit two grand slams in one season, joining Tony Cloninger, who did it twice on one day in 1966. He's the first Giant of any position to hit two slams in a season since Edgar Renteria did it in 2009, and along with Posey, he gave the Giants just their third multiple-grand slam game since moving to San Francisco.
Bumgarner loves to hit and has been used as a pinch-hitter occasionally. Manager Bruce Bochy might now want to make that a daily option. Bumgarner leads all Major League pitchers with a .275 average, three homers, seven runs and 12 RBIs. He is slugging .550, which would rank him fourth in the National League if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, widely known as the most powerful hitter in the game, is slugging .538.
The Giants trailed 1-0 through four innings and looked headed for another lackluster loss. But with two outs and the bags juiced in the fifth, Posey got the hit the lineup has been missing for over a month, lining a low fastball from Vidal Nuno into the left field seats.
An inning later, a single, error and walk loaded the bases for Bumgarner, who hit a grand slam off the Colorado Rockies on April 11. The first pitch from Matt Stites was a 98 mph fastball, and Bumgarner hammered it to left.
Bumgarner was cruising on the mound, giving up just one run over the first six innings. He didn't make it out of seventh, giving up a two-run homer to former teammate Cody Ross. Bumgarner was charged with four earned runs and has now given up 19 earned runs over his past four starts. As he walked off the mound, the 299th consecutive sellout crowd at AT&T Park didn't care one bit, giving him one of the loudest ovations of the season.