LOS ANGELES – Albert Pujols paused near the batter’s box after being hooked up. Many LA players jumped the dugout rail. And many 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 steal a walk-off home run from Pujols in the lower part of the ninth inning, and San Francisco broke through on the 10th to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in an 8-5 thriller on Friday night .
Dodger’s pinch hitter Austin Barnes made a jolt when he hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to make the five-all. Pujols was up next and the recently signed racket started a long, high drive.
“I mean, right off the bat I thought he obviously got it right,” said Tauchman.
Tauchman turned back to the fence, jumped, and did a sensational backhand grip. He fell to the floor after bumping into the wall, raised his arm to show the ball, and hobbled a little on the way back to the dugout.
“You can never really tell, but I think every time you go back, or after something, you want to do whatever you can first to keep yourself from drifting. I’m in place to time my jump,” said Tauchman . “Sometimes the ball goes in and sometimes it doesn’t. I happened to be playing a game for the boys.”
The Giants got Tauchman in late April in a deal with the New York Yankees who liked his defensive skills but had no room for him in a crowded outfield.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler called the game “an excellent, very, very difficult comeback in the Major League against a wall that isn’t easy to scale. Obviously a game saver and one of the better catches we’ve seen all season.”
When Tauchman debated where this catch ranks in his career, he put it in the top 2 – but maybe even # 1.
“I robbed another homer in Baltimore. I got up pretty good,” said Tauchman. “It’s probably the funnest game you can make. You can practice over your chain link fence in the back yard. The options are so limited, so it’s pretty cool. “
Pujols has 668 lifetime homers and is tied with Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and three other Hall of Famers with 12 career walk-off homers, behind Jim Thome’s record 13.
“Albert hit a homer and by chance the guy jumped up and caught him,” said Dodger’s pitcher Walker Buehler. “A tough game for us, but at the end of the day we still feel very good about what we have in this clubhouse.”
LaMonte Wade Jr. scored 10th in the Giants ahead of Kenley Jansen (0-2). Evan Longoria added a double with two runs.
Tyler Rogers (1-0) won the win despite giving up Barnes’ homer. Jarlin Garcia had his first parade since being Marlin’s Minor Leaguer in 2011.
Three times the Giants had an advantage and three times the Dodger was tied. In the end, the Giants won their first win over their NL West rivals in five attempts that season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.