SAN FRANCISCO – Buster Posey would prefer not to discuss his inflamed right hip, and notes that if it wasn’t the reason he has to skip the All-Star Game it might still be a secret that he needs an injection once the first half wraps up this weekend.
It has affected him hitting and behind the plate.
That’s what made Posey’s game-ending hit all the more impressive.
Posey singled off the right-field wall with two outs in the 13th inning for his fifth career game-ending hit, sending the San Francisco Giants past the Cubs, 5-4, on Wednesday.
“Catchers are a whole different breed,” said rookie Dereck Rodriguez, son of Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez. “They get banged up back there and go like it’s nothing.”
Rodriguez (4-1) pitched three scoreless innings for the win. He also had three of San Francisco’s 16 strikeouts.
Brandon Belt drew a two-out walk from James Norwood (0-1). Andrew McCutchen then singled to bring up Posey, who ended the 4-hour, 30-minute game with San Francisco’s first run since scoring four in the first.
“With two strikes, you’re just kind of in battle mode,” Posey said.
Norwood worked the 12th and 13th in his major league debut. He immediately struck out Brandon Crawford on a 99 mph fastball.
Cubs slugger Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer in his return from the disabled list, and All-Star Javier Baez tied the game with a solo homer in the seventh.
Tony Watson’s scoreless streak at home ended at 202/3 innings with Baez’s 18th homer – and Watson hadn’t allowed a run in 18 innings overall, which had been the longest active streak in baseball.
San Francisco’s Johnny Cueto struck out seven in five innings in his second start back from a lengthy trip to the disabled list with a sprained elbow. The right-hander hasn’t won since April 28.
Cueto was under a careful watch in just his seventh start of 2018 because of two trips to the DL.
Bryant hit his 10th homer in the fifth after a single by Jason Heyward, who homered leading off the third.
Out since June 23 with inflammation in his left shoulder, Bryant rejoined the Cubs from his Double-A rehab assignment. The 2016 NL MVP started at third base before moving to right field in the ninth.
“If I can find a way to hit the ball on the fat part of the bat more often, then I’ll have a lot more home runs,” Bryant said. “It’s as simple as that. It felt good. Unfortunately it was a tough game to lose.”
The Cubs missed a chance when they loaded the bases in the sixth.
Heyward wound up with three hits on a day former Cubs catcher Miguel Montero attended the game to see his old club. Montero, let go by the Nationals after playing only four games this spring, posted on Twitter: “I had always speak my mind and today I have to say I miss this team, let’s go cubs.”
Some of San Francisco’s more unheralded contributors staked Cueto to an early cushion.
Chase D’Arnaud homered to begin the first inning for the Giants, the first leadoff drive of his career. Gorkys Hernandez hit a two-run double before Steven Duggar singled him home.
Cubs starter Mike Montgomery gave up eight hits in five innings. He has never beaten the Giants in three starts.
Brandon Belt thanked the fans, his teammates and San Francisco’s social media crew for the efforts to get him in the All-Star Game even though he lost out to Milwaukee’s Jesus Aguilar in the final vote.
“I was told Russia actually interfered with this election,” Belt quipped.
FLAN ON THE MIC
Former Giants third base coach, current analyst and talented musician Tim Flannery went the distance as the public address announcer while regular Renel Brooks-Moon participated in San Francisco Mayor-Elect London Breed’s inauguration.
Cubs: While RHP reliever Steve Cishek is always willing to work, he was unavailable after working three straight games and 21/3 innings – taking the loss in 11 innings Monday night before earning his third save Tuesday night when Brandon Morrow wasn’t available. ... Jon Lester will start Sunday for the Cubs, putting his availability for the All-Star Game in question. Manager Joe Maddon said he’d leave it up to Lester whether to pitch for the NL squad.
Giants: Posey, who will have an injection in his troublesome right hip after Sunday’s game and sit out the All-Star Game, returned to the lineup after a pinch-hit appearance Tuesday.