SAN DIEGO — Yangervis Solarte had an emotional return to baseball a week after losing his wife to cancer.
As he walked to the plate as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the seventh and his San Diego Padres trailing the San Francisco Giants 6-5 Saturday night, he received a nice ovation from the crowd.
Catcher Buster Posey told him, “I’m really sorry for your loss. Just stay strong.”
“I said, ‘Thank you,'” Solarte said through an interpreter. “I really had to control my emotions there.”
Solarte then singled to left and pointed to the sky after rounding first. He advanced on a wild pitch and was replaced by pinch-runner Travis Jankowski, again getting a nice ovation. Jankowski scored the tying run on Manuel Margot’s single, his first big league hit and RBI.
The Padres ended up losing 9-6 in 10 innings.
For Solarte, it was a comforting return to baseball. after losing wife Yuliett, 31.
“In that moment I was going up there just to help the team. At the same time I was thinking about her as I was starting a life without her,” Solarte said. “It was one of those moments just where you have to continue on and play hard.”
Before the game, Solarte thanks the organization for its support. He said his three daughters and his mother had returned with him from Miami.
“We love him,” manager Andy Green said. “Were so happy he got a hit. We didn’t arrange it to pinch run for him on second base, but circumstances aligned to where we could do that, and wanted to do that, to have Travis score the tying run. Get some speed out there. I thought it was pretty fitting
“We thought about leaving him out there. The guy’s had such an emotional toll, you just let him savor that one sweet moment with all he’s been through tin the last week. “
The Giants blew a six-run lead before scoring three times in the 10th inning, including a two-run home run by Denard Span. They pulled even with the New York Mets atop the NL wild-card standings.
Angel Pagan scored the go-ahead run on a fielding error by rookie right fielder Hunter Renfroe with one out in the 10th, followed by Span’s 11th homer, off Kevin Quackenbush (7-7).
The Giants, who had given Madison Bumgarner a 6-0 lead before the left-hander allowed three home runs, pulled into a wild-card tie with the Mets, who lost 10-8 to the Philadelphia Phillies. The St. Louis Cardinals are a half game back after beating the Chicago Cubs 10-4.
Will Smith (2-4) pitched one-third of an inning for the win. Sergio Romo came on with a runner on first and no outs in the 10th. He struck out rookie Manuel Margot and allowed Alexi Amarista’s single before Wil Myers grounded into a game-ending double play for his third save.
The Giants staked Bumgarner to a 6-0 before he allowed the first Padres hit, Renfroe’s first career home run, with two outs in the fourth.
The Padres continued to claw back on Derek Norris’ two-run homer in the fifth, his 14th, and Adam Rosales’ two-run shot with two outs in the sixth, his 12th, that cut the Giants’ lead to 6-5.
San Diego tied the franchise record of 172 home runs (1972).
Bumgarner allowed five runs and four hits in six innings, struck out five and walked one. He also doubled twice and scored one run.
Padres starter Jarred Cosart left with right elbow inflammation after allowing three runs on three hits and two walks in the first inning. Joe Panik hit a two-run single and Pagan had an RBI base hit.
Jose Dominguez then gave up three runs in the fourth, on three hits and a walk. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence each drove in a run on a groundball and Eduardo Nunez hit an RBI single.
Nunez, the Giants’ third baseman, made a terrific play in the second. Catcher Buster Posey lost rookie Carlos Asuaje’s pop foul in the lights. Nunez saw his catcher in trouble and came racing in to make the catch, with his momentum carrying him into the net behind the plate.
Giants: Rookie Ty Blach (0-0, 0.00) will make his first career start on Sunday in place of Johnny Cueto, who left his start Tuesday night with a strained groin.
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (3-3, 2.98) is scheduled to make his eighth start for San Diego and 35th overall.