SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The fog machine, strobe lights and blaring music in the clubhouse tell the story of San Francisco’s winning midseason vibe after all those months of losing when contending seemed so far out of the question.
Joe Panik hit a go-ahead double with two outs in a three-run eighth inning, and the Giants continued their winning ways since the All-Star break by rallying past the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Monday night.
Austin Slater doubled home the tying run, and Brandon Crawford hit an RBI single to help key the late comeback against Pedro Strop (2-4) as surprising San Francisco (51-50) won for the ninth time in 10 games and 16th in 19.
“When you’re playing for the playoff race, every 90 feet matters, every game matters,” Panik said. “We’re playing our best baseball right now. There’s something about this team. We’re a collective group. It’s not just one guy doing it all.”
Robel Garcia and Kyle Schwarber each hit a solo homer for the Cubs, who couldn’t hold a 4-2 lead in the eighth.
Anthony Rizzo had delivered an insurance run with an RBI double in the eighth before the Giants answered.
This series features two of the best clubs so far in the second half, and the Giants won for just the fourth time all year when trailing after seven innings.
“Once you’ve done it, it gives you confidence you can do it. You’re always in the game,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That usually is what has to happen, you have to do it once or twice, then the confidence grows in there and they know, hey, we can come back against any deficit, and against good pitching. That’s a mindset that can be changed with a little success.”
Garcia splashed a home run into McCovey Cove beyond the right field arcade in the second for the Cubs’ first hit. It marked the 48th splash hit by a Giants opponent and 126th overall, with home run king Barry Bonds accounting for 35 of those.
Schwarber connected for his 22nd homer with two outs in the third.
Drew Pomeranz pitched two perfect innings with four strikeouts in relief for the Giants, then Trevor Gott (7-0) worked the eighth. Sam Dyson finished for his second save, but issued a two-out walk and Addison Russell’s single to make it interesting until the final out. Schwarber popped up to end it.
“We played well. Strop had a tough inning, that’s it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
The Giants stranded the potential tying run at third in the fifth. Kyle Ryan relieved Cubs starter Alec Mills — still seeking his first career victory in 12 total appearances and four starts dating to 2016 — with one out and induced Pablo Sandoval’s inning-ending double play after Mike Yastrzemski’s RBI single. San Francisco missed another chance in the seventh.
Mills allowed two runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked one in his first career road start and second outing for Chicago.
Right-hander Shaun Anderson, the Giants’ top pitching prospect making his 13th career start, struck out five and walked two over five innings. He allowed three runs and three hits.
The Cubs have lost nine of 13 in San Francisco and are trying for their first winning road series since taking two of three at Washington from May 17-19.
Giants: 3B Evan Longoria took grounders balls for the first time as he works back from plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He also is doing one-arm drills throwing and playing catch. ... LF Alex Dickerson (back tightness) was available off the bench with the hopes he will be back in the starting lineup Tuesday night. ... Bochy planned to stay away from closer Will Smith after he pitched six of the previous 10 days, so Dyson filled those duties in the ninth.
RHP Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.46 ERA) pitches for Chicago in his second career start vs. San Francisco, having worked six scoreless innings in each of his past two outings. The Giants send LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-7, 3.65) to the mound with his future on the club still uncertain ahead of the trade deadline next week. Bumgarner went nine innings in last Thursday’s 16-inning win against the Mets.