Williamson homers, but laments defense

Williamson homers, but laments defense

CHICAGO -- Perhaps someday, Mac Williamson will savor the two-run homer he launched in Wednesday night's ninth inning, which briefly buoyed the Giants' hopes in their 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

In the immediate aftermath, however, any satisfaction Williamson might have felt after victimizing peerless Cubs reliever Wade Davis was tempered by a self-perceived defensive lapse earlier in the game.

After singling to open Chicago's fifth, Addison Russell sped from first base to third on Miguel Montero's subsequent hit. Williamson made a strong throw to third, but Russell arrived safely. Williamson believed that had he charged Montero's single more aggressively, Russell wouldn't have reached third. And then, Javier Baez's drive to center field would have been an ordinary out instead of a sacrifice fly that helped the Cubs sustain their lead.

"The home run was really cool," Williamson said, "but I think it would have been a lot cooler if I hadn't made that mistake earlier in the game and kind of given them an extra run. ... I was trying to be slow and smooth with it, but then when I saw the replay, I felt like I didn't give it as good of an effort as I should have -- at least gotten to the ball a little quicker."

Did any coach pull Williamson aside to discuss his alleged misplay? "No."

The sheer facts associated with Williamson's homer guarantee the memory of his round-tripper will long survive the recollection of anything he did or didn't do defensively.

Williamson didn't stand tall against an ordinary reliever. He won a 12-pitch showdown against Davis, who didn't yield an earned run in his first 18 appearances this season. Williamson fouled off seven two-strike pitches, a staggering total.

When Williamson deposited a 2-2 pitch into the right-field basket to end the 12-pitch standoff -- a noteworthy experience in itself -- he became the first batter to homer off Davis in 64 1/3 innings.

Williamson also ended the Giants' streak of 19 consecutive solo home runs, dating back to Hunter Pence's two-run clout in the first inning May 8 at New York.

"Obviously, he's been the best in the game this year," Williamson said of Davis. "His numbers speak for themselves. He's got phenomenal stuff. I just have to box and figure I have nothing to lose and try to battle him as tough as I could."

After accomplishing that, Williamson came dangerously close to passing Eduardo Nunez on the basepaths, which would have nullified the homer.

"Nev [third-base coach Phil Nevin] grabbed me and told me to slow down, and then Nunez turned around and yelled at me to slow down," Williamson said (Nunez: "You hit a home run! Jog it!").

This was one juncture where Williamson allowed the joy of the home run to wash over him.

"Obviously, there was a lot of adrenaline flowing there at that point after a long at-bat," he said. "I didn't realize I was that close to [Nunez]. I was kind of blacked out there for a second."

Williamson, who's batting .182, ended an 0-for-15 skid with his long ball.

"At the end of the day, it's about battling and trying to put a good swing on it," he said. "Lately, that's been tough for me to do."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.