SAN FRANCISCO — Kyle Harrison brought Giants fans to their feet Monday night as he looked to finish the top of the fifth inning. Many fans cheered and clapped, while others pulled out their phones to document what happened next.
Harrison launched a 95 mph four-seam fastball down the middle; TJ Hopkins swung but to no avail.
The crowd erupted with joy. Harrison celebrated his 10th strikeout of the night with an emphatic fist pump and roar as he headed to the Giants dugout.
The inning might’ve been over, but Harrison’s night was not. He stayed in for a total of 6 1/3 scoreless innings, surrendering only three hits and two walks while striking out an eye-popping 11 batters in the Giants’ 4-1 series-opening win over the Cincinnati Reds.
How about that for a major-league home debut for the Mountain View native?
Harrison, the most anticipated Giants pitching prospect in at least the decade, made his major-league debut last week in front of a hostile crowd in Philadelphia. But Monday night at Oracle Park was special for the De La Salle High School graduate, who grew up going to Giants games with his family and had his parents watch his entire outing from the owner’s seats behind home plate.
Harrison opened the game by striking out the side, using only 15 pitches to get out of the first inning. He aggressively attacked the strike zone over and over again for the next five innings.
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After giving up a double to another East Bay native in College Park alum Christian Encarnacion-Strand and walking TJ Friedl in the top of the six, manager Gabe Kapler decided Harrison’s night was over. The 22-year-old walked off the mound with a poker face, though one can only imagine the excitement that bubbled inside him.
Harrison, who earned his first major-league win, is the first Giants pitcher in 111 years to record 10-or-more strikeouts in his second career start. He’s also the first major-league pitcher to accomplish the feat since Shoehei Ohtani struckout 12 in his second major-league game back in 2018.
Harrison, who remains on a pitch count as the Giants build up his workload, threw a total of 91 pitches (59 strikes), an uptick from last Tuesday when he tossed 65 pitches in 3 1/3 innings.
It helped having a familiar face in Patrick Bailey behind the plate. Bailey and Harrison had come up in the minors together and were linked up for Harrison’s major-league debut last week. On Monday, the two looked like a seasoned tandem.
The Giants bats got hot early, with Wilmer Flores’ hitting a double to send Austin Slater home in the first inning. In the bottom of the third, Bailey swatted a double that allowed Thairo Estrada to score, and Paul DeJong followed it up with a sacrifice fly to right field that allowed J.D. Davis went home and made it a 3-0 game.
The Giants would score once more — with Wade Meckler’s first double of the season sending Joc Pederson through — to seal the win.
The Giants-Reds series will continue Tuesday in San Francisco; first pitch is scheduled for 6:45 p.m.