This game started off with an earthquake, and it seemed to shake up the Giants offense, as they snapped the Reds’ winning streak with a 10-7 win. Of course, if you have to score 10 runs in order to keep a lead, you’re not going to win a lot of games.
But they won this one! So let’s look at the good stuff first.
The team combined for eight extra-base hits, seven of which were doubles. Brandon Crawford hit a pair of them, up the left and right field lines. Andrew McCutchen also had two doubles, the second of which was his 1,500th career hit.
Good things came in twos tonight, as McCutchen, Buster Posey, Evan Longoria and Crawford each had two hits
Brandon Belt went 3-for-5 on the night with two runs, three RBI, a double, a single, a home run - and he was a foot shy of another one in his first appearance, when he was robbed by Billy Hamilton on the center field wall. The Reds decided to forgo the standard shift for that at-bat, but the shift was on for his next one, where he beat it for a single to left field (and scored on a bases loaded two-run single from Kelby Tomlinson). His solo shot in the 8th inning was the icing on the cake for the offense tonight.
Even Chris Stratton got in on the action, to a degree, laying down a textbook sacrifice bunt in the third inning. It was noted during the game that Bruce Bochy worked extensively with the pitchers today on perfecting the bunt because they have not been contributing on offense. They worked with a pitching machine to get them used to balls thrown at higher speeds than a bullpen pitcher. And the visual was pretty, pretty great:
GIF: Bruce Bochy shows the pitchers how to bunt and my favorite part of this GIF is Bumgarner in the background like “can’t relate” pic.twitter.com/2VaeS3LWJo— Carmen Kiew (@carmenkiew) May 15, 2018
Which is important, because they are going to need to contribute. Though the pitching staff seemed to overperform in April, they have plummeted back down to earth lately. Ten runs is what it’s going to take to have a safe lead at this point, and the pitchers take up approximately three plate-appearances per game. This is an all hands on deck situation.
Aside from Austin Jackson’s 0-for-3 performance, almost every hand was on deck tonight. Gregor Blanco had a hit and a run (though he struck out thrice) and Austin Slater, who replaced him in left late in the game, also had a hit, a run and a walk.
This, unfortunately, means it’s time to talk about the pitching. Whoo. Okay. Chris Stratton actually had one of his better starts since rejoining the team after his brief paternity leave. He pitched about as well as he did in his win in Atlanta, going 5+ innings, with nine hits, four runs, two walks, one strike out and giving up two home runs. I know what you’re thinking and no, that’s not exactly a great line.
However, it’s better than his other two recent starts where he wasn’t able to get out of the fourth inning at best, let alone into the sixth. And he seems to do better when he has a sizable lead he can give up slowly, but not entirely. That’s not the worst winning strategy in history.
He was replaced by Pierce Johnson in the sixth with two runners on. Johnson got out of the jam and Cory Gearrin came in for two mostly clean innings after that, before José Váldez entered to make his Giants debut.
To say it didn’t go well might be an understatement, had the offense not scored ten whole runs. Had they stopped at six or seven, this might be a different conversation, however it was fine. It was all fine. In the end.
Váldez gave up a pair of singles to Hamilton and Jesse Winker, struck out Alex Blandino and José Peraza, and then gave up a home run to former-and-still-somewhat-missed-Giant, Adam Duvall. But like I said, it was fine. It was all fine. I wasn’t rocking back and forth, waiting for the bullpen implosion. No way, I moved past that. That is so 2016. And 2017. And...
Look, the Giants won. And just for good measure, the Warriors won too. And let’s face it, if you’re reading this now it’s probably because you were watching that game. Fair enough, I am not ashamed to admit I was asking Siri the score between every at-bat. But the point is, the Giants are undefeated when they score ten runs while the Warriors win Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Houston. So cheers!