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Giants win 6-1 and sweep the Phillies

A solid starting debut from Dereck Rodríguez and big swings from Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey helped the Giants complete the sweep over Philadelphia.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

What a way to get things back on track. After a few bad weeks of tough losses, the Giants have now won their last four in a row, including this sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies who, you might recall, swept them in a four game series early in May.

This series has really made the team look like a competent group of baseball players who know how to play baseball. That might seem like it’s barely a complement, but after watching the last few weeks of this team stumbling around on the field and allowing all of the runs, that is the highest of praise.

Derek Rodríguez made the first major league start of his career and ended up getting the win. He was working with four pitches, including a mid-90s fastball and a gorgeous curveball that averaged in the high 70s. He went six innings, allowed one run on five hits, with two walks and struck out six.

He had two battles with Odúbel Herrera that ended in swing and miss strike outs with his curveball. He then immediately walked Carlos Santana afterwards each time, but quickly induced a double play and a ground out to clean it up.

The one run he allowed came from opposing pitcher Jake Arrieta on a home run that left everyone with flashbacks to the 2016 NLDS. But just like in that game (if not the series) the Giants came back to win.

Arrieta came into the game having allowed only three runs in the month of May, and it showed for much of the game, where he allowed only three hits in five innings that were immediately followed by double plays. However, the Giants rallied for five runs in the sixth inning to end his day.

Gorkys Hernández started things off with a single, after nearly getting hit in the head. Hunter Pence had been on deck, to much fanfare from those who spotted him, but he was pulled back after the single for Alen Hanson, who beat out a slow roller for an infield single (after coming back from a hamstring injury).

Joe Panik singled in Hernández, then Buster Posey singled in Hanson, which set the table for Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen had faced Arrieta 65 times in his career and never hit a home run, the most he’d ever faced a pitcher without doing so. However, Arrieta had gotten complacent and served up a hanging 80 mph curveball to McCutchen who sent it packing just shy of the right field foul pole for a three-run home run to give the Giants a 5-1 lead.

Rodríguez was done for the day after Hanson pinch hit for him, and Mark Melancon came in for the seventh inning to make his first appearance of the year. Melancon struck out the side, mixing up a 90 mph cutter and a curveball for the first and last, and throwing 90 mph fastballs to get the second. It was an incredibly promising start to his season, after many here at this website (who shall remain nameless) insisted he would never pitch in a major league game again.

Will Smith got into a bit of trouble in the eighth inning, with a single and a walk, but got out of the jam with a fly out, strikeout and a pop up caught by Pablo Sandoval that was like the mirror image of the last out of the 2014 World Series.

Hunter Pence finally did get a plate appearance in the bottom of the eighth, to even larger cheers from the crowd, and hit a fly ball that was caught in deep center field against Héctor Neris.

Shortly afterwards, Buster Posey came up to bat. Posey has history with Neris after getting plunked by him in the last game they played against each other in San Francisco last year, one which Posey believed to be intentional. Neris didn’t help matters today, pitching him inside twice, before Posey proceeded to hit his fourth home run of the season. I would say Posey won this exchange. Revenge is a dish best served on a platter down the middle of the plate.

Andrew McCutchen almost repeated for his second of the game, but it bounced off the wall for a double. He then attempted to run home on a Brandon Crawford double, but was out by plenty to end the inning and cut the second rally short at one run.

It was more than they would need, however, as Reyes Moronta came in and pitched a clean ninth inning to end the game.

They didn’t gain any ground in the division, unfortunately, as the Dodgers beat the Rockies and the Diamondbacks beat the Marlins. So things remain the same, with the Giants and Dodgers tied for third place, two and a half games behind the Diamondbacks. But holding on is important, it is the key right now as they await Bumgarner’s debut and the return of Brandon Belt.

And Dereck Rodríguez did that today, with the help of some big swings. And when you get your first major league win, you get a....beer shower in a shopping cart?

I mean, I guess there are worse ways to celebrate. Enjoy it, kid. You earned it.