Rodriguez pitched six and a third scoreless innings with six hits, two walks and five strikeouts. This follows his seven innings of one-run ball last Sunday, and Rodriguez could be making things difficult for the Giants in the battle for the back-end of the rotation.
It wasn’t always easy for Rodriguez, he pitched through traffic in nearly every inning and had to content with a highly inconsistent strike zone. But a couple of mistakes on the basepath helped him stay out of trouble.
In the first inning, after Jake Lamb walked, David Peralta hit the ball to left center field, where it was fumbled by Alen Hanson. Lamb decided to run through the stop sign at third, then changed his mind about twenty feet down the line where he was caught in a rundown and eventually tagged out to end the inning.
Ketel Marte ran into similar trouble in the second inning, overrunning on a hit to center field that was played beautifully by Gorkys Hernández, who threw to Joe Panik to get Marte, who tried to take second.
The Giants offense didn’t have the same woes, thankfully. Three runs scored on solo home runs from Brandon Crawford, Andrew McCutchen and Joe Panik. Crawford’s was a 418 foot shot near the pool in center field, his tenth of the year tying him with Hernández and Longoria.
McCutchen’s was hit nearby, but Panik had the most interesting of the night. It was the home run that was, then wasn’t, then was again as it hit off the top of the wall and bounced back onto the field, but was ruled a homer.
But it was the third inning where the Giants really did their damage, as they nearly batted around (depending on what your definition of “batting around” is). It started with three opposite field singles in a row from Buster Posey, McCutchen and Brandon Belt to load the bases for Crawford, who walked in a run. This brought up Pablo Sandoval who hit a two run single up the middle.
Then Panik scored Crawford on a sacrifice fly that Duane Kuiper called as a homer RIGHT until it was caught by Jarrod Dyson on the warning track. It was a really fun night from the broadcasters.
Six of the Giants’ runs were off the bat of Crawford, Sandoval and Panik, who each had two RBI. Posey and McCutchen each went 3-for-5, and poor Gorkys Hernández went 2-for-4 with nothing to show for it.
Ty Blach replaced Rodriguez in the seventh inning and retired all five of the batters he faced in an inning and two thirds. Then Cory Gearrin entered to pitch the ninth and some people got a little nervous. Not that anyone was assuming he couldn’t hold a seven-run lead, but stranger things have happened. But people needn’t have worried. Though he allowed a hit, he struck out two and got through the inning with little drama.
The Giants have now won all four of their last series and are 18-10 for the month of June, making it their first winning month in two years. Which is still just astounding to think about, but we’ll take it.
They end June four games over .500 and tied with the Dodgers for second place in the division, just 3.5 games behind the Diamondbacks. This series was a make or break for the Giants’ hopes in the division and a sweep would be huge, as the Dodgers are on a three game losing streak. They’ll have the opportunity to try for that sweep tomorrow.