When Donovan Solano stepped into the batter’s box to open up Tuesday’s game between the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres, no one really thought much of it. Just another guy who probably shouldn’t be batting leadoff batting leadoff for the Giants.
On the fifth pitch, he put one into the seats for his first home run of the year. You didn’t know it then, but it was pretty emblematic of the game for the Giants.
In fact, it was pretty emblematic of the last few games.
The Giants beat the San Diego Padres 10-4, and it wasn’t that close. They’re now on a three-game winning streak, and have won four of their last five. In that five-game span they’ve outscored their opponents 42-17.
This is admittedly like finding some loose change while emptying out your totaled vehicle, but the Giants are playing good baseball. Competent baseball. Their best baseball of the season.
Will it last? No, probably not, though crazier things have happened. But it sure is fun. They’re winning games not because of silly baseball with it’s statistical wonkiness, but because they’re simply playing better baseball than their opponents.
Solano was the pace car for the Giants hitting, but Evan Longoria was the fastest car.
In his first at-bat, Longoria smoothly launched his ninth home run of the year. Then, later in the game he one-upped himself.
Petco Park is a beautiful baseball park. If you haven’t been there, I recommend changing that.
Let me describe some of its beauty. Left field is built around the Western Metal Supply Co. building.
If you hit a home run to left field, hey, you hit a home run, you’re doing good things. But just to make things more exciting, there’s a balcony of seating coming out of the building, above the bleachers, for if you really hit a home run. And if that’s not good enough for you, there’s a second balcony above that. If you like things spicy, there’s a third balcony - a fourth row of seating - just to remind you that you’re not that strong.
Evan Longoria is that strong.
That was the type of swing that makes you forget that the Giants have been treading water 10 games below .500. It’s the type of swing that makes you glad you decided to spend your Tuesday watching baseball.
In all, the mid-late part of the order was spectacular. Longoria finished 4-5 with a double, two home runs, and five runs batted in. Kevin Pillar was 4-5 with a pair of doubles. And Austin Slater - fresh of last night’s season debut, which featured a triple and a home run - was 2-3 with two doubles and a walk.
Slater is now hitting .500/.566/1.375 which, on the one hand, is only two games, and on the other hand is really freaking awesome.
This is the Tyler Beede the Giants have been waiting for and hoping for. I don’t know of any better way to put it.
Beede needed a little luck, yes, and he didn’t have a high strikeout total, but he kept the Padres off balance all night. With the exception of a Franmil Reyes home run, San Diego never looked comfortable against the young pitcher.
He went seven innings strong, allowing just four hits and one earned run, while striking out four and earning 12 swing-throughs. At one point he retired 12 consecutive batters.
Most impressive, however, was the walk total: zero.
Beede entered the game allowing 6.7 walks per nine innings. For his career, he’s allowed 7.1. One good start isn’t enough to change the scouting report on him, but it sure was a great start.
The Giants gave their young pitcher a big lead, and it allowed him the freedom to stay in the game and pitch through tough spots. That was aided by this:
Ultimately Reyes Moronta and Derek Holland gave back some of the runs - two and one, respectively - but a win is a win.
San Francisco has won three straight games. They’ve scored 10 or more runs in three straight games. They’ve hit three or more home runs in two straight games. Their starting pitchers have gone at least seven innings in three straight games.