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Giants use the holy power of home runs to beat the Angels

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Wilmer Flores and Austin Slater both put baseballs in the bleachers.

Los Angeles Angels v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In the bottom of the first inning, with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels tied 0-0, Wilmer Flores stepped to the plate to face Patrick Sandoval. There were two outs. Evan Longoria was on first base, and Austin Slater was on third base.

Flores flied out.

In the bottom of the third inning, with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels tied 0-0, Wilmer Flores stepped to the plate to face Patrick Sandoval. There were two outs. Evan Longoria was on first base, and Austin Slater was on third base.

He did this:

Something something George W. Bush quote about not being fooled twice something something.

No lead feels safe for the Giants these days, so Slater — who had the best seat in the house for Flores’ blast — did the sensible thing and copied his pal in his next at-bat, scoring Brandon Crawford (who had hit yet another double) in the process.

The Giants are averaging 1.5 home runs per home game in 2020, after just 0.77 a year ago. One or two of those might be due to the new park dimensions, and the terrifying — I mean that word literally — weather may be playing a role as well, but the Giants are doing something they’ve rarely done since Barry Bonds retired 10 years too early: they’re hitting for power in San Francisco.

And it’s a joy.

A 5-0 lead felt much more secure, even if the Giants flirted with losing it. The Angels scored a pair of runs in the sixth inning — the only blemish on an otherwise spectacular day from Johnny Cueto — and put the tying run on first base before Caleb Baragar got out of the inning with a gutsy strikeout of Justin Upton.

The Giants got the two runs back in the seventh inning, which felt smart until you realized the score was now 7-2 — the exact same margin that they took into the ninth inning of Friday night’s magical loss to the Oakland A’s.

You held your breath. If you could muster any energy to care about the Giants in the first place that is.

But there would be no blown lead. The Giants didn’t even consider it. Barager pitched a perfect seventh. Tyler Rogers breezed through the heart of the Angels’ order in the eighth, managing to do the nearly impossible and make Mike Trout look flustered.

Tony Watson went three up, three down in the ninth, and just like that the Giants ended the game as they started it: peacefully, and without making you want to break things on your own forehead.

More of that, please.