Sunday’s game between the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks was quite similar to Saturday’s. It was a pitcher’s duel for quite long time, with neither team able to do much offensive damage. The Giants took a 1-0 lead, then the Diamondbacks tied it 1-1. And then, as soon as the game was tied, the Giants offense caught fire.
The difference was that Sunday’s offense came from the Giants bats, instead of their eyes.
A day after the Giants drew 8 walks, including a pair with the bases loaded, they found the long ball once again.
In the bottom of the sixth, with Arizona pitcher Luke Weaver trying to secure a shutdown inning after his offense finally tied things up, he ran into the birthday boy: Mike Yastrzemski.
It's his birthday but he gave US a present.— SFGiants (@SFGiants) August 23, 2020
@mikeyaz18 | #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/RV7cSrnHHP
They say that hitters don’t hit home runs, but rather that pitchers throw them. But that was emphatically a hitter hitting a home run, and not just in the literal sense. A biting, sinking pitch, below the zone and on the outside of the plate, hit over the center field wall at Oracle Park? Not much you can do as a pitcher but tip your cap.
I don’t know where that home run ranks on the list of all-time 30th birthday achievements, but it’s certainly higher on the list than what I did on my 30th birthday, which was ..... write about Mike Yastrzemski, if memory serves me correctly.
It didn’t feel like a 2-1 lead was enough, though it would have been, assuming no baseball butterfly effect shenanigans. But just in case, Alex Dickerson spent the seventh inning giving us reason to yell phallic chants at the top of our lungs in the middle of the day.
Thank you, Alex. Sorry, neighbors.
1⃣ swing, 3⃣ runs— SFGiants (@SFGiants) August 23, 2020
And so, as they have shockingly done for much of the year, the Giants used the power of the home run to get the offense going, though those dingers were bookended by Brandon Belt crossing home (on an Evan Longoria double in the fifth, and a Pablo Sandoval single in the eighth), which made the final score 6-1.
I don’t know why the Giants decided to start hitting home runs this year, but I support it.
A day after Tyler Anderson was sensational (which came a day after Logan Webb was sensational), Trevor Cahill was ... wait for it ... sensational. He had to leave in the sixth inning, since he’s still building his arm strength up after beginning the year on the IL, but he struck out 8 while allowing just 1 hit, 2 walks, and 1 run in 5.1 innings.
The Giants offense has been shockingly good this year, and if their pitching can even approach adequacy they can make noise. Against Arizona, this was what the starting pitchers did:
21.1 innings, 9 hits, 2 walks, 4 runs, 3 earned runs, 20 strikeouts.
That allowed the Giants to be more selective with their bullpen usage, which in turn allowed the bullpen to perform brilliantly: they gave up no runs during the series.
I like that formula.
Joey Bart played in his fourth career game, and enjoyed his third start. It was the first time in his career that he didn’t hit a double, but he did have a single, giving him a four-game hitting streak to start his career.
And he had the defensive highlight of the game:
Run, catch, and roll.— SFGiants (@SFGiants) August 23, 2020
@JBart9GT | #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/SiHm0PrvG8
Even if the Giants hadn’t put together a six-game winning streak, they’d be worth watching every day just for Bart.
A few notes:
- Belt had a three-hit day, with a pair of doubles.
- Sandoval had a two-hit day.
- The Giants didn’t use their bullpen on Saturday, and won’t use it on Monday with an off day. So they could use their relievers however they wanted on Sunday, which gave us a pretty good chance to see who they’re feeling right now. They used, in order, Caleb Baragar, Tony Watson, Tyler Rogers, and Jarlin Garcia. And they all did well.
- After falling to 8-16, the Giants enter the halfway mark at just 14-16. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
- That’s six in a row, if I hadn’t mentioned it.