After mustering just 9 runs during their three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants nearly matched that in a single outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks, registering 8 runs in a lopsided affair.
I wrote before the game that the Giants had a chance to recover in Arizona before getting back to business with the Dodgers. It turns out they had just sent their bats to Phoenix before welcoming LA to town. Not the shrewdest move, but hey ... what’s past is past, and now we just get to enjoy the return of good Giants hitting.
Of course, the Giants might not have actually displayed better hitting against the DBacks than they did against the Dodgers. It might just be that Trevor Bauer, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urías are better than a pitcher carrying a 5.55 ERA into his seventh career start. It could be that Chase Field is a friendlier place for position players than Oracle Park is. Perhaps playing a team on an eight-game losing skid is easier than one on a four-game winning streak.
But you can only play the team in front of you. And while we’ll all have to painfully confront that reality come Thursday, for now it’s comforting.
The Giants jumped all over Corbin Martin. It’s not often that I feel very confident entering a game that the Giants will win — baseball does not exactly inspire confidence — but that’s how I felt prior to Tuesday’s game. The Giants were sending their ace to the mound and were being countered by a young player with a habit of allowing walks — a disastrous recipe when facing this Giants team.
And indeed, the Giants got to work immediately. Mike Yastrzemski singled to open the game, then Buster Posey was retired on solid contact. Then Alex Dickerson was retired on exceptionally hard contact. Then Brandon Belt drew a walk and Evan Longoria took four straight balls.
The game felt over, to be honest. The Giants hadn’t scored yet, and it would not have been particularly aggravating if they didn’t score that inning. Every pitch felt like a battle for Martin, and the Giants were letting him pile up the balls before jumping on the right pitch and smacking it. It felt inevitable that they would crack through eventually.
They cracked through immediately. Brandon Crawford worked a long at bat, and on the ninth pitch gapped one to send everybody rounding third.
I don’t have the stats in front of me, but I feel confident that most teams win when they send their starting pitcher to the mound for the first inning with a lead that’s significantly bigger than that pitcher’s ERA.
But the Giants were far from finished. Two innings later, Evan Longoria also went for the three ribeye special, only his came with just two runners on.
Longo started the season hot, then rapidly cooled off, and has been gaining steam again. Games like this help, as he had three hits, a walk, and three legs of the cycle. He added another RBI later in the game with a strong double.
Speaking of doubles, Dickerson had one on one of the funniest poor routes you’ll ever see, but I sadly can’t find the video. He later added a triple because why not? It’s fun watching him run.
On the other end, the Giants recorded their eighth shutout of the year, which is ... wait for it ... eight more than they had last year. It also matches their 2019 total. They’ve played 48 games.
Kevin Gausman was obviously the biggest part of it, though it was a funny game for him. He struck out 9 of the 22 batters he faced, and worked a majestic 21 swings and misses. He also pitched only five innings because his pitch count (97) had gotten so high. Still, better to throw a few innings brilliantly than a lot of innings poorly.
Jarlin García had a pair of strong relief innings before José Álvarez and Sam Selman closed the door on an 8-0 win.
The only thing that can taint a win like that is an injury, and Belt left the game after appearing to re-aggravate his side on a swing. The team is optimistic that it’s nothing serious but we’ll have to wait and see.
Kapler doesn't want to start making plans for Brandon Belt's absence. The side issue is similar to what he felt last week and there's a hope that he won't miss significant time.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) May 26, 2021
One more in Arizona, then it’s a short trip west for four more against the Dodgers.