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Late runs are better than no runs

RBIs from Evan Longoria and J.D. Davis in the 8th and 9th innings lift the Giants past Arizona and keep them within striking distance of a .500 record

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants had runners in scoring position in the 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th and 8th innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon. 12 runners crowded the base paths over the first 7 innings, but Giants bats couldn’t work out a way to cash them in.

After the D-Backs broke the scoring seal in the 5th with an RBI double from Pavin Smith, San Francisco had the opportunity to re-balance the game in following half-inning.

But a lead off double from J.D. Davis followed by a Brandon Crawford single put runners on the corners with 0 outs went belly up after David Villar whiffed on three straight sliders from starter Drey Jameson and Jason Vosler grounded into a double-play.

In the 7th, Ford Proctor earned a batting average with his first career hit, but was stranded at third with the bases loaded after Davis scorched a 104 MPH liner directly at the shortstop.

San Francisco finally broke through in the 8th with a little help from Arizona reliever Luis Frias and backstop Cooper Hummel.

Crawford led off the inning with a single and advanced to 2nd on a curveball that scooted under Hummel’s glove to the backstop. After Villar K’d, Jason Vosler walked and both runners advanced on a yanked fastball that again, skirted under Hummel’s mitt.

After Frias was replaced by former Giant Reyes Moronta, Gabe Kapler elected to pinch hit the 15 year veteran with 1800 + hits for the 2-game, 1 hit rookie.

Sound in logic and execution: Longo pulled a single to left to bring in both Crawford and Vosler.

Davis padded the lead in the 9th with a solo shot off another former Giant Mark Melancon. It was the infielder’s 4th hit and 4th hard hit ball (exit velocity > 95 MPH) of the day.

The security run proved aptly named after Christian Walker doubled off Camilo Doval and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to Mike Yastrzemski.

Scott Alexander and Jarlín García paired up for 2.2 scoreless innings, Jacob Junis took over mound and didn’t leave it until the 9th, surrendering 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 7.

In 3 appearances against Arizona this season, Junis has given up only 3 runs and struck out 16 over 16.2 innings of work.

Though Doval earned his 26th save of the season and grazed 104 MPH for the second time in 3 days, the run he allowed in the 9th was his first of September. The walk issued to Sergio Alcantara was the second of the month.

After striking out Corbin Carroll to end the game and secure the Giants 3-2 win, Doval nearly walked straight into the dugout before veering right to shake Joey Bart’s hand. He seemed disappointed. The run, the walk, and he probably knew Statcast read his cutter to Carroll at 103.9 MPH rather than a true 104. I’d be disappointed too.

The Giants are playing some of their best baseball of the year just in time for a late September push for .500. With 9 games left to play in 2022, San Francisco will have to win 6 of them to secure the coveted 81-81 and achieve winter’s long bliss.

Nirvana is possible. A 6 and 3 record isn’t that crazy on paper especially for a hot team—but we know these Giants and there are no slam dunks or layups in baseball.

They have 3 more games against Colorado in which they are 11-5 on the season. That’s the good news.

The next three are against Arizona and their relationship is a little more complicated. The D-Backs currently lead the season series with a 9-6 record, but both teams have won multiple series and been the brute and the bullied in lopsided games.

The final showdown might come down to how Arizona’s rotation lines up on the calendar. Fingers crossed we can avoid a surging Zac Gallen and Giant slayer Merrill Kelly, but I imagine they’ll probably face at least one of them.

The Quest for Level will more likely than not come down to an away series against the San Diego Padres.

Head to head, the Pads have an 11-5 advantage. A little closer look reveals a much more balanced run deferential of 69-71.

No one needs to be reminded how San Francisco has been burned by San Diego in recent history. If somehow Petco Park crumbles into the bay and the final three games have to be played at Oracle, we’ll know the Giants are in trouble.

Getting to that dubious .500 mark won’t change much in regards to how we feel about this season, but it’d be nice to roll out with a little bit of pride intact.