By Morris Phillips
The pick-me-up any team needs the day after the “biggest” game of the year was provided by Denard Span on the game’s third pitch.
The Giants’ one remaining, healthy starting outfielder launched one off Chase Anderson, marking the first leadoff splash home run by a Giant in the history of AT&T Park. With so many in the park torn in their attention with the Warriors playing, and McCovey Cove nearly deserted on a blustery, almost bitterly cold night outside the yard, Span’s splash smash didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved.
Except among Span’s teammates, who quickly took fancy to their leadoff man’s cue.
The Giants went on to bash the Brewers, 11-5, an anomaly for a team that seemingly is always caught up in a close, tense, low-scoring ballgame like the ones with the Dodgers over the just completed weekend. All those close ballgames can take a lot out of a club, but not the Giants. While the Dodgers were a bit lackadaisical in their 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks on Monday, the Giants bashed out 14 hits, pulled away with six runs late, and increased their NL West lead to a season-best six games.
Span and Matt Duffy each had three hits, Span and Joe Panik each scored three runs, and all the offense both propped up and overshadowed the return of Matt Cain from the disabled list.
Cain allowed five hits and walked five batters before he was replaced in the fourth, with two runners aboard and the Giants clinging to a 4-2 lead. Afterwards, Cain said what was ultimately most important, that he felt fine physically and will be in line to make his next start, hopefully the precursor to him regaining the form he achieved before he was shelved with a hamstring issue.
Reliever George Kontos replaced Cain and retired the dangerous Ryan Braun to end the inning.
Manager Bruce Bochy then turned to Albert Suarez in what would become a critical, long relief role, as he recorded 11 outs during the period of the game where the Giants pulled away with a run in the sixth, four in the seven, and two more in the eighth.
The Giants have won nine of 11 at home, while the Brewers lost in San Francisco for the seventh time in their last eight appearances.
On Tuesday, the Giants Madison Bumgarner makes his 14th start of the season, the last nine of which have resulted in a San Francisco victory. Bumgarner will be opposed by a familiar opponent, Matt Garza making his season debut.
The 32-year old Garza made six spring training starts but began the season on the disabled list with back issues. After a pair of rehab starts in the minors, the veteran looks to rebound from a subpar 2015 in which he lost a career-worst 14 games.