Don’t look at the standings, just play: Giants win, capture series over the Diamondbacks

August 6, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants

AP17218790172387

San Francisco Giants’ Gorkys Hernandez, top, dives safely over Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso on his double during the fifth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. Also pictured is third baseman Jake Lamb (22). (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Don’t even look at the standings. From a Giants-Dodgers’ rivalry standpoint, the view couldn’t be worse from a San Francisco perspective. Consider this, Giants’ fan: the Dodgers have won as many games (43) in their last 50 contests, as the Giants have won all year (112 games prior to Sunday).

Wow.

Given that, keep the perspective on the field, and the Giants looked good there on Sunday, responding quickly to an early deficit, then racing past the Diamondbacks, 6-3. Jeff Samardzija diverted from his heavy strikeout, light walk persona, but still pitched effectively to win his third, consecutive start.

The undesignated company spokesman of the minute, Samardzija gets it. First, he made it clear that trade rumors weren’t for him, he wants to remain with the Giants. Then, he backed it up with wins over the Pirates, A’s and on Sunday, the Diamondbacks. Three straight wins, after the 32-year old pitcher was a loser in 11 of his first 20 starts of the season.

“We have a unique opportunity to get better, and see what some young guys can do,” Samardzija said.  “We want to win ballgames every day. That’s our goal.”

Against Arizona, Samardzija had help in that quest from three of those youngsters in Jarrett Parker, Albert Suarez and Gorkys Hernandez. Hernandez went from mindless to opportunistic in seconds after he doubled in the fifth, and turned the corner looking for three. But by the time Hernandez picked up third base coach Phil Nevin with the stop sign, he was already in no man’s land. But when Daniel Descalso dropped the ball in the run down, Hernandez went over the top of Descalso, which prevented the infielder from grabbing the ball, and got Hernandez back to second base like a gymnast.

“No gymnastics,” Hernandez said with a laugh, when asked if he had a background in tumbling.

Later in the fifth, Nick Hundley’s two-out, two-strike single back through the middle, scored Henandez and Samardzija, increasing the Giants’ lead to 6-2. Hernandez, according to Chronicle beat writer Henry Schulman, the team’s most improved player over the 113 games of this season, could be a dark horse candidate to assume the centerfield job from Denard Span. Hernandez had a double and two runs scored on Sunday.

Parker’s contributions came in two, big slabs, first his two-run homer in the second that gave the Giants their first lead.  And then in the fourth, Parker threw out J.D. Martinez at the plate to maintain the team’s two-run lead. On Saturday, Parker made a nice, sliding catch, and came up with the game-ending base hit in 10th inning. After two rehabs, and three months away from the club, could Parker be making his bid to be the starting left fielder in 2018? Apparently so.

Suarez came on in the seventh, as Bruce Bochy’s third pitcher of that inning, and retired A.J. Pollock to end that frame. Then the usual long man stuck around to get the final, six outs and record his first save. Still ramping it up there in the mid 90’s at the conclusion, Suarez also seems ready for a bigger role. Bochy agreed, but loves Suarez in the role he now fills.

“He saves the bullpen,” Bochy said of Suarez.

The Giants welcome the Cubs on Monday with Matt Moore facing Jake Arrieta at 7:08pm, a slightly earlier start time for the ESPN national broadcast.

 

 

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