Photo credit: @SFGiants
By Jeremy Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO — After being total dismantled by the Philadelphia Phillies less than three weeks ago, the San Francisco Giants have totally turned the tables through the first two games of this series.
Andrew Suarez went seven innings for the first time in his career, as the Giants shutout the Phillies 2-0 before a crowd of 39,208 at AT&T Park on Saturday night.
Suarez allowed only three hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five, as he won for the second time this season.
“I had a good feel, and Hundo (Nick Hundley) called a great game,” said Suarez.
Suarez was the first Giants pitcher since Ty Blach on May 5th against the Atlanta Braves at Sun Trust Park to go at least 7.0 innings. In that game versus the Braves, Blach went 7.2 innings.
Coupled with Friday’s shutout over the Phillies, this is the first time since September 26, 1963 and May 19, 1964 that the Giants have shut the Phillies out in back-to-back games.
The Giants finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning as Joe Panik doubled off of eventual losing pitcher Vince Velasquez, went to third on a Brandon Crawford and then made a great slide to avoid the Jorge Alfaro tag at home plate on a ball hit by Andrew McCutchen to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. The play was so close that Phillies manager Gabe Kapler challenged the call, and after a 1:35 review, the call stood and the Giants were in the lead.
McCutchen made the play of the night in the top of the third inning, as with Alfaro on third base after he tripled to lead off the inning and then with two outs, Cesar Hernandez hit that was headed for the right-center field alley that would have given the Phillies the lead; however, McCutchen made a great running catch to end the inning.
“Catch everything that you have to rundown,” said McCutchen.
The Giants got an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Panik singled and then went to third on a Brandon Crawford single and scored the all-important second run, as the throw from Odubel Herrera was cut off by Carlos Santana.
Hundley picked up his first multi-hit game since May 2, as he went 2-for-3 on the evening.
Bruce Bochy turned the game over to his bullpen in the eighth inning, and Tony Watson threw just six pitches to retire the side in order. This was the 500th career appearance for Watson, who made his major-league debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 8, 2011 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This was a tough loss for Velasquez, who went five innings, allowing one run on five hits, walking one and striking out nine. In his two starts versus the Giants this season, Velasquez struck out 21 batters.
NOTES: Dereck Rodriguez makes his first major league start on Sunday, as he will face Jake Arrieta, who is 5-2 in his first season with the Phillies. In his career versus the Giants, Arrieta is 1-0 with a 2.84 earned run average.
In his lone appearance as a big leaguer, Rodriguez pitched 3.1 innings, allowing four runs (one earned) and five hits before being forced to leave the game with a shin contusion on his right shin.
Brandon Belt was placed on 10-day disabled list after having an emergency appendectomy on Saturday morning.
“Looks like three weeks or in that area before he will be back,” said Bruce Bochy about the return of Belt.
Alen Hanson returned from his rehab assignment with Single-A San Jose and was activated from the 10-day disabled list.
Hunter Pence also returned from his rehab assignment, and was activated from the 10-day disabled list.
To make room for Pence on the roster, Gregor Blanco was designated for assignment and will be outrighted to Sacramento, where he will report on Tuesday, this according to Bochy.
UP NEXT: The Giants and Phillies conclude their series with a finale on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 pm PST.