Photo credit: @KNBR
By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Thursday, August 15, 2019
PHOENIX — In its quest for a National League Wild Card berth, San Francisco needed a strong start from Dereck Rodriguez, and got one on Thursday night at Chase Field.
The Giants’ offense — Evan Longoria and Austin Slater in particular — gave Rodriguez plenty of support in a 7-0 win over Arizona.
“I felt good, and I just wanted to attack,” Rodriguez said. “I know we’re close to them in the Wild Card and we’ve got a playoff atmosphere here. It was a lot of fun.”
Rodriguez (5-6), called up Thursday from Triple-A Sacramento, struck out four, walked one and scattered three hits in his 11th start of the season. He retired the first 11 Arizona batters until Eduardo Escobar singled to right with two out in the fourth inning.
“He was throwing strikes. We’ve seen him do that before,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Rodriguez, who came into the game with a 5.14 earned run average. “That’s what it was — quality strikes all night. He had all four pitches going and good command of them. He worked both sides of the plate very efficiently too. A great job of pitching.
“He had a very determined look on his face. It’s been an up-and-down year for him. Tonight, he showed what he can do, and we needed it. That was a real shot in the arm for us.”
Rodriguez said he addressed some mechanical issues during his stint with the River Cats.
“I was just trying to get back to what I know I can do — throw strikes,” Rodriguez said. “I notice that when I throw strikes, I’m a different pitcher. It’s just attacking the hitters and the rest takes care of itself. Today, I had a lot of first-pitch swings and a lot of quick outs.”
Longoria was 3-for-5 with a home run and four runs batted in. Slater was 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, Buster Posey was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, and leadoff hitter Donovan Solano singled, doubled and scored twice.
“Evan’s been swinging good. Not just tonight, he’s been getting some good at-bats,” Bochy said. “It looks like he’s got his timing and he’s in synch now.”
The four-game weekend set involves two teams in the thick of the National League Wild Card race. Arizona and the Giants are both 3 ½ games in back of Washington and the Chicago Cubs. Both the D-Backs and Giants must pass Philadelphia, Milwaukee and the New York Mets to catch the Nats or Cubs.
San Francisco has won five of its last seven games, while the Diamondbacks have won seven of their last 12 contests.
San Francisco manufactured a pair of runs in the top of the first inning off D-Backs starter Alex Young. The Giants loaded the bases with a leadoff base hit by Solano, followed by a walk to Slater and an infield hit by Posey.
Posey’s slow roller hit the third base bag, after Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb waited for the ball to possibly roll foul. Longoria singled to left, driving in Solano and Slater.
Kevin Pillar grounded into a force out, moving Posey to third, but he was picked off during Scooter Gennett’s at-bat.
“That (first inning) gave me a lot of confidence,” Rodriguez said. “It gives you a lot of room for error. I felt good, even without those two runs. I’m with it.”
Back-to-back one-out doubles by Slater and Posey put the Giants up 3-0 in the fifth. Longoria followed with his 15th home run of the season, scoring Posey.
Belt’s RBI double, drove in Joey Rickard (who walked) to score the sixth Giants run in the sixth. In the eighth, Solano doubled and scored on Slater’s base hit, putting the Giants up 7-0.
Fernando Abad, whose contract was selected Thursday from Sacramento, threw a scoreless ninth inning for the Giants. It was his first MLB appearance since 2017 with Boston.
San Francisco has yet to name a starting pitcher for Friday. Arizona will go with right-hander Merrill Kelly (8-12, 4.75 ERA).
GIANT JOTTINGS: Following Thursday’s game, along with recalling Rodriguez, the Giants optioned LHP Williams Jerez and C Aramis Garcia to Triple-A Sacramento. To make room for LHP Fernando Abad on the 40-man roster, San Francisco designated RHP Kyle Barraclough for assignment. … Game time temperatures: outside – 107 degrees, inside – 77. … Attendance: 19,037.
TAGS: San Francisco Giants, Dereck Rodriguez, Evan Longoria, Austin Slater, Arizona Diamondbacks, NL Wild Card