By Morris Phillips
SAN FRANCISCO–The Giants love to get their most violent, damaging swings in when they see a pitch they can drive. In MLB circles, that’s common knowledge about the club in 2021.
So Rockies starter Austin Gomber knew it, but couldn’t stop it in the Giants’ 12-0 win on Monday.
Before he was lifted in the second inning, Gomber gave up seven, solidly struck hits, walked four, and was charged with nine runs despite recording just five outs. The shortest starting assignment of his career included his most hits (7) and runs allowed (9) as well.
What’s worse for Gomber? He probably didn’t even sense that trouble was brewing. The key piece moving from St. Louis to Denver in the Nolan Arenado trade has been pitching well and cruised into the seventh inning on April 9, allowing three hits and a run, in his only other start at Oracle Park.
“A lot of the hits were just middle of the plate,” Gomber said afterwards. “I think it was more about execution and putting myself in bad counts. They had a good game plan.”
Manager Bud Black intimated that there may have been more to Gomber’s uncharacteristic performance in that the pitcher may have tipped his pitches. But both pitcher and manager agreed they couldn’t say more in that regard without consulting the videotape.
“I think that there were some pitches in the middle of the plate that they squared up,” Black said. “But we’re going to look at some video to see if there was something more to it.”
With the socially-distanced crowd of 4,129 thinned even more by uncomfortable wind and cold, the voices, pitches and bats were audible throughout the park. The Giants’ loud contact off Gomber made an impression. Their breakout performance included three doubles and a two-run homer from Buster Posey off Jhoulys Chacin in the sixth.
Posey knocked in a run in the four-run first inning, and Evan Longoria, in his return to the lineup following a weekend of inactivity due to a hamstring injury, knocked in runs in the first and second innings.
Gomber was lifted trailing 6-0, but two pitches later Mauricio Dubon’s bases-loaded double off Chacin made it 9-0.
“There’s not much to complain about tonight. What’s there to pick apart?” manager Gabe Kapler said. “The guys did a great job.”
Anthony DeSclafani pitched a complete game shutout for the Giants, allowing three hits, one walk while striking out nine. DeSclafani has allowed five earned runs over five starts and 30 innings pitched. His 1.50 ERA is dramatically lower than the 3.28 he posted in 2016 for the Reds, in his previous best season at the major league level.
“I kinda peaked at my pitch count and saw that it was low and I knew I had a chance to finish the game as long as I beared down and didn’t get too lax and tried to continue making pitches,” DeSclafani said.
The Giants have won 13 of 18 after a 2-3 start to match the record of the first-place Dodgers at 15-8. The two clubs don’t meet for the first time until May 21, with the Giants having 21 scheduled games against lesser competition prior to that date.