The newest San Francisco Giant Kris Bryant is all smiles in the Giants dugout after hitting a third inning home run against the Houston Astros on Sun Aug 1, 2021 at Oracle Park in San Francisco (AP News photo)
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN FRANCISCO–Kris Bryant was jokingly asked before the game if he felt pressure to hit a home run in his debut game for his new team since two of his former Chicago Cubs teammates had done the day before for their respective new clubs.
If he did, you wouldn’t have known as the newly acquired Giant, hit a solo home run in his second at bat to help The San Francisco Giants beat the Houston Astros 5-3 in the rubber match of the three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Park.
San Francisco took two out of three from Houston and went 5-4 on its nine-game homestand, 4-2 in the last six games. They remained three games ahead of Los Angeles and six and a half games up on San Diego in the National League West. Houston has lost two in a row and lead Oakland by four and half games in the American League West.
“I think it says we’re steady”, Giants manager Gabe Kapler said after his team won the past two series against contending teams. “We’re not going to let one day, spill into the next. But I also think the confidence is growing. And I think we’ve played well against some of the best teams in baseball.”
Bryant finished the game going 1-4 with the home run and RBI. He also made an errant throw to first base on a Martin Maldonado ground ball to third base in the fifth inning.
Bryant, who started at third base for Kapler, ignited the two-out three-run third inning for San Francisco with his 19th home run of the season. Brandon Crawford singled in Mike Yaztrzemski to tie the game at 2-2.
“I feel giddy”, said Bryant after his first game with his new team. “It felt like Christmas morning honestly. It’s really cool to be part of it and experience it first hand”
Darin Ruff who went 3-4 with a HR and three RBI, just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, ended up upstaging his new teammate. His RBI single in the third inning gave the Giants the lead they wouldn’t relinquish. His two-run homer in the fifth inning gave San Francisco all the runs they would need on the sunny afternoon.
“Today in particular, I focused on not missing a fastball (thrown at me). Luckily, I was on time and ran into some good pitches, you know squaring them up pretty well. Overall for the series I don’t know maybe a little bit more aggressive. You gotta find some holes out there and get lucky sometimes. I fell into a good rhythm,” Ruff said.
Ruff feasted on Astros pitching over the weekend going 6-13 (.461) with a home run, 5 RBI and four runs scored.
Logan Webb started the series finale for San Francisco (66-39). He pitch a strong 6 plus innings giving up only two earned runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking one batter. Webb settled down after the first inning when he gave up a two-run home run to Yuli Gurriel.
“We wanted to stay with the same game plan”, said Webb. “Keep attacking those guys. They got some hits but (when) you keep them to singles, I’ll take that all day.”
Astros starter Luis Garcia went four and two-thirds innings giving up five earned runs on eight hits, striking out seven and walking two batters.
Houston (64-42) scored a run in the eighth inning off of Tyler Rogers when Kyle Tucker hit into a 1-6-3 double play.
Jake McGee came in and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his 23rd save of the season.
GAME NOTES: The Giants left six runners on base. Houston stranded seven.
To make room for Bryant on the 26-man roster, the Giants optioned infielder Jason Vosler down to Triple-A Sacramento.
Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo became the first trio in MLB history to all homer in the debuts for their new teams.
The Giants home record of 35-17 is the best in MLB and their day game record is now 26-14 (4th best in MLB).
UP NEXT: The Giants began a seven-game road trip when the travel out Arizona to begin a four-games series with the Diamondback on Monday 8/2 at 6:40pm at Chase Field.