Giant Wish: Can SF get hot, catch the Brewers and either the Phillies or Padres?

By Morris Phillips

What the Giants need to happen, didn’t happen tonight.

At Citizen’s Bank, Nick Castellanos and Bryson Stott hit majestic home runs and Noah Syndergaard improved to 3-0 following his trade to Philadelphia as the Phillies beat the Reds, 4-1.

That means the Giants will take the field in Detroit on Tuesday needing to make up 6 1/2 games on either the Phillies or the Padres, and 5 games on the Brewers in their final 41 games to qualify for the post-season.

After winning on Sunday against the Rockies, 9-8 in 11 innings, they seem up for the challenge.

“There are still signs of life in here,” said Evan Longoria, after his grand slam and game-ending catch and tag play highlighted his best performance of the season.

“We’ve been really streaky. We win five, we lose five, you know what I mean?” Jakob Junis said. “Anyway to shorten those losing streaks and get back on track… I think going into the off day, especially, losing this game would’ve been really tough. Thankfully we pulled it out.”

The Giants (60-61) were headed in the right direction with five straight wins, but followed them with four, consecutive losses. Rollercoaster rhythm won’t close the gap.

The biggest positive for the Giants is the three clubs they’re chasing haven’t run and hid, and they only have to catch two of them. There aren’t any other moving parts. For a wild card chase, the small number of contending clubs is rare.

With the NL playoffs incorporating six teams for the first time, we’ll say 87 wins is the mininum the Giants need to have a realistic chance. But it’s never just that, it’s posting a dominant record in the head-to-head match-ups, and there are 11 of those.

That points us to the home stand beginning a week from tonight: three against the Padres (68-56), followed by the three against the Phillies (67-55). The Giants also visit Milwaukee for two on September 8, an oddly-placed doubleheader that is preceded by a series in Los Angeles and followed by a trip to Chicago with no travel days.

Survive all that and just maybe the Giants remain mathematically alive for the season’s final series: three with the Padres at Oracle Park.

Daunting? You bet. This theoretical challenge requires a 27-14 finish, and it’s got to be the right 27 wins against the critical opponents.

Baseball-reference numbers don’t usually favor unlikelihoods. That’s the case here, the baseball historical and statistical website says the Giants have just a 3.2 percent chance of running this gauntlet.

What aspects provide hope for the Giants? The Phillies lost seven of 10 before beating the Reds on Monday. The Padres have nine games remaining with the Dodgers, who have their foot on the gas despite an insurmountable 18 game lead in the NL West. And the Brewers (65-56) have a weird spirit enveloping them in the wake of the unpopular trade of closer Josh Hader to San Diego.

Carlos Rodon is nearing career bests in starts (24 so far, 28 his personal best), wins (11,13), innings pitched (140.1, 165) and of course, strikeouts (179, 185). The strikeout mark could be eclipsed Tuesday night at Comerica Park in Rodon’s matchup with the Tigers’ Drew Hutchison.

Bum Bashed: Giants take advantage of their Series hero in 6-1 win over Arizona

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Madison Bumgarner competed “mad” as always, but he didn’t have the substance to match his familiar style.

The Giants did, winning 6-1 over the Diamondbacks and wearing down Bumgarner in the process.

The 2014 World Series hero cruised through the first three innings but ran into adversity in the fourth when J.D. Davis doubled and Evan Longoria homered for a 2-0 Giants’ lead.

Joey Bart, swinging a hot bat for the first time in his big league career, doubled in the fifth ahead of Austin Slater’s RBI single. That increased the lead to 3-0 and the Giants added three more in the sixth to chase Bumgarner, who exited to extended applause.

Bart’s two-run single highlighted the final rally, and stood as the biggest piece of his three-hit night. The young catcher has a seven-game hit streak for the first time, and after his hitting struggles needed to be rectified at Triple-A Sacramento.

“What it means is we have a threat at the bottom of the lineup, somebody that can drive the baseball, keep the line moving and is really grinding out at-bats right now,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but now it’s starting to get a little consistent. It’s very encouraging.”

Alex Cobb survived a lengthy first inning by striking out Carson Kelly with the bases loaded. Cobb went on to throw six innings, winning for the fourth time with a Christian Walker home run as his only blemish.

The Padres were blanked in Miami allowing the Giants to gain ground in the wild card chase. With 47 games remaining, the Giants are 5 1/2 games behind San Diego, and 3 1/2 behind Milwaukee. The Brewers were shut out at home by the Dodgers on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Giants face 10-game winner Merrill Kelly, who already has a win over them this season. Jakob Junis will start for the Giants, another chance for Junis to regain his early-season form.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Daniel Dullum: Longoria hasn’t decided on retirement yet; Giants open 3 game series with White Sox Friday

San Francisco Giants hitter Evan Longoria swings for an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco against the Detroit Tigers on Tue Jun 28, 2022 (AP News photo)

On the San Francisco Giants podcast with Daniel:

#1 San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan Longoria has given retirement the long and thoughtful process. Longoria has said that he has his good days and and his bad days but has not decided there is little doubt he’s still able to produce.

#2 Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and suffering several injuries including a recent finger surgery Longoria has said about retirement that he hasn’t made up his mind and is hitting .256, 30 hits, 8 home runs, and 18 RBIs and hit a home run on Wednesday and can still produce.

#3 Daniel if Longoria hangs it up he’s had quite a resume winning the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year, three All Star games, three Gold Gloves, participated in one World Series.

#4 Longoria also said that being away from his family is a huge factor. Longoria said the last three seasons have been his toughest. Suffering the injuries, the pandemic and is playing the final year of his six year $100 million contract. Longoria who lives in Arizona said that if he continued to play it would have to be a deal that makes sense for his family.

#5 The Giants open up a three game series Friday night against the Tony LaRussa and the Chicago White Sox. Lance Lynn (1-1, 6.19) gets the call for the Sox and he’ll be opposed by the Giants starter Alex Cobb (3-3, 5.48) a 7:15 pm PDT first pitch

Daniel does the San Francisco Giants podcasts Fridays at

Home Run Giants: Long ball propels SF past the Phillies, 5-4 in 10 innings

By Morris Phillips

The part of the Giants’ season where Evan Longoria hits the ball over the fence everyday is starting to gain some appeal.

Longoria’s ninth inning home run gave the Giants the lead for the first time all afternoon and they went on to beat the Phillies 5-4 in 10 innings at Citizens Bank Park on Memorial Day.

Manager Gabe Kapler suspended his National Anthem protest for a day, as the pressing issues for both clubs took center stage.

“While I believe strongly in the right to protest and the importance of doing so, I also believe strongly in honoring and mourning our country’s service men and women who fought and died for that right,” Kapler wrote in a statement issued before the game.

The Phillies came up short in the late innings for the second straight day, ratcheting up the pressure on manager Joe Girardi, who has seen his club drop 11 of their last 15 games. Longoria’s home run off Corey Knebel, then Curt Casali’s two-run homer off Andrew Bellatti in the tenth had the familiar Philly boo birds in full effect.

“Everyone in that room and in this room has gone through tough times in your life and you get to the other side,” Girardi said. “Otherwise, you wouldn’t be in this room.”

The Giants’ rough times continued the first two days in Cincinnati, but Longoria’s exploits have the club on a modest two-game win streak after losses in 16 of their previous 27 games.

Longoria started the season on the injured list to recover from a surgically repaired finger. He made his debut on May 11 and went his first 11 appearances without a home run. But he’s homered five times in the last five games, with Giants winning three of the five.

Casali credited his home run to Giants’ starter Logan Webb, who had his very best stuff marred by a trio of home runs, including Kyle Schwarber’s that pushed the game to extras.

“I didn’t care who did it, honestly. You want to win every game, but I wanted to win that game so bad,” said Casali. “Just what (Webb) did and being able to come out for the ninth and have that heartbreak ending to his day. Man, he pitched well today. That’s vintage Logan Webb. He had everything going.”

Webb pitched eight plus allowing four hits and the three, solo homers. What stood out for Webb was his 10 strikeouts, no walks and a bundle of swings and misses.

“I had thrown the first eight,” Webb said. “We were up, and I wanted to win. It sucks I couldn’t finish it.”

Philadelphia’s Ranger Suarez and Jakob Junis are the announced pitchers for Tuesday’s second game of the series.

Start Fast, Make It Last: Two innings of fireworks carry the Giants past the Mets, 9-3

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–This Giant lead didn’t precede one of the most confounding, wildest finishes a baseball imagination could conjure up. This giant lead–9-0 Giants after two innings–led seamlessly to a satisfying end to the home stand for a team trying to navigate successfully despite numerous personnel issues.

Mets rookie Thomas Szapucki was the undisputed victim in seeing four of his 49 pitches leave the park, all with 100 mph plus velocities. Evan Longoria was the biggest beneficiary with his first two homers of the season. The Giants survived on Tuesday, winning 12-11 to end a five-game skid. On Wednesday, they built a win streak powered by their early, rapid-fire home runs.

“I knew it was going to take a little bit of time to settle in,” Longoria said. “I was hoping it would happen sooner and quicker, but it’s a long season. I’ve been making some hard contact that hasn’t landed, so just trying to build off those at-bats and keep moving forward.”

Longoria’s three-run blast in the first comfortably cleared the center field wall, and was followed in short order by Joc Pederson’s two-run shot that was his fourth big blast in less than 24 hours.

The second inning went straight to fireworks with Wilmer Flores’ RBI double followed by back-to-back shots by Yastrzemski and Longoria. Longoria’s ended Szapucki’s afternoon, and peculiarly ended the Giants’ offense for the day.

Jakob Junis pitched six innings for the Giants, allowing three hits and single runs in the second and sixth. Junis, thought to be a stop gap has instead been a rock, throwing at least five innings in all six of his starts.

“If he does nothing else, he’s already helped us win several baseball games,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Junis. “I think we envisioned that he would come up and make very important starts for us. So he’s doing what we expected him to do, but he’s done it in a more sustained fashion.”

The Giants played without Brandon Crawford, who got a much-deserved day of rest. They are still without Brandon Belt, LaMonte Wade Jr., Austin Slater, Curt Casali and Steven Duggar making the win and the salvaged home stand that much sweeter.

“It’s huge,” Pederson said. “We built on the momentum from last night. That’s a World Series-caliber team.”

The Giants open a nine-game trip in Cincinnati on Friday night with first pitch 3:40 pm PDT. Carlos Rodon (4-3, 3.43) will pitch in that one while Cincinnati hasn’t yet announced a starter.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: Longoria to miss six weeks from finger surgery; Can Bart step up to fill Posey’s shoes?

San Francisco Giant third baseman Evan Longoria will be on the injured list for six weeks had surgery on his right index finger on Tue Mar 29, 2022. Longoria is seen here at Oracle Park on Fri Apr 8, 2022 (file photo NBC Bay Area)

On the Giants podcast with Michael:

#1 Michael, San Francisco Giant third baseman Evan Longoria had surgery on Tuesday for his right index finger. Longoria was hit while at bat last August and needed surgery. Talk about the impact of not having Longoria in the line up for the club?

#2 Longoria has been taking batting practice against Giant pitchers at Scottsdale’s backfield on Tuesday had to have surgery and will be out for six weeks.

#3 Longoria didn’t have the surgery right after he was hit on the hand after Met’s pitcher Edwin Diaz hit him in August. Longoria said that he and the doctors thought that the hand would heal by March and that Longoria could avoid surgery but that didn’t happen hence the Tuesday surgery this week.

#4 On LeMonte Wade Jr is suffering from bone bruising and inflammation in his left knee after a MRI on Tuesday Wade said that he was feeling a little better. Wade hurt his knee when running the bases on Monday.

#5 Michael, Giants catcher Joey Bart is looked at the as the next man up to replace retired catcher Buster Posey. Giant pitcher Carlos Rondon says that Bart has a good head on his shoulders and has a good mindset. Can Bart get there?

Join Michael for the Giants podcasts each Thursday at

Longo Takes Scherzer Out And It Stands Up!: Giants take Game 3 of epic, LA-SF showdown

San Francisco Giant hitter Evan Longoria swings for the game’s only run in the top of the fifth inning for the Giants second win of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles on Mon Oct 11, 2021 (AP New photo)

By Morris Phillips

On an unusually windy night in Los Angeles, pitching ruled the evening in Game 3 of the NLDS. Heaters, thrown by numerous pitchers, darted, dashed and overwhelmed hitters, especially up in the strike zone. Those that were hit all came to rest near the warning track in a subdued Dodger Stadium.

Only one man on either team stood up: Evan Longoria.

“I didn’t want to get beat by another fastball,” Longoria said of his fifth inning confrontation with the incomparable Max Scherzer.

He didn’t. Scherzer threw an 0-2 fastball that grabbed too much of the plate, and Longoria launched it… 407 feet into the left field bleachers. Incredibly, that one run stood up in a 1-0 Giants’ win that has them one victory from taking the series with Game 4 in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and a potential, winner-take-all Game 5 in San Francisco on Thursday. There were 20 strikeouts in the game (14 suffered by San Francisco hitters), only one extra-base hit (Longoria’s) and after the Giants’ third baseman gave the Giants the lead, they never saw the base paths again: the last 15 Giants’ hitters were retired, most without a fuss.

So what had to happen for the NL West champions, did. Giants’ pitchers–starter Alex Wood and relievers Tyler Rogers, Jake McGee and 24-year old Camilo Doval–ruled the evening, shutting down the Dodgers for nine innings, despite some base traffic, and quite a few anxious moments.

Scherzer, who was previously foiled by the Giants in the 2012 World Series, was great again. The surefire Hall of Famer went seven, striking out ten, and walking one, but he couldn’t corral Longoria in the fifth. That one pitch unraveled his whole evening.

“He’s just a professional hitter who has done it very successfully for a very long time,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Longoria.

In the manner that Kapler has employed all season, his team switched roles and convention on the fly. Closer McGee, who had 31 saves this season, but was only pitching for the second time in a month on Monday due to an oblique injury, came on in the seventh in a big spot. With two runners on, McGee struck out Austin Barnes on three pitches, and got Mookie Betts to line out to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who climbed an imaginary wire to make the catch.

Doval, the closer of the moment, then came on to shut the door in the eight and ninth, needing just 22 pitches to retire the side in each inning, and give the Giants the win.

Bucking convention? Sure, but it all made sense, really. McGee was the NL Reliever of the Month in July, and Doval–sensational in 14 1/3 scoreless innings with 20 strikeouts–was the NL Reliever of the Month in September. In a bullpen filled with high-leverage arms, Kapler sensed the shift, and followed his instinct. In both Giants’ wins in the series, Doval was the one to close it, despite only having 29 appearances–all this season–in his career.

Wood, the former Dodger who still participates in fantasy football leagues with his ex-teammates, wasn’t looking around for familiar faces on Monday. He too was fantastic, working through situations and lengthy innings that drove his pitch count up. He pitched into the fifth inning, allowing just two base hits and no walks.

Fly balls populated the outfield throughout as everyone in the park, and watching at home, learned to train their eyes on the sold-out bleachers, and watch the reaction of the fans seated there. Every time, with the exception of Longo’s blast, there was no reaction. The fans in the outfield–and their inactivity–told the story. The final blow from Gavin Lux off Doval may have been the most threating, but it too found a home… in center fielder Steven Duggar’s glove.

“I think any other night, the (Chris Taylor) ball and the Gavin Lux ball would have been home runs,” Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts said.

The Giants have the best record in MLB, It’s June. How long can it continue?

By Morris Phillips

Who saw this coming?

The Giants (37-22) have the best record in MLB, the most road wins of any National League Club by a clear margin, and they’re atop the standings in the most challenging division in baseball, despite the heavy presence of the World Champion Dodgers and the loaded San Diego Padres.

They also have a boatload of injuries, a gaping hole in their rotation, and a clear need for bullpen upgrades that dates back to the season’s inception and spring training. So what do they do to keep this freight train moving?

Well, cross their fingers for one. The latest news is the toughest, as Evan Longoria has landed on the disabled list and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a shoulder sprain after his collision with Brandon Crawford on Saturday. Manager Gabe Kapler acknowledged this may be more than just “next man up” with Longo’s absence.

“He was swinging the bat very well,” Kapler said. “He was very patient at the plate, playing great defense. He’s one of the core pieces and leaders on this club. It’s going to be a major challenge to fill his shoes. I’m not sure we’re going to have anybody step right in and do what he was doing. At the same time, we have to turn the page and get ready to compete.”

So there you go from Kapler’s words: take a deep breath, and get ready to compete on Tuesday at Arlington, Texas against the Rangers. All the blanks will be filled in prior to first pitch.

Good news? The Giants next to opponents are struggling. The Rangers are on pace to lose 100 games, and the Nationals have seen injuries and poor play land them near the bottom of the NL East. In the absence of any assurances, the Giants approach will be to take advantage of those two first. Helping that cause, first baseman Brandon Belt is expected to come off the injured list and resume his spot at first base during the week long trip.

The methodology stays the same: the Giants have hit 85 home runs in 59 games, second best in baseball, and they’ve made those homers count by maintaining a 3.30 ERA that’s kept their games close, low scoring and prime to be affected by a timely home run or two.

Yes, one or two. The Giants just ended a stretch over the weekend in which they hit multiple home runs in eight of nine games. The first six games established a stretch that hadn’t been done since 2001, when Barry Bonds was resetting the season-long home run market with a record 73. Also, the team batting average which was abysmal earlier has ascended to .235, just off the MLB average of .237. Along with the homers, and the walks drawn (235 thus far, nearly four walks drawn per game) the Giants need to hit more consistently to withstand the NL’s best starting pitchers, several of whom reside in their division.

To keep that process moving in Longoria’s absence, Donovan Solano, Mauricio Dubon, Lemonte Wade Jr. and Alex Dickerson are the likeliest names to pick up their offense. Belt’s return will help as well with the hope that Crawford and Buster Posey maintain their strokes that have the veteran pair among the league leaders in several categories.

The other major question is who will join Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto, Alex Wood and Anthony Desclafani in the team’s rotation? Scott Kazmir, who made two starts, and Logan Webb are out of the mix with Webb injured and the 37-year old Kazmir designated for assignment over the weekend. The Giants are scheduled for play on 13 consecutive dates starting Tuesday so temporarily shortening the rotation won’t be an option. Another arm will have to deployed.

On Tuesday, the Giants have Alex Wood scheduled to face the Rangers” Jordan Lyles. Wood is looking for a bounce back after getting tagged with losses in each of his last three appearances after a 5-0 start to the season. Lyles faced the Giants at Oracle Park on May 11 and took the loss, part of a stretch where Lyles has lost four of his last five decisions over his most recent nine starts.

Bonds-ian: Giants flash that 2001 look in 6-1 romp over the Angels

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The typical Giants hitter is nearly 31 years old–more than two and a half years older than the MLB average–has an injury history, and maintains a healthy appetite for hitting home runs. They’re discerning at the plate, draw walks at a high rate, and they rake when a pitch arrives they think can drive.

Sound like 2001 Barry Bonds? Well, yeah it does.

The Giants put it on the Angels, winning 6-1 on Memorial Day while hitting three home runs in the process, and achieving a feat that hadn’t been done by the franchise since 2001. The Giants hit multiple home runs for a sixth straight game, something that was last done by the 2001 club that had 36-year old Bonds hit 73 homers and draw 177 walks… and win 90 ballgames.

On Monday, it was 35-year old Evan Longoria hitting a two-run shot in the fourth to give the Giants the lead 2-1 which they would never relinquish with starter Johnny Cueto dipping and dealing in front of the home crowd. Mauricio Dubon and Lemonte Wade Jr. would add solo shots in the fifth and sixth innings to expand the lead.

Ironically, Longoria and Wade connected on first pitch sinkers delivered by Dylan Bundy. Dubon–improving as a hitter deep in counts–delivered on a slider six pitches into his at-bat. All three pitches left Bundy in a deeper funk as he fell to 0-6 with a 6.49 ERA on the season. One year after allowing five homers all season, Bundy has allowed 12.

“None of them were technically where you want them,” Bundy said of the three pitches that were launched. “You got to throw everything on the edges nowadays, so none of them were where I wanted them.”

Bundy wasn’t awful, but he made mistakes. After cruising through the first three innings, he appeared to be in a groove. But the Giants were playing their patient role to perfection, and when mistakes were made, they pounced. That put the home team in their wheel house from an offensive perspective. They finished the afternoon with six walks induced, the three homers, just seven hits, but six runs scored. Their 78 home runs over the season’s first 54 ballgames is the second best total in Major League Baseball behind the Braves’ 80.

The Giants (34-20) have suddenly won four straight and regained the top spot in the NL West with the Padres falling to the Cubs on Monday. After dealing with the menace of the World Champion Dodgers, the Giants appear ready to regain their winning ways. Manager Gabe Kaplan said he sees signs pointing in that direction.

“I thought this was a really important win for us because of the emotion and energy we spent to try to win the Dodgers series,” Kapler said. “We knew that Bundy would come out and throw a lot of strikes and force us to put the ball in play, which he did. I feel like it’s important because there can be an emotional letdown after a series like the Dodgers [series]. We know that the Angels are a great team, and we weren’t going to let that happen.”

Cueto improved his record to 4-1 on the season, going seven innings, allowing five hits and no walks. The crowd gave the veteran a nice ovation, and Cueto reciprocated, saying he enjoys the interaction, which has missing for more than a season now.

“It got me excited and emotional to see the fans getting behind me,” Cueto said.

The only negative on the afternoon involved Longoria, who departed after five innings with a sore muscle in his side. The veteran will have an MRI on Tuesday and miss at least one game.

The Giants conclude their brief two-game set with the Angels on Tuesday with Alex Wood attempting to break his two-game losing streak in a match up with the Angels’ Andrew Heaney.

Giants smash three homers in hair-raising 3-2 win at San Diego

By Morris Phillips

The Giants didn’t impress anybody in Seattle with their late inning collapse on Thursday and eerily quiet bats on Saturday night.

But they did impress on Monday in San Diego.

Mike Yastrzemski, in a pinch-hitting role, broke a 2-2 tie with a home run in the seventh inning, propelling the Giants to a 3-2 win over the Padres at Petco Park. Yastrzemski’s big blow came after he was 1 for 13 against the Mariners, and told the local media he had no excuses for his substandard start to the season.

“I just stunk this weekend,” he said.

On Monday, Yaz was back in comfort zone: swinging a big bat, and characteristically saying as little as possible afterwards.

“We were gritty today, DeSclafani did great and we faced a good pitcher.” Yastrzemski told the NBC Sports Bay Area audience on the field after the game.’s Maria Guardado was able to get more out of Yastrzemski in a zoom session interview after the game, and the answers were revealing from one of the game’s more cerebral hitters.

“I was obviously hoping it was either a home run or a deep flyout,” Yastrzemski said. “It was kind of working into what I wanted to do mentally with my swing. I was getting beat a lot in Seattle and spinning off the ball. I just wanted to really stay through the middle of the field, and I just got a pitch that I could do it with.”

Yastrzemski’s home run off reliever Craig Stammen came on a 2-0 sinking fastball, and continued the slugger’s penchant for coming up with big hits in big spots, a trend that began in the COVID-truncated 2020 season. But Yaz wasn’t the only big bat for the Giants on Monday.

Darin Ruf homered in the second, and Evan Longoria homered in the fourth, his third round tripper in four games. All three blasts were solo shots and gave the Giants the lead each time.

Anthony DeSclafani made his San Francisco debut and held the Padres to one run on four hits in five innings of work. Even more significant was the team’s bullpen, working the final four frames while allowing a run on four hits as well.

Jake McGee picked up the save after walking Manny Machado and hitting Eric Hosmer with a pitch with two outs. Tommy Pham flew out with the two runners aboard to end it.

Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. was injured while swinging at a pitch in the third. Tatis struck out and crumpled to the ground at home plate in obvious pain. He was diagnosed with a partially dislocated shoulder and could miss a month or more after signing a $340 million contract in the off-season.

Wondering how a 3-2 ballgame lasts 3 hours, 35 minutes in today’s baseball climate despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s insistence that games preceed at a faster pace? Here’s how.

Both teams started their fifth starter in their initial appearance of the season and both pitched deliberately. Between them, DeSclafani and San Diego’s Adrian Morejon started hitters with first pitch strikes on just 20 of 40 occasions. That led to a lot of deep counts, and lengthy at-bats as both pitchers were determined not to get hurt by lineups adept at extra-base hits and home runs. While both ultimately pitched well, they didn’t last long. Morejon, who had pitches hit as fast as 97 mph, allowed the first two Giants’ home runs, and was done after throwing 64 pitches in four innings.

DeSclafani threw 86 pitches in five innings of work, and had only one clean inning, the third, were he retired all three batters.

Both teams paraded relievers into the game after that–five on each side–and the common theme was yes, almost all pitched effectively, but they took their time. Matt Wisler, who found disaster in his previous appearance in Seattle, and McGee were particularly patient, mixing in balls and strikes at nearly an equal rate.

And that brings us to the main reason the game lasted so long: the Padres and Giants combined to throw 126 balls (with 184 strikes mixed in) and 314 pitches total. That’s a lot for a nine inning game, but reflective of how determined teams are of not letting lineups packed with power hitters hurt them. The Giants may be 2-2 and projected to finish third or worse in the NL West, but they can hit. Even at this early stage, and despite a Sunday afternoon off, the Giants lead MLB in homers with nine (tied with the Astros).

The Giants and Padres pick it up on Tuesday with Aaron Sanchez making his Giants debut in a matchup with Yu Darvish at 7:10 pm.