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.

MLB.com’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.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: Giants finish season with winning road record; Webb has good pitching performance

photo from sfgate.com: San Francisco Giants’ Logan Webb pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Atlanta.

On the Giants podcast with Morris:

#1 The Giants avoided getting swept by the Atlanta Braves in Cobb County Sunday with a 4-1 win. The Giants added two runs in the top of the sixth. Joey Rickard doubled on a line drive to Nick Markakis. Both Evan Longoria and Kevin Pillar scored on the play. San Francisco snatched a 3-0 lead.

#2 The Giants’ away record was better than their home record away they were 42-39 and home 33-42. The bulk of the Giants’ road success came after the July 31st trade deadline and in August when they hit a speed bump and lost momentum.

#3 For San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, it was his final road game managing.  Bochy notched his 2,000 win of his career when the Giants were in Boston prior to coming to play the Braves.

#4 One of the biggest highlights on the trip was the home run hit by Mike Yastrzemski in Boston Tuesday night, which drew a standing ovation from the Boston crowd — kind of like their own homage indirectly for Mike’s grandfather Carl.

#5 The Giants conclude the 2019 season at Oracle Park on the homestand. The Giants will open against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night for three games and finish the season with the Los Angeles Dodgers for three starting on Friday night. Starting for Colorado, Jeff Hoffman (2-6, 2.71 ERA), and for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner (9-9, 3.86 ERA).

Morris did the Giants podcasts each Monday during the 2019 Giants season and will begin Cal Bears podcasting next Monday, September 30th at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Longoria gets 1,000th RBI in Giants win 5-4

sfgate.com photo: San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria hits a two-run single against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday,

By Jeremy Kahn

OAKLAND-After the game Evan Longoria wore a vintage Chris Mullin Golden State Warriors jersey from the 1980s, and it was a vintage day for the third baseman.

Longoria hit a two-run single in the top of the seventh, as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Oakland As 5-4 before a crowd of 47,321 at the Coliseum.

It was a huge day for Longoria, who tied up the game in the top of the third inning, as he hit his 17th home run of the season and it was also the 1,000th RBI of his career.

Since returning from the injured list on August 4 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Longoria is 23-for-68 (.338) with two doubles, four home runs and 17 RBIs in 17 games.

With the victory, the Giants swept the two-game series, giving them the Bay Bridge Trophy, as they won the season series three games to one.

This was the 4,000th career game for Bruce Bochy, who became the just eighth manager in major league history to join this exclusive club. All seven managers in front of Bochy are all in the Hall of Fame.

Donovan Solano went four-for-four on the afternoon, as he also reached base on a walk. It was the second four hit game of the season, as he also did it on July 17 against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

The Giants final rally of the game began when Brandon Crawford reached on a Matt Olson fielding error to lead off the top of the seventh inning, Solano then reached for the fourth time in the game, as he walked on a 3-2 pitch. Mike Yastrzemski was then hit on the left hand to load the bases.

After an epic 11 pitch at-bat that Buster Posey strike out for the first out of the inning, Longoria singled thru the hole between second base and shortstop to score Crawford and Solano.

Unfortunately, the Giants ran themselves out of the inning, as Yastrzemski was caught stealing at third base.

Former As catcher Stephen Vogt, who hit a big three-run home run in Saturdays 10-5 victory gave the Giants a 1-0 lead, as he hit a sacrifice fly that scored Kevin Pillar from third base. Pillar led off the inning with a double high off the wall in left-center field.

After Brett Anderson was able to retire Austin Slater on a groundout to first base, and Pillar went to third. Vogt then hit a sacrifice fly to Mark Canha that scored Pillar from third base.

Brandon Belt then walked, then Crawford and then Solano made it 2-0, as he singled to score Belt.

Unfortunately for the Giants, that lead would not last long, as Canha took the first pitch he saw from Logan Webb over the fence for his 21st home run of the season.

Jurickson Profar then followed that up with a double, and then scored, as Corben Joseph made it three straight hits with a double of his own to tie up the game. Chad Pinder then gave the As the lead, as he was the fourth consecutive As batter to get a hit, when he singled to score Joseph.

Canha made it two home runs in as many at-bats, as he launched a solo home run over the left-center wall to give the As the lead for good.

It was a troublesome second career start for Webb, who grew up in Rocklin, as he went 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on six hits, two walks and two strikeouts.

Anderson went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits, walking three and striking out two; however, he did not fare in the decision.

It looked like the Giants won the game on a great defensive play from Pillar to Solano, when Josh Phegley was tagged out at second base; however, the call was overturned and then Will Smith was able to get Marcus Semien to ground out to Crawford to end the game.

Smith picked up his 30th save of the season, as he faced the final four batters of the game.

NOTES: Posey struck out for the second time in his career, as the first came earlier this season, when it occurred on against the New York Mets on July 18 at Oracle Park in a game that the Giants won 3-2 in 16 innings.

This was the first time that the Giants won back-to-back games at the Coliseum since September 26 and 27, 2015.

It was the also first series sweep by the Giants over the As since they swept them in three straight from July 24-26, 2015 at what was then called AT&T Park.

Once again, the Giants won a game by one run and it was their 30th win by one run on the season and are now 30-13 (.697).

UP NEXT: Tyler Beede opens up the six-game home stand on Monday night, as he faces the Arizona Diamondbacks at Oracle Park, while the Diamondbacks will send Alex Young to the mound.

Pillar goes 5-for-5, Belt gets grand slam in Giants’ 5-run win, 11-6

sfgate.com photo: San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Belt hits a grand slam against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second inning during a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Phoenix.

In what is the San Francisco Giants’ last trip to Chase Field this season, the team is on fire through the first three games of the series.

Kevin Pillar went 5-for-5, Brandon Belt hit a grand slam and drove in six runs and the Giants defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-6 at Chase Field.

With the victory, the Giants clinched the four-game series with one game remaining on Sunday afternoon and Madison Bumgarner on the mound.

Rookie Logan Webb, who grew up in Rocklin made his major-league debut went five innings, allowing two runs (one earned), giving up five hits, walking one and striking out seven, as he picked up the win in his debut.

Webb, who just returned from an 80-game suspension in July for testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs.

The right-hander made three starts at Double-A Richmond and then one at Triple-A Sacramento this past Monday.

Things did not start out well for Webb, as he allowed two runs in the bottom of the first inning, as Jarrod Dyson singled to lead off the inning, and then scored on a Wilmer Flores double. After Webb got Eduardo Escobar and David Peralta, Flores scored on a throwing error on a ball hit by Adam Jones.

Webb got out of the jam, as he got Jake Lamb to ground out to first base to end the inning.

That lead for the Diamondbacks would not last long, as Alex Dickerson led off the second inning with a walk, then Flores committed a throwing error, as he tried to flip the ball to Nick Ahmed at second base.

Pillar then came up with his first hit of the game that loaded the bases, and then Belt hit a grand slam that gave the Giants the lead for good.

It was the second career grand slam for Belt, who last hit one off of Luis Perdomo of the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on April 7, 2017.

Brandon Crawford got into the act following the Belt home run, as he singled; however, Webb popped out on a sacrifice attempt for the first out of the inning.

Mike Yastrzemski, who hit three home runs on Friday night then singled to right field and then Stephen Vogt loaded the bases with a base hit of his own.

Evan Longoria drove in the fifth run of the inning, as he hit a sacrifice fly that scored Crawford from third base and sent Yastrzemski to third base.

Diamondbacks pitcher Taylor Clarke did not get out of the second inning, as he went 1.2 innings, allowing five runs (three earned), walking one and striking out one.

Belt drove in his fifth run of the game in the top of the third inning, as he hit an opposite field single to left field that scored Pillar.

The Giants scored another run in the top of the sixth inning, as Longoria grounded into a double play that scored Austin Slater.

Crawford drove in his first run of the game, as he grounded out to Flores that allowed Scooter Gennett from third base.

Slater, who went 2-for-3 on the game after coming into the game on a double switch that saw Yastrzemski move to left field for Dickerson and Slater went into right field, singled to left field to score Pillar to give the Giants what looked like a commanding seven run lead.

The Diamondbacks, who scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on Friday night to tie up the game began the comeback, as Christian Walker hit a solo home run and then Escobar hit a sacrifice fly that scored Dyson in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Pillar drove in a run with his fifth hit of the game that scored Longoria, who singled to lead off the inning.

Belt then drove in his sixth run of the game, as he grounded out to Flores that scored Gennett from third base.

The final two runs of the game came when Ahmed hit a two-run home run off the foul pole in the bottom of the eighth inning.

With the score 11-6 in the top of the ninth inning, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo sent his catcher Alex Avila to the mound and he pitched a perfect ninth inning that included striking out Yastrzemski for the second out of the inning.

Jandel Gustave came on to close it out for the Giants in a non-save situation, and the game ended on a great play from Slater to Gennett to Longoria, as Escobar tried to stretch a double into a triple; however, Slater made a perfect throw to Gennett, who threw to Longoria to end the game.

NOTES: With the addition of Webb to the roster, Joey Rickard was optioned to Sacramento to make room for Webb.

The Giants went 7-for-16 with Runners In Scoring Position.

UP NEXT: Bumgarner will take the mound on Sunday for the Giants, while the Diamondbacks, who will try to avoid the sweep will send Merrill Kelly to the hill.

Rodriguez fires 3-hitter as Giants blank Snakes 7-0

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

Pillar wins it late to give Giants the series; SF defeats Phillies 9-6

photo from sfgate.com:  San Francisco Giants’ Kevin Pillar swings for an RBI triple off Philadelphia Phillies’ Nick Pivetta in the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, in San Francisco.

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO — When the San Francisco Giants they knew that were getting a hitter with power and potential, and this season, Kevin Pillar has done just that.

Pillar went 2-for-4, including the go-ahead triple in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Giants defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 9-6 before a crowd of 36,637 at Oracle Park.

The win by the Giants gave them the series, their first series win since winning two out of three against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

Evan Longoria led off the inning with a single, and then after both Stephen Vogt and Scooter Gennett were retired by Jose Alvarez, Nick Pivetta came on to face Pillar and he put into the right-center field alley that easily scored Longoria from first base.

Brandon Crawford was then intentionally walked, so that Pivetta could face Will Smith, who was making his first ever plate appearance. With Smith at the plate, Crawford stole second and then Smith shocked everyone, as he lashed an opposite field single that scored both Pillar and Crawford; however, Bryce Harper nearly ruined it, as his throw just missed getting Smith at first base.

Joey Rickard then doubled Smith to third base, where he shared a laugh with Ron Wotus and after a Brandon Belt walk, Pivetta finally got out of the inning, as he got Mike Yastrzemski to ground out to end the inning.

This was a wild game that saw everything, as the Giants took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, as Belt led off the inning with a walk, Yastrzemski then doubled off the left field wall and then Longoria gave the Giants the lead, when he singled up the middle off of Phillies starter Jake Arrieta.

Vogt then singled off of Arrieta that sent Longoria to third base; however, Arrieta regrouped to get Gennett to strike out and then Pillar grounded into a double play that ended the inning.

That 2-0 lead by the Giants was gone by the top of the second inning, as the Phillies erupted for three runs and that was end of the night for Giants starter Conner Menez.

J.T. Realmuto and Scott Kingery each walked, and after Sean Rodriguez struck out, Cesar Hernandez singled to load the bases. Arrieta then struck out for the second out of the inning, but the Phillies got on the board, when Roman Quinn walked and then Harper hit a two-run single that gave the Phillies the lead and that was it for Menez.

Jandel Gustave ended the inning, as he got Rhys Hoskins to fly out to Austin Slater and stop any further damage.

In all, Menez lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing three runs on just two hits, walking three and striking out four.

The Phillies attacked the Giants again in the top of the third inning, as Hernandez hit a two-run single off of the Giants third pitcher of the game and second reliever, Andrew Suarez, who came on to replace Gustave, when Corey Dickerson came on to pinch hit for Rodriguez.

Unfortunately for the Phillies that was the score for just one-half inning, as the Giants came all the way back to tie up the game, as Yastrzemski hit his 12th home run of the season. Longoria then picked up his second hit in as many at-bats, and after a Vogt fly out, Gennett doubled in Longoria to cut the Phillies lead down to one. Pillar then singled in Gennett to tie up the game.

Menez, who went from being on the hook for the loss, ended up getting a no-decision and Arrieta also did not fare in the decision, as he went three innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, walking just one and striking out five.

Gennett gave the Giants once again in the bottom of the sixth inning, as he hit his second home run of the season and first at home. His home run landed in McCovey Cove, the 80th Splash Hit by a Giants batter since the ballpark opened on April 11, 2000.

Dickerson tied up the game in the top of the eighth inning, as his sacrifice fly that took Yastrzemski to the wall easily scored Realmuto from third base. Realmuto led off the inning with a single, then went to third on a Kingery double.

Smith, who came on to replace Tony Watson prior to the Dickerson sacrifice fly then walked Hernandez intentionally and Brad Miller flew out to Yastrzemski to end the inning.

In all, the Giants pitched the final 7.1 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, walking eight and striking out six.

Smith, who was unable to save the game for just the third time this season ended up with the victory, as he went the final 1.2 innings, allowing just two walks and a strikeout to improve his record to 4-0 on the season.

As a staff, the Giants walked 11 batters and this was the first time since September 20,2006 against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field where they won a game like that. It was the 11th time since moving to San Francisco in 1958 that the Giants (2019 J.G. Spink Award Jayson Stark gets credit for that stat).

NOTES: Gustave, Trevor Gott and Smith each made their first ever plate appearances during the game, and this was the first time since September 21, 1934 that three pitchers made their first ever appearances at the plate in the same game. Sherman Edwards, Whitey Wistert and Lee Grissom each went to the plate for the first time for the Cincinnati Reds in a 16-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field. That is the only other time since 1913 that this occurred in a game, according to STATS, INC.

The 11 walks by the Phillies are a season high, and the first time they turned the trick since April 26, 2009 against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium in a 13-2 Phillies victory.

Prior to the game, the Giants honored their 1989 National League Championship team, as Will Clark, Don Robinson, Bill Bathe, Chris Speier, Ernie Camacho, Brett Butler, Terry Kennedy, Craig Lefferts, Ernest Riles, Donell Nixon, Atlee Hammaker, Dave Dravecky, Greg Litton, Kelly Downs, Robby Thompson and Mike Krukow were joined on the field by coaches Bill Fahey, Dusty Baker, Norm Sherry and manager Roger Craig.

They also memorialized Jose Uribe, Wendell Kim, Hank Greenwald and General Manager Al Rosen.

Giants President then announced the surprise of the night, The Thrill of the Night, as the Number 22, worn by Will Clark will be retired during the 2020 season.

Clark will join Bill Terry, Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry and Willie McCovey in that elusive club.

Christy Mathewson and John McGraw are honored by the team with the letters NY, as they never wore numbers for the Giants.

Jackie Robinsons number 42 is retired throughout Major League Baseball and is also on the façade on the Club Level at Oracle Park.

Ford Frick Award Winners Jon Miller, Lon Simmons and Russ Hodges are honored on the Club Level.

UP NEXT: Madison Bumgarner takes on the mound on Tuesday evening, as the Oakland As make their only trip to San Francisco this season. The As return to the Bay Area after splitting six games in Chicago will send Brett Anderson to the mound in the opener.

Longoria wins it on home run in seventh SF wins 1-0

photo from sfgate.com: San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria, left, is congratulated by third base coach Ron Wotus (23) after hitting a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Sunday, July 7, 2019.

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-Evan Longoria ended two things against Jack Flaherty with one swing of the bat.

Longoria hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, breaking up both a shutout and a no-hitter and it helped the San Francisco Giants to a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals before a crowd of 33,841 at Oracle Park.

This was only the third shutout of the season for the Giants and the first since April 24 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

On the afternoon, the Giants only got two hits, and this was the fewest hits in a game where they won since a two-hit over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 30, 2018.

Flaherty was throwing a perfect game until he walked Alex Dickerson to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning.

After the Longoria home run, Dickerson singled to left, but then Flaherty got Stephen Vogt to fly out to Dexter Fowler and then Kevin Pillar lined out to Paul DeJong to end the inning.

It was the 12th home run of the season for Longoria, and his fifth in his last six games. During the six-game stretch, Longoria is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with seven extra base hits (two doubles and five home runs), 10 RBI and eight runs scored.

Longoria is no stranger to breaking up no-hitter, as it was the fourth time in his career that he broke up a no-hitter in the 7th inning or later.

With DeJong on first base in the top of the seventh inning, Paul Goldschmidt hit a line drive into the right-center gap; however, Pillar flew through into the air and made a fantastic catch that kept the game scoreless.

The Longoria home run made a winner out of Jeff Samardzija, who pitched a tremendous game, as he went seven innings, scattering four hits and striking out two on his way to picking up his sixth win of the season.

This was the first time since August 28 and September 2, 2017 that Samardzija went seven innings with two or fewer runs. That was also the last time he pitched at seven innings in consecutive starts.

It was a tough loss for Flaherty, who also went seven innings, allowing one run on just two hits, walking one and striking out six and saw his record fall to 4-6 on the season.

Sam Dyson pitched one inning, allowing one hit and struck out three. Closer Will Smith came on in the top of the ninth inning and despite giving up a single to Goldschmidt, he picked up his 23rd save in 23 chances, as Fowler grounded into a double play to end the game.

Over his last 19 outings, Smith has not allowed a run in 17 of those games and is possessing a 0.96 earned run average (two earned runs in 18.2 ip) with 30 strikeouts and opposing hitters are hitting .156 against him.

NOTES: Pillar also drove in the only run of the game on April 11, when he homered against the Colorado Rockies in a 1-0 Giants victory that made a winner out of Samardzija.

The Giants are now 18-9 in one-run games and 4-7 in final games of the series.

This was the seventh time this season that the Cardinals have been shutout, and it was the first time that the Cardinals have lost a series to the Giant since May 19-21, 2017 at Busch Stadium.

UP NEXT: Following the All-Star break, the Giants begin a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

Shaun Anderson will open the series against the Brewers at Miller Park on Friday night, followed by Madison Bumgarner and Tyler Beede. The Brewers starter has yet to be determined.

Longoria hits 2 HRs in Giants’ 10-4 win over Padres

Photo credit: @SFGiants

By Jeremy Kahn

It took Evan Longoria nearly a year and a half to have a game where he just went off against the opposition.

Longoria hit two home runs and drove in five runs, as the San Francisco Giants defeated the San Diego Padres 10-4 at Petco Park.

It was the third home run in two games for Longoria, who also hit one in the Giants 13-2 victory over the Padres on Monday night.

Donovan Solano hit his first career leadoff home run to get the Giants on the board, as the Giants have won three games in a row and also have won four out of their last five.

Matt Strahm allowed gave up all three home runs on the evening, including the Solano home run that came on the first pitch of the ballgame.

Longorias first home run of the game came in the top of the second inning, and then hit a mammoth three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning that landed on the balcony of the fourth level of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building that also scored Solano and Brandon Belt, who led off the inning back-to-back singles.

Austin Slater, who was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento after Sundays win over the Arizona Diamondbacks came up with a pair of doubles. The Slater doubles were two of the eight extra base hits for the Giants just one night after pickup nine against Padres pitching.

Kevin Pillar came up with four hits on the evening for the second time in three games, as the Giants scored 10 or more runs in three straight games for the first time since they did it against the Cincinnati Reds from August 23-25, 2010 at AT&T Park.

It was another quality start for Tyler Beede, as he went seven innings, allowing just one earned run, scattering four hits, walking just one and striking out four and won for the second time.

On the other side of things, it was a rough game for Strahm, who went five innings, allowing seven runs on 11 hits, walking one and striking out six.

NOTES: This is the first time that the Giants have been off on July 4 since the 2013 season, after losing via walk-off fashion against the Cincinnati Reds by the final score of 3-2 in 11 innings at Great American Ballpark.

UP NEXT: Shaun Anderson looks to send the Giants into a July 4 day off with a victory, as he looks for his fourth win of the season.

Cal Quantrill goes to the mound for the Padres, as they look to avoid the three-game sweep at the hands of the Giants.