The Giants have been looking for that one big hit that could lift the burden off their pressing lineup and set up a much-needed win.
Matt Duffy took that swing in the Giants’ 6-2 win over the Mariners on Wednesday afternoon, launching a deep two-run shot to left field to give the Giants a 2-0 second inning lead.
The home run was Duffy’s sixth, tying him with fellow newbie Joe Panik in that little home run race they have going. But, most importantly, he gave the Giants power when it looked like that stream had dried, and Bruce Bochy always credits his ability to rise to the occasion:
“He’s a ball player, runs well, is getting better at third, and he’s good with two strikes.”
And just like that, a bit of relief. The home run ended a nine-game home losing streak, five-game overall.
Tim Lincecum applauded his teammate for the clutch swing:
“He’s got that late release on his swing, which allows him to do what he does.”
Duffy’s dinger also gave Lincecum, who recorded a first win against his hometown team, a little wiggle room. The five hit, two run game he dealt didn’t look as dismal as it might have in previous days.
“When we got those two runs, it set the tone. It was fun to watch us fight.”
Fans could enjoy every bit of Lincecum’s 5-2/3 inning outing, where he managed to keep Seattle off balance just enough to secure his seventh win. Brad Miller managed to cut San Francisco’s lead in half with a first-pitch homer to left. Miller struck again in the sixth with an RBI single to give the Mariners’ their second and final run.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Duffy’s cool at the plate was a gift that kept on giving. He sparked a thrilling eighth-inning rally with an awkward bloop single to score Buster Posey from second. setting the table for the man he replaced, pinch hitter Casey McGehee, who sent a RBI double to the right field bricks, sealing the 6-2 win and sending AT&T Park into shock-induced euphoria.
Talk of the losing streak never lingered in the clubhouse, said Bochy, it wasn’t what they were playing for:
“We needed a win no question. Last thing you want is to be swept at home.”
Kontos took on the sixth with the tying run at third (3-2) and two outs and forced Mike Zunino to fly out. Said Bochy of Kontos’ performance:
“He’s really done a great job … I’ve used him a lot, but he’s done lot out there.”
Things get chippy
Angel Pagan was ejected from the game in the eighth after getting into a heated dispute with home plate umpire John Hirshbeck over what Bochy said was the first pitch call.
“He’s fiery and competitive, and he was told to stop and he didn’t.”
He noted that the umpires should better handle heated altercations at the plate. A dirty glance by an upset player doesn’t warrant a response. Bochy came out to defend his center fielder — a necessary step in what was a one-run game — and was ejected soon after. It was Pagan’s first ejection of the season and Bochy’s second.
Pence was scheduled to return this Thursday, but doctors ordered him back into a wrist splint for at least another week.
He was scheduled to return off the disabled list Thursday, but looks like the Giants will have to stand a few more days without the power right fielder. Better safe than sorry.
The Giants have bumped the same playlist in the clubhouse after every home victory, at least for as long as I’ve been around. The media walks in, like clockwork, just as “Bounce It” by Juicy J is blasting. Today was different and it felt weird: players geared up for the road trip to “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap. Maybe they just needed some new type of winning vibes.