Ehire Adrianza had a chance to be a hero three two nights ago. He had a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity that he wasted away with a pop-out that resulted in a Giants Classic, ninth inning fizzled out comeback.
It’s tough. Adrianza is a bench player— just recovered from his fractured foot—who’s had glimmers of opportunity that often have fizzled out through his career, and he knows that:
“Everybody knows I had this problem last year. I wasn’t able to deliver in the clutch.”
He employed a technique that’s been a team staple through this rough patch:
“I just have to put it behind me.”
Credit the contagious offensive mojo, fault the dilapidated Mets, maybe it’s a mix of the both, but Friday night Adrianza delivered. His RBI single off reliever Jerry Blevins broke a deadlocked 1-1 tie and ultimately sent the Giants to an 8-1 win over the Mets.
The Giants are back atop the NL West with a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. A four-game series against the Mets may have been just the remedy the snake bit Giants needed.
Yes, the Mets look shaken. They look like the Giants of last week, unable to capitalize on opportunities.
They showed holes in areas that have been solid for them thus far. Blevins, who had stranded a MLB-leading 39 of 43 inherited runners before Friday, let both of his inherited runners score Friday thanks to Adrianza’s single and a Denard Span RBI single there after.
But perhaps these two wins can be chalked- up to more than the oppositions’ faults. Bruce Bochy has said it through good times and bad, this offense is good.
They’ve collected 32 hits and 18 runs with a .432 average against the Mets this series and, most notably, have been able to add on to their leads.
The Giants couldn’t get much off of rookie Seth Lugo, but ate through three Mets relievers (Josh Smoker, Jeurys Familia, Erik Goeddel) and tacked on five whole runs of cushion-y run support in the eighth inning.
That’s what’s forced two consecutive nights of rare Bochy smiles, stress release:
“It allows you to rest some guys and it just gives you that margin of error, a little cushion.”
Late-inning trips to the bullpen carried a little less weight now, which helped given Johnny Cueto‘s uneven outing.
Curtis Granderson‘s second-inning home run proved to be the only mark on Cueto’s card, good enough to hand the starter his 14th win of the season and his first of the second half.
Cueto wasn’t “first-half Cueto” sharp—he gave up eight hits and struck out two batters through seven— but he got it done with a big boost from his defense.
Hunter Pence made a spectacular throw home, preventing Lugo—who’d reached on a bunt—from scoring thanks to a 9-2-6-2-5-3 out on the path.
Two innings later Pence laid out to rob Asdrubal Cabrera of an extra-base hit.
That earned him a Cueto fist pump.
Eduardo Nuñez followed that out up with a diving stop off Rene Rivera‘s sharp ground ball.
Cueto cheered as he ran to the dugout:
“I felt really pumped after Pence made that play and Nuñez made a great play after.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the standings at this point in the season; the Dodgers and Giants are taking turns butting each other off the top of a very slim peg.
Fans might want to believe that the Giants all huddled together, post second place bump, and decided that every game from now on was do or die.
The Giants will tell you the otherwise. Every game is do or die, and that’s what makes it fun. Pence’s catch helped Cueto finish the seventh inning, but for him it was more than that:
“It was just a lot of fun, those balls where you get to run as far as you can. Denard wasn’t close, so I got to lay out.”
The Giants won back-to-back games for the first time since July 30 and 31 and back-to-back Madison Bumgarner-Cueto wins since June 30 and July 1.