Buster Posey broke a 184 at-bat homer-less streak when he launched a first-pitch fastball to left field.
His teammates jokingly gave him the cold shoulder once he returned to the dugout. Then, in a very un-Posey move, he sat down and gave the TV camera an enthusiastic thumbs up. Chipper Posey, it’s been a while since we’ve seen that guy, said Brandon Belt:
“It was great to see him smiling and laughing after he touched home plate.”
If anyone’s benefitted more from Bochy’s batting practice lockdown, it’s Posey. The mental vacation, the break from monotony, has him taking easier swings once he finds his pitch. The two-run homer capped the Giants’ 8-2 win over the Cardinals and cushioned Posey’s seven hit, four RBI series.
This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.
Posey’s not the only one who’s found his zen. The whole team lifted the offensive energy from Thursday’s win into Orange Friday’s slugfest. The baseball season is arduous, everyone knows, and Belt agreed that it’s a perfect time of year to pocket more time with family and friends:
“I’m liking it. It’s that time of year where it helps. Just to have an extra hour or two helps a lot.”
Moments like this are a reminder that the Giants, facing a grueling sprint to the postseason finish line, have a big advantage perched at the stairwell post of the dugout, usually grimacing.
Bruce Bochy sometimes masks his managerial decisions with a superstition. His decision to cancel on-field batting practice for the third day in a row was anything but — he’s not going to change a temporary routine when it’s working. The Giants’ clear advantage lies in Bochy’s ability to read his team.
That advantage became clearer after Matt Moore walked Yadier Molina to score the Cards’ second run with two outs in the fifth inning. Bochy trotted to the mound.
Moore never had a manager that didn’t approach the mound without intent of taking the ball from him. Bochy is different:
“He allowed me to speak up about how I was feeling about things…He trusted that I was going to be real with him… I think that was a pretty cool thing to happen.”
Moore needed one more out to seal his fourth win as a Giant. Johnny Peralta popped out, Moore’s final one of the night.
After the rough inning–which Bochy blamed on the long third inning that threw Moore’s mechanics out of whack–Posey talked with Moore about what went wrong, what went right:
“He’s not just back there sucking the ball up. … There was substance there, which is nice to have in a catcher.”
It was a win well deserved. Moore allowed 10 baserunners, mostly through soft contact and a trio of walks, and only two crossed home plate.
The Giants faced a pitcher they’d never seen in Luke Weaver, so two opposing runs on any other day would have seemed insurmountable. New guys are their kryptonite, said Belt:
“You can watch all the video you want to, but it’s different once you get out there.”
Weaver spun a four strike-out, scoreless first two innings and a familiar picture started to paint itself. The Giants couldn’t see him the first time through.
But then Gold Glover Yadier Molina over-threw Moore’s bunt in the third inning, advancing Denard Span to second base and effectively pushing Posey ahead of his reign over the Gold Glove ranks.
Weaver lost command of the strike zone and the Giants rubbed together a little two-out thunder, needing just four hits–and a sweet evasive slide under Molina’s glove by Belt that was called out but repealed upon review — to tag Weaver for six unearned runs.
But Moore’s early departure meant the bullpen would have to hold on to a six-run lead. Could they do it? Was it possible?
Yeah, no problem, chill out. George Kontos, Josh Osich, Cory Gearrin, Santiago Casilla and closer extraordinaire Matt Reynolds pitch four innings of no-hit ball with two walks sprinkled in there.
So, standings update: The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks, keeping the Giants four games back in the West. The Mets also won, which keeps the Giants’ Wild Card lead at one game. The Cardinals now sit three games behind the Giants.
Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.