The Giants are firing on all cylinders this weekend. Timely hitting, dominant pitching, and clean defense propel the San Francisco Giants (20-21) to a 4-2 game three victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks (15-26).
The D-Backs attacked Cueto early Sunday afternoon. Tim Locastro homered to lead off the game. Kole Calhoun followed with a base hit, advancing to third on a single from David Peralta. Three straight hits for the D-Backs in the first.
With one out, Josh Rojas scored Calhoun from third on a sac fly. Two outs with a runner at second. Cueto escaped, limiting the damage to just two runs.
Cueto settled in after the first inning, retiring the side in order in both the second and third innings.
Tromp launched his third home run of the season, a solo shot to left-center. Giants trail 2-1.
Giants left fielder Darin Ruf discussed the impact that the Giants new hitting coaches have had on the team’s offensive performance this season:
“Having a good game plan every day. I know they refine a game plan every single day for the [opposing] pitcher. We have a good hitters meeting where everyone is clear on what balls we want to attack, what area we want to attack in, where the damage is done against this pitcher, and where to look for things like that. Obviously having a game plan and going out and executing it are two different things, we’ve done a really good job of going out and executing more times than not.”
Cueto induced a popup from Jon Jay, before Wilmer Castro fielded a Tim Locastro bouncer to first then rifled the ball home to retire a sliding Ahmed, who had broken from third. Cueto had two outs, then walked Calhoun to load the bases.
Peralta struck out to end the inning. Cueto escaped another jam.
The Giants used their bullpen for more than half the game Saturday night, so it was important for Cueto to eat up some innings Sunday afternoon.
Cueto surrendered a double to Stephen Vogt in the top of the sixth, followed by a walk to Ahmed with two outs. A walk to Lamb loaded the bases for the second consecutive inning.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler discussed his bullpen’s efforts Sunday afternoon:
“Caleb Baragar continues to do a nice job of coming in, throwing strikes, and attacking hitters, and with the bases loaded in that situation. Johnny [Cueto] was pitching really well, he just ran out of pitches, so we had to go to Caleb there. Jarlin [Garcia], [Tony Watson] and [Tyler Rogers] all came in and did good work as well. Rogers bounced back, and [Watson] continues to be excellent.”
Austin Slater led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single. The next batter, Solano, gave the Giants a 3-2 lead with his third hit; a two-run homer.
Kapler talked about the team using home runs to climb back into games, and how they shouldn’t rely on that every time:
“Relying on home runs eventually will bite you. I think what you really want to do, in a perfect world, is reaching base and having the capability to hit for extra bases. Sometimes it’s a walk, sometimes it’s a single, but then you have a player coming up next who can drive the ball in the gap, and every once in a while into the seats.”
One inning later, Belt lined his seventh home run of the season, a solo shot, over the right field wall to extend the Giants lead to 4-2.
The next batter, Slater, doubled off the right-field wall. Runner at second with just one out. Solano walked, runners at first.
Ground ball from Yastrzemski advanced Slater to third, Solano out at second, Yastrzemski safe at first. Longoria grounded out to end the inning.
Kapler discussed both Dickerson and Ruf’s defensive ability after both players made game-saving plays:
“As they are sort of viewed as offense-first, nobody on our team takes their defense and their defensive work more seriously than those two guys. Come around any day during batting practice and both of those guys are busting their asses taking live balls off the bat, working on their throwing, their positioning. They take that part of their game very seriously, and it’s really nice to see the work pay off and allow them to have those moments.”
The Giants went down quietly in the bottom of the eighth. Tyler Rogers on for the save in the ninth inning.
A perfect 1-2-3 inning wrapped up another win for the Giants Sunday afternoon.