Monday night the San Francisco Giants had the chance to improve to an even record on the season. It would be their first time with a .500 record this late in the season in — well — a few years.
As has been the case as of late, the Giants (21-21) rode solid pitching and timely hitting to a 4-2 victory, their third straight win. Offensive performances from Mike Yastrzemski (2-for-4, 1 RBI) and Darin Ruf (2-2, 2 RBIs) paired with a dominant outing from Kevin Gausman (W, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BBs, 9 Ks) wrapped up a four-game series Monday night.
The Giants sent righty Gausman to the mound to face off against Arizona Diamondbacks (15-27) righty Zac Gallen. Winners of two of the first three games of this series, the Giants were looking to clinch a series victory Monday night.
Gausman with a clean top of the first inning, allowing just one baserunner because of a drop-third-strike that got away from the catcher.
Gallen and Gausman went toe-to-toe Monday night. The D-Backs righty carved up the Giants through the first four innings.
The D-Backs scored first off Guasman in the top of the third inning. With one out, Daulton Varsho walked, followed by a single from Carson Kelly. Josh Rojas walked to load the bases, and a ground out off the bat of Ketel Marte scored the runner from third.
Gausman escaped, allowing just the one run.
On paper, Gausman had a very nice outing. And overall, he did. But after the game, he talked about what he could have done better:
“To be honest, it was kind of a grind from the get-go today. I feel like this season i’ve been really good at being able to put my fastball where I need to in big situations, and today I didn’t really have that extra gear on my fastball and i wasn’t able to put it where I normally am. We definitely had to mix a little bit more today, but those are the days you gotta buckle-down and get some big outs in big situations. Today was definitely not the most crisp i’ve been this year, but I just try and give my team a chance to win.”
Gausman got the win because of his offense’s rally in the bottom of the sixth. They did it off a pitcher who has never allowed four runs in a game in his career — until Monday night.
Gausman had this to say about the Giants offensive effort versus Gallen:
“I think more than anything, as a pitcher, you know these guys are going to figure this guy out. We faced [Zac] Gallen a couple times this year and we never really got the chance to figure him out, but I just felt like from talking to the guys, they made it sound like when the shadows went away, it was going to be a different game. When we were able to put some good ABs together, and put the pressure on him, that’s just what we’ve been able to do. Eventually, our guys come through.”
They weren’t done yet. Ruf singled to center, both Bart and Dubon score. Donovan Solano singled, loading the bases once more.
Almost every game there is somebody new who steps up and becomes the hero. Dubon was a big part of the rally in the sixth inning, drawing an important walk. He discussed the teams fight night in and night out:
“It’s really good. I was talking to [Donovan] Solano about it. We don’t have just one guy that we rely on, everybody comes here and plays every day. You never know who’s going to be the player of the night. Today it was [Darin] Ruf, he wasn’t even [scheduled to] play and he ended up getting two big RBIs on a single up the middle. That’s the beauty of it, we fight and we want to win. Everybody takes upon that.”
Brandon Belt walked, forcing in another run. A double play and a fly ball later, the Giants rally ended. Heading into the top of the seventh, they led 4-1.
Gausman’s night was finished, he was replaced by Wandy Peralta, who came in and did a nice job in the top of the seventh. The Giants went down quietly in the bottom half of the inning.
The Giants and D-Backs started at 5 o’clock Monday evening, which at Oracle Park, creates some shadows around home plate that can make it difficult for hitters. Giants manager Gabe Kapler discussed how this benefited both starting pitchers:
“You see that shadow that slowly creeps towards the pitcher, and you know that the ball is going to come out of [Kevin Gausman’s] hand in bright sunlight, then disappear into the shadows. That kind of gives the pitcher the advantage, and [Zac Gallen] had it as well. You saw earlier in the game there were some not-the-best swings.”
Sam Selman replaced Peralta in the top of the eighth inning. With two outs, he walked Christian Walker. Calhoun reached base on a fielding error from Solano, advancing to second. With runners at second and third, Selman got out of it. Giants were three outs away from their third-straight win.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Ruf doubled to right-center field. Solano reached base on an error, runners at first and second.
Both runners were left stranded, on to the ninth inning. Sam Coonrod on for the save.
David Peralta immediately homered to lead off the top of the ninth. Giants lead was trimmed to two runs.
Coonrod settled down, retiring the D-Backs in order. Giants hang on to win their third-straight, taking three of four games from Arizona.
After the game, Kapler discussed his team reaching the ever-elusive .500 win/loss record:
“It’s gratifying, it certainly speaks to the fight that this club has. We can go back a couple of weeks and find some pretty heart breaking losses. These guys are resilient, they bounce back from those losses, they bounce back from in-game deficits. I think the character of this team is continuing to shine through. Long way to go, a lot of work left to do, but certainly gratifying to get back to that .500 mark.”