A road trip to … Oracle Park? What was supposed to be a two-game series in Seattle was moved to San Francisco because of unhealthy air quality up north.
Strong offensive performances from Brandon Crawford (3-for-5, HR, RBI), Brandon Belt (2-for-5 HR, 2 RBIs), Alex Dickerson (3-for-5, RBI), Donovan Solano (2-5, RBI), and a reliable Giants bullpen propelled them to a 9-3 road victory at their home park.
The San Francisco Giants (24-24) were set to play a two-game series in their own ballpark as the away team. It’s weird, I know. But it’s 2020, so did we expect anything less?
Lefty Drew Smyly took the mound for the Giants against Seattle Mariners (22-27) righty Ljay Newsome.
Because the Mariners were technically the home team, the Giants came to the plate in the top of the first inning and got to Newsome right away. Mike Yastrzemski walked, followed by a single by Dickerson. Three batters later, Solano singled, scoring Yastrzemski from third.
Crawford led off the top of the second inning with a double to left field. Two batters later, Mauricio Dubon singled, scoring Crawford from second. Giants extended their lead to 2-0.
Dickerson lined an opposite-field double down the left-field line to lead off the top of the third inning. Belt gave the Giants some breathing room, launching a two-run home run to right-center.
One more couldn’t hurt. Evan Longoria launched a solo home run down the left-field line. The Giants went back-to-back in the top of the third, extending their lead to 5-0.
Belt discussed the Giants lineup and overall offensive success after the game:
“Honestly i think we just have a really good lineup from top to bottom. We have guys that have really good at-bats and that’s led to a lot of barreled balls for us. I think some of these balls that are going out this year, might have not gone out in the past…Overall just having the quality of a lineup that we do, has definitely helped.”
Smyly was cruising early on. He completed the first three innings with ease, striking out six without allowing a run.
The Giants offense didn’t let up. In the top of the fourth inning, Dubon walked, Yastrzemski doubled, Dickerson doubled, as two runs came around to score.
With Dickerson at first, Belt singled, as did Solano. The bases were loaded with just one out, and that was all for Newsome.
A wild pitch scored Dickerson from third. Two strikeouts ended the Giants rally. Three runs extended the Giants lead to 8-0 in the fourth.
The Mariners finally got to Smyly in the bottom of the fourth inning. Kyle Seager walked with one out, followed by a single from Ty France. Luis Torrens doubled home Seager to give the Mariners their first run.
Smyly’s night was finished with two outs in the fourth. Caleb Baragar replaced him with runners at second and third.
Smyly assessed his outing after Wednesday’s win:
“Overall I feel really good, my stuff feels really good, I feel like I’m throwing a lot of strikes, getting a lot of swing and misses. As far as tonight, I feel like I need to be a little more efficient and try to have quicker innings. My stuff is playing really well right now, where I’m getting a lot of swing and misses where it’s hard to induce early contact.”
Baragar struggled immediately. Two walks and a single, and the Mariners scored two more runs. Trevor Cahill came in to replace him and got out of the jam. The Giants now led 8-3.
Overall it was a good outing for Smyly, even though he didn’t go as far into the game as he had anticipated. Giants manager Gabe Kapler discussed his thoughts on his starting rotation throughout the final few weeks of the season:
“The ceiling for our rotation is high. Each one of them has the ability to be really good and go through a lineup two-to-three times. That’s certainly encouraging. I have plenty of faith in the group that we have.”
Cahill did a very nice job in relief Wednesday night, with two shutout innings and four strikeouts.
In the top of the seventh inning, Crawford homered to tack on another run for the Giants at 9-3.
A scary moment in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sam Coonrod, pitching in relief for the Giants, drilled Dylan Moore in the head with a 99-mph sinker. Fortunately, Moore got up and stayed in the game to run the bases.
Rico Garcia pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the Giants in the bottom of the eighth.
On the stat sheet it may look like a solid performance from the Giants bullpen, but Kapler discussed certain struggles his relievers faced Wednesday and what caused them:
“There were some strikeouts, but there was also a lot of rust. There were a lot of guys who hadn’t pitched in a while, and it showed. Caleb Baragar by way of example hasn’t pitched in a while, and he’s got our best walk rate on the team. The one thing he’s done consistently is pound the strike zone and he walked three-consecutive batters. There was some rust for [Sam] Coonrod as well, even Jarlin Garica at the end. He threw some nice pitches, but also lost command. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that those guys haven’t been out on the bump in a while.”
The Giants went quietly in the top of the ninth inning. Jarlin Garcia came out for the ninth inning.
Garcia hit a batter and walked another, but got through the ninth inning pretty quickly, closing the door on game one of a two-game series.