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Casali smacks three hits, Giants roll past Rockies

The baseball was bobbled and tossed all over the field as the Giants piled up another win against the Rockies with a 9-2 finish Tuesday evening at Oracle Park.

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San Francisco (18-12) has now won nine straight games against their division rivals Colorado (16-14) since Aug. 15, 2021. A victory on Wednesday will tie their franchise record for longest win streak against the Rockies.

It was a natural rest day for Joey Bart so Curt Casali was called upon to catch starter Alex Wood. The veteran backstop responded, going 3-for-3 in the nine hole with two runs batted in. In a 1-0 game in the first, Casali rapped an RBI single against Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela that scored two runs after Colorado right fielder Charlie Blackmon bobbled the ball. 

This story will be updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at Oracle Park.

Casali’s performance was a welcome sight for the Giants, who have lacked recent production from the catcher position. Unlike last season’s strict schedule – playing every third day behind Buster Posey – Casali’s role is to shore up the struggling Bart and provide veteran presence that can amplify the overall morale of the pitching staff.

After his offensive outbreak, combined with Bart’s tendency for striking out, Casali might see more playing time.

Even though he was roughed up in his last start against the Nationals on April 29, Wood rebounded nicely and didn’t allow an earned run in 5-1/3 innings of work. He allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out four. 

Wood featured quick outs on the mound combined with an expanded look at his changeup, which he fired 22% of the time. The change of pace is different from what he usually brings to the table – more sliders. The slider was still a factor in getting swings and misses Tuesday night, but it was distributed almost evenly with the changeup. 

The left-hander’s naturally quick rhythm was interrupted briefly in the fourth when left fielder Luis Gonzalez had Yonathan Daza’s double roll off his glove and to the wall, resulting in a run that shouldn’t have been allowed.

Gonzalez’s defense has been questionable as of late; Sunday he overran a fly ball that also resulted in a run. His bat on the other hand continued to produce, with two hits including a slowly-hit first inning RBI single to open up the scoring. 

Wood finished with 104 pitches before turning it over to the bullpen, which has been lights out as of late. Zack Littell escaped a tight first-and-second, one-out jam in the sixth.

Brandon Belt was back in the starting lineup, playing first base, after two missed games dealing with neck tightness. Both days, Kapler was forced to make a last-minute switch before game time. 

Knowing his roster is constructed where everyone contributes regularly, Kapler noted he doesn’t mind the idea of placing fringe-injured players in the lineup, then checking with them afterwards. If they’re unable to play, a change will be made – so be it. 

The presence Belt brought back to San Francisco’s lineup was felt immediately when he smoked an RBI double to right-center to knock Senzatela out of the game and give the Giants a 5-1 lead.

More gifts came San Francisco’s way in the fifth when the Rockies walked Austin Slater and then Casali with the bases loaded. LaMonte Wade Jr. – who knocked in a run via a forceout in the fourth – followed up with a sacrifice fly to make it 8-1. 

Thairo Estrada’s strong defense continues. He’s already made many plays moving far to his left and throwing off-balance from the second base position. On Tuesday, he showcased his skills going the other way – to his right this time – and shoveling to second for the force out. In the eighth, Estrada contributed more insurance when he smacked a two-out double into left-center to make it 9-1.

There was a late-scratch before Tuesday’s matchup and it didn’t involve Belt. Infielder Wilmer Flores was a no-go with back tightness and was replaced at third base by Mauricio Dubon.

Up Next

San Francisco faces Colorado in the series finale Wednesday afternoon at Oracle Park. Alex Cobb (1-1, 4.80 ERA) will make the start for the Giants against Rockies right-hander Chad Kuhl (3-0, 1.82 ERA). First pitch is 12:45 p.m.

Notes

Bart is having issues with the bat – swinging and missing to be exact. In his last 50 at-bats, Bart has struck out 29 times. Although he’s still walking at 14.5%, the second best among catchers with at least 60 plate appearances, the rookie catcher has a 46.4 strikeout percentage – far and away the worst by any backstop, and even anyone else in baseball. … Joc Pederson served as the designated hitter again on Tuesday evening as he slowly eases back to health after a groin strain kept him out for a few games last week. He’s now considered to be close to the point where he can again start in the outfield. … Former Giants left-hander Ty Blach made an appearance against his old club and kept them scoreless through 2-2/3 innings of relief while only allowing one hit.

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