Reporting from ORACLE PARK
Behind a well-executed bullpen game and a difference-making homer from LaMonte Wade Jr, the San Francisco Giants held onto a 1-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks to take the series and win their third straight game on Thursday afternoon at Oracle Park.
The win was the club’s 44th this season by three runs or fewer, tying the Baltimore Orioles for most in the big leagues.
Hitless through the first three innings, the Giants (61-49) broke through in the fourth against Arizona rookie starter Brandon Pfaadt. To lead off the frame, first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr. jumped all over a 2-2 fastball and crushed it over the arcade in right field for a solo-blast to open up the scoring.
Wade hasn’t had the greatest luck recently, entering Thursday afternoon 12-for-his-last-62 dating back to June 29, but he’s now cracked four hits in his last three games. Although he’s not featuring the same power production as his career year in 2021 when he racked up 18 homers, Wade’s homer count of 11 seems to be on pace for an uptick in the final few months.
The fourth-inning longball came at a perfect time for Wade, who was named the Giants Heart and Hustle award winner on Thursday morning by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. The award is focused on honoring active players who best demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of baseball. Wilmer Flores earned the honor in 2022.
As they’ve done regularly the last few months, the Giants rolled out another bullpen game and turned to left-hander Scott Alexander as the opener for the afternoon. San Francisco is now 3-1 in games Alexander has opened and 15-5 overall on the season. Not a fan of revealing any possible advantages for the opposition, Kapler’s ideas for the daily pitching plan are usually kept in-house with the players and coaches, and aren’t disclosed until the game itself.
After Alexander cruised through the first inning having only allowed a hit, the Giants picked Tristan Beck as their “featured” starter – a term far more catchy than “bulk-innings arm” or “long reliever.”
An arm the organization needs to depend on because of injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Keaton Winn, Beck continued his dominance out of the bullpen by tossing four shutout innings with just two hits allowed and three strikeouts. Over 14 relief outings since May 26, Beck has allowed just five earned runs in 36 innings, with nine walks and 26 strikeouts. The right-hander has now logged multiple innings in 16 of his 22 outings with the Giants.
With clearly more room for possible starting pitchers, it’s possible Beck’s recent success could earn him a closer look in more of a conventional starting role.
Sean Manaea was next in line, but the leash was short in a one-run game. The left-hander, usually brought in for multiple innings, lasted just three hitters. After retiring the first two, he walked Corbin Caroll on five pitches. Kapler rose from the dugout to bring in righty Luke Jackson, who recorded the final out and stayed in to strike out the side in the seventh.
The Diamondbacks threatened in the eighth against Taylor Rogers, but the lefty recorded two straight outs with runners at first and second to preserve the lead. The final out of the inning was a rocket off what appeared to be Rogers’ left arm, but he recovered in time to still record the out at first.
Camilo Doval finished the bullpen’s masterful work, entering in his fifth game in six days and worked around two straight singles to record his MLB-leading 33rd save of the season.
The Giants will endure a rare Friday off-day before taking the short trip across the Bay to take on the Oakland Athletics in a two-game set starting on Saturday.
The Giants organization and Cruise announced a multi-year deal that will see the Bay Area-based self-driving car company become the official uniform patch of the team. The patch debuted on Thursday afternoon. … After his hustle RBI triple on Wednesday, Brandon Crawford’s pinky finger was feeling a bit sore after the shortstop jammed it on a headfirst slide into first base. He was available off the bench on Thursday.
Steven Rissotto has covered the San Francisco Giants for SFBay since 2021. He is the host of RizzoCast, a baseball interview show featuring players, coaches, media and fans. He attends San Francisco State University and will major in Journalism and minor in education.