Reporting from ORACLE PARK
Casey Schmitt shattered a lengthy homerless streak, Patrick Bailey added another clutch knock, and Tristan Beck debuted in his first career start as the Giants avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Braves with a 8-5 victory on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Park.
After emerging as a quality bulk-innings reliever during his first 28 big-league games, Beck returned to his starting roots with a bang by firing 4-1/3 innings with three hits and three earned runs allowed. The rookie right-hander was perfect through four innings, against not only one of baseball’s best offenses, but also the organization that drafted him out of Stanford in the fourth round in 2019.
Beck is now San Francisco’s 13th different starting pitcher this season and fourth rookie – Kyle Harrison, Ryan Walker and Keaton Winn are the others. The Braves broke through against him in the fifth, breaking up the perfect game when Matt Olson drew a leadoff walk and ending the no-hitter when Eddie Rosario doubled two batters later. Travis d’Arnaud was next, cashing in with a two-run single to right, effectively ending Beck’s outing.
On his outing, Beck said the key against a tough offense like Atlanta’s was to go right after them:
“Obviously you gotta pay those guys the respect they deserve. … It’s one of the best offenses in baseball by the numbers – they’re obviously pretty good. You gotta go right after guys and it just felt like me and Patrick Bailey were on the same page all day, doing a good mix of kind of nibbling on the edges, but also not being afraid to just go right after them. So yeah, for the first four, things went really well.”
On the outing, Giants manager Gabe Kapler praised his righty:
“I mean, he knew what the assignment was, clearly. We needed somebody to go a little bit deeper in the game than some of our more recent openers.”
Shortly after Beck walked off to a standing ovation from the home crowd, the Giants bullpen coughed up the lead when Nicky Lopez singled to left off southpaw Scott Alexander to give the Braves a 3-2 lead.
The fifth ended on a strange play; with runners at second and third, Ronald Acuna Jr. tapped a slow roller to first baseman J.D. Davis’ backhand side. Davis made the play, but flipped it to Alexander, who was nowhere in the zip code of first base. Needing to act quickly, Alexander rebounded by flipping to second baseman Thairo Estrada at first for the out. Just as the out was recorded, the runner at third broke for the plate and Estrada fired to the plate to complete the 3-1-4-2 double play.
On the wild double play, Giants manager Gabe Kapler said it was something he’s never seen before:
“That was really cool. I don’t remember ever seeing one like that either. It’s a really heads up play by Scott, obviously to read the fact there’s no chance he was gonna get to first base. J.D. did exactly what he’s supposed to do – he was gonna flip it to the pitcher because it’s all he really can do. He doesn’t really know where Thairo is in space. And Thairo, really heads up play at first base. Great tag by Pat. It was one of the funner plays that we’ve had all year.”
The Giants answered back with a four-run inning in the home half of the fifth, topped off by Bailey’s clutch, bases-loaded double that snuck under the glove of Olson – the owner of two Gold Glove Awards at first base – and trickled down the right field line to give San Francisco a 6-3 lead and keep Beck off the hook for the loss.
Marcell Ozuna launched a two-run homer in the sixth off Alexander to make it a one-run game, but the Giants once again answered back by adding two more in the bottom half – an RBI single from Austin Slater and squeeze-bunt from Estrada to extend the lead to 8-5.
Schmitt last homered on May 11 in Arizona against the Diamondbacks in his third big league game. After several months of increasingly frustrating offensive woes, Schmitt turned on a changeup from Braves starter Jared Shuster and destroyed it toward the back of the left field bleachers for a solo-shot in the second.
After being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento last Saturday, Schmitt is now 2-for-15 in his last seven games.
The Giants will open up a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night as rookie left-hander Kyle Harrison (0-0, 5.40 ERA) will make his Oracle Park debut in his second big league start. Young lefty Andrew Abbott (8-3, 3.16 ERA) will receive the start for the Reds.
Outfielders Mike Yastrzemski and Mitch Haniger could be activated during the upcoming series against the Cincinnati Reds, according to manager Gabe Kapler. Yastrzemski has been banged up with a lingering hamstring injury since July 31 and likely won’t require a rehab assignment – he’s been squaring off against injured righty John Brebbia in simulated games, so it’s possible that’s all he’ll need to be ready. Haniger has spent the last few days on a rehab assignment for Triple-A Sacramento.
The Giants added Mike Murphy, the organization’s longest tenured employee in franchise history, to their Wall of Fame during a pregame ceremony. Murphy joined the team back in 1958 and served as a bat boy for two seasons before being promoted to running the clubhouse, a role he fulfilled in some capacity or another until retiring ahead of the 2023 season. All in all, Murphy spent 65 years in the organization. Over 40 former Giants players and personnel were on hand for the ceremony.
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.