Steven Duggar hit a 427-foot grand slam, which was both the longest homerun of his career and the first slam. Brandon Crawford hit his 11th homer of the season, keeping pace with the league leaders on a day when the Giants shortstop had six RBIs. Darin Ruf flirted with the cycle by hitting a two-point shot, and Evan Longoria added his own blast.
The Giants had 16 hits and four homers in the Cincinnati Reds’ 19-4 explosion on Thursday, but two of the day’s most impressive field appearances have completely escaped attention. Unless you were seated in the Great American Ball Park tour canoe.
In a 1-0 game, Mike Yastrzemski trailed 0-2 as he led the third, then watched a lost ground, two very close inside four knives and a divider attempting to pass, shooting a first not. Three batters later, with the Giants holding a pair, Longoria fell 1-2 behind but had a seven-length walk.
Amid all the fireworks, Yastrzemski and Longoria have had the kinds of field appearances the Giants seek day after day, set after set over 162 games. Sometimes they won’t get anywhere. Sometimes the opposing pitcher is too good to go with you, but you can still hit him with a few quick hits. And sometimes, as the Giants showed on Thursday, it all comes together.
It has become very clear that every Giants hitter who walks for home plate has a good plan in place and has confidence in the pre-game preparation in place. There are a lot of different ways to describe it, both with numbers and beliefs, but let’s just go with this:
If you’re an opposing pitcher, it’s just a huge pain in the ass to face this lineup of Giants.
âYou know, sometimes you don’t see everything clicking, but you know it’s in there because you see the quality of the stick,â manager Gabe Kapler said. âI think we saw the quality of the battles today, working deep counts and seeing a lot of throws, and then those battles ended with a lot of strong contacts and extra baselines. -run explosion like that. This happens once in a blue moon, but I think it’s an indication that we have some quality bats. “
The Giants got just one run in the first inning, but three of their top four hitters went to a 3-2 count. They frustrated Tyler Mahle – who had had a really good start to the season – by spitting on pitches just outside the zone, and by the end of the first he was already 28 pitches away.
Starting with Yastrzemski, the formation went on foot, single, single, walk, single, single in the third to knock Mahle out of the game after 66 shots that registered just six strikeouts. Four of those six hitters saw five or more pitches. The exceptions were Crawford and Alex Dickerson, who both fielded first-pitch splitters for the singles.
Duggar opened the game with a grand slam on – what else – a 3-2 throw and Ruf added a two-point shot that capped the set with nine points. The Giants worked so many deep accounts that they also knocked out Mahle replacement Michael Feliz.
In all, they saw 57 shots in the third inning and forced the Reds pitchers to pitch 97 shots to get the first nine out. The Reds threw 205 shots that day, including 35 from two different backup pitchers.
“I think when we see a batter go down to a 0-2 count or a 1-2 count, the point is to see another pitch, fight for another pitch, get to 2-2, and that’s how we âroot you in the canoe.â See one more, let’s go to 3-2. âOr if they’re down 0-2, the mantra is ‘Let’s get back to that tally’ Kapler said. âThe further we go through the tally, the more likely it is that we may have some error and some ground we can drive. I think it’s a process. It is not focused on results. If we’re leading 2-0 or we’re ahead by a bigger margin, we’re still trying to compete and fight, scratch and claw for every throw and stick. “
It was an extreme case, but that’s nothing new for the Giants. Thursday’s game was the 11th time a starter has failed five innings against them, and in 44 games they have let an opponent register one out in the seventh inning just three times. Unsurprisingly, they lead the National League with 4.08 shots per appearance at home plate.
âI think it’s just an honor to (hit coaches Justin Viele, Donnie Ecker and Dustin Lind) just the staff combined with some really good players is a recipe for a lot of success,â said Duggar. âIt was really fun being on that team. The contagiousness all around – even on the days we demolish you can just see guys throwing some great players. Round … we were just looking for the knockout and we were there. ‘have had and have continued to continue. “
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The victory secured a Reds sweep and a 6-2 road trip that held the Giants in first place in the NL West even as the Padres and Dodgers got under way. They’re guaranteed to be at the top of the division when Trevor Bauer takes the mound at Oracle Park on Friday night, but no one was having too much of a party on the way home. They will continue to squeak, day after day, round after round.
âWe stay humble and we stay hungry,â Kapler said. “We have a long way to go.”