After scoring a total of just five runs in the previous two games in Colorado (both losses), the Giants’ offense reawakened yesterday in the sixth inning, exploding for seven runs in winning the series opener against the Brewers at Miller Park.
Prior to the two losses in Colorado, the Giants’ offense had scored 71 runs over 11 consecutive games (6.45 per game), winning nine of them. In the win over the Brewers, the Giants knocked 13 hits and once again were very proficient with runners in scoring position, going 6 for 11.
In the decisive sixth inning outburst , the G-men sent 12 men to the plate against four Brewers pitchers, pounding out seven hits, two walks and two errors by Brewers’ center fielder Carlos Gomez. “Lohse was throwing the ball really well, really hitting his spots, but it got contagious there in the sixth. It was a tough travel day; you get in here at 1 in the morning and then come out here and face a tough pitcher like that. We just put together some good at-bats, and it was a nice comeback,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
Nori Aoki has the hottest bat at the moment, reaching base in all five at bats, as he went 4 for 4 with a home run, walk, two runs scored, and two RBIs. Aoki is 6 for 7 over his last two games and is hitting .312 for the season. Hunter Pence went 3 for 5 with a double, walk, run scored and two RBIs, in raising his average to .342. Matt Duffy continued to prove that he deserves the permanent starting third baseman job, going 2 for 5, scoring a run, and driving in his 20th run of the year, while raising his batting average to .302. And Andrew Susac filled in nicely behind the dish, going 2 for 4 with a run scored and RBI.
Offensively, the Giants are third in MLB with a team batting average of .274 and now 15th in runs scored. It was just a few weeks ago, that this offense was 28th in runs scored. In fact, looking at this lineup, now that Hunter Pence is back in the equation, this could be the best offense the Giants have seen since Barry Bonds’ last season in 2007. Yep, just how EVP of Baseball Operations, Brian Sabean, drew it up.
Tim Lincecum (5-2, 2.56) was credited with the victory, as beneficiary of the Giants’ uprising in the top of the sixth inning. Lincecum went five innings, throwing 93 pitches, and allowed four runs on five hits, walking three and striking out four. Timmy struggled with this location in walking three and allowing three home runs. “I just didn’t finish off the pitches the way I like to,” Lincecum said. “Fastball running middle-in to Braun, and a curveball that kind of hung over the plate to Khris (Davis).”
Jeremy Affeldt and Hunter Strickland came on to pitch no-hit ball over the last four innings to preserve the victory. Strickland has now thrown 4 ⅓ innings in two appearances since being called up from Triple-A Sacramento, and hasn’t allowed a run, while striking out six.
With the win, the Giants improved to 26-20 on the year, and remain two games back of the first place Dodgers.
Game two of this series takes place tonight, with Madison Bumgarner (5-2, 2.84) opposing Matt Garza (2-6, 5.71). Garza has allowed 14 earned runs over his last two starts. MadBum is 4-2 with a 1.65 ERA against Milwaukee in his career (seven starts). He’s even better at Miller Park, going 1-0 with an 0.57 ERA in two starts.
- The Giants scored eight runs without the benefit of their best offensive player, Buster Posey. Look for him to start behind the plate tonight at Miller Park, where he’s a lifetime .381 hitter, with six home runs and 15 RBIs in 42 at bats.
- Nori Aoki continues to be extremely consistent in the role of leadoff hitter. He’s now reached base safely in 14 of his last 15 games and with a slash line of .312/.391/.412, he’s been an offensive catalyst all season.