The Giants powered up last night in support of Madison Bumgarner, launching three home runs as they beat Milwaukee for the second consecutive day, 6-3.
Hunter Pence got the scoring started in the first with a long home run to center field, his second on the season. In the fourth, Matt Duffy homered to straightaway center field with a man on, his third of the year, to put the Giants on top 5-0.”He’s stronger than a lot of people think,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Duffy. “He might weigh 160 pounds. But he has a lot of pop.” In the seventh, Brandon Belt hammered his fifth of the year, into the second deck in the right field bleachers, giving the Giants an insurance run and 6-3 lead.
An interesting fact is that the Giants have more than doubled their home run and runs scored output since Hunter Pence’s return to the lineup on May 16. The Giants hit three home runs that day against the Reds in an 11-2 victory as they celebrated Pence’s return. In hitting three again yesterday, the Giants have now hit 13 home runs in the 10 games since Pence’s return (1.3 HRs per game). While Pence was on the disabled list, the Giants managed to hit only 23 home runs in 37 games (.6 HRs per game). They’ve scored 70 runs in the last 10 games (7.0 per game), as compared to just 125 runs in the 37 games before Pence’s return (3.4 per game). So in essence, the G-men have more than doubled their power and run scoring output with Pence in the lineup. Just more evidence that Pence provides more protection for this lineup, with just the threat of him in the heart of the order.
MadBum wasn’t as dominant as he was in previous starts, but he delivered another quality start in going six innings, allowing three runs on four hits, two walks, a home run and three strikeouts. With the win, Bumgarner improved his record to 6-2 and his ERA rose slightly to 3.00.
Bumgarner started off well, not allowing a hit through the first 3 ⅔ innings, until Aramis Ramirez hit a first-pitch changeup into the left field seats to put the Brewers on the board. In his final inning, the sixth, MadBum gave up a walk, single, double and sacrifice fly, as Milwaukee pushed across two runs to close the gap to 5-3. “I was hoping to stick around a little longer than I did, but we just had a long inning there in the sixth. (The first five innings) were pretty decent, the efficiency was probably a little better than it has been of late, but I just had a rough sixth inning.”
Once again, the Giants’ solid relief pitching came through to preserve the victory as George Kontos (2.08 ERA), Sergio Romo (3.94), and Santiago Casilla (1.37) shut out the Brewers over the last three innings, with Casilla picking up his 13th save.
With the victory, the G-men have now won 10 of their last 12 games, are 18-7 for the month of May, and 27-20 overall. They trail the first place Dodgers by two games, as the Dodgers won again yesterday, shutting out the Braves behind Clayton Kershaw. It’s looking like this summer is going to be a lot of fun, watching the Giants and Dodgers battle for the division title.
The final game of this series and road trip is an early start today (10:40 am PT), as Ryan Vogelsong (3-2, 4.60) opposes Mike Fiers (1-4, 4.63). Fiers is filling in for the injured Wily Peralta who was placed on the disabled list Monday. Fires will be pitching on three days’ rest. Vogelsong has pitched “lights out” over his last four starts, going 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA.