The Giants’ returned to AT&T Park last night riding a three-game winning streak, sporting an 11-2 record over their previous 13 games. And yes, the surge continues.
Locked in a tortuous pitcher’s duel through 6 ½ innings, Brandon Belt ignited the Giants with a towering home run to left-center field with one out in the bottom of the seventh. The homer, Belt’s sixth of the year, got the Giants’ offense going, as they went off in the bottom of the eighth scoring six more runs to put the game away, 7-0, recording their fourth consecutive home shutout in the process.
Rookie pitcher Chris Heston (5-3, 3.82) was coming off of two sub-par starts for the Giants and was looking to get back on track. Did he ever. Heston pitched 7 ⅓ uneventful, shutout innings, allowing just four hits, while striking out six and walking one. Heston allowed only one runner to reach scoring position in this one. “AT&T Park gives you the confidence that you can throw strikes in hitters’ counts and let the defense work,” said Heston.
The Giants’ bullpen continued it’s stellar performance, as Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez combined for 1 ⅔ innings of no-hit ball to close out the victory. Giants’ relievers have thrown 11 ⅔ consecutive innings of shutout ball over the past four games, allowing just four hits while striking out 15. The starting pitching has done the job as well, allowing just eight runs over those four games in 24 ⅓ innings (2.96 ERA). Defensively, for the month of May, the G-men have allowed just 3.4 runs per game and have tossed eight shutouts. That’s some serious ownage.
The Giants’ offense tallied 12 hits in this one, including a home run, four doubles and a triple. They also continued to hit extremely well with runners in scoring position, going 6 for 11 in those situations. Manager Bruce Bochy fielded his “A” lineup last night, with the lowest batting average for his starting position players being .293. As a team, they’re hitting .275 for the year, second best in MLB and they’re averaging 4.2 runs scored per game, good for 14th best in the league. For the month of May however, the team is averaging 5.1 runs per game, and they lead the National League in the category.
Nori Aoki continued his hot hitting, going 2 for 4 with a run scored, raising his average to .326. He has now hit safely in 10 of his last 16 at bats (.625). Joe Panik (.296) doubled, knocking in two runs and scored a run, Hunter Pence (.294) tripled, driving in two runs, scoring a run, and Brandon Belt (.305) went 2 for 4 with a home run, double, RBI and two runs scored. “I’m seeing the ball well and not trying to do too much,” Belt said. “When I do try to do too much, that’s when I get into trouble.” Crawford (.296) also went 2 for 4 with a double and RBI, while Angel Pagan (.315) went 2 for 4 as well. Lots of contributors on offense, as has been the case all month.
The Giants will look to extend their win streak to five games tonight (Orange Friday) when Tim Hudson (2-4, 5.04) takes the hill against Mike Foltynewicz (3-1, 4.25). Foltynewicz has pitched well in his first five big leagues starts, striking out 30 in 29 ⅔ innings, while walking 12. Hudson will look to get back on track as he’s mostly struggled in his last four starts.
At 29-20, the Giants are just ½ game back of the Dodgers for the NL West lead.
- The G-men have won 14 of their last 17 at AT&T Park
- The Giants have won 12 of 14 games and 20 games for the month of May
- The last and only time that the Giants have recorded four consecutive home shutouts since moving to San Francisco was in June of 2012
- Since the return of Hunter Pence on May 16th, the Giants’ offense has nearly doubled its run-scoring capacity (6.4 vs 3.3) per game
- Jake Peavy got shelled in his second rehab start, allowing six runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings Wednesday night at Triple-A Sacramento. Look for Peavy to make at least two more starts with the River Cats
- Casey McGehee went 0 for 4 last night in a 3-2 loss against the Nashville Sound, and is now 2 for 13 (.154) with no RBIs in his first three starts at Triple-A