AT&T PARK — The San Francisco Giants trailed by two runs before Ty Blach recorded the first out of his Wednesday start against the Colorado Rockies.
Coming off a three-inning, seven-run debacle against the New York Mets in his last outing, the left-hander labored through some early shakiness.
But Blach allowed just one unearned run after Nolan Arenado’s two-RBI single in the first, and San Francisco rallied for a 5-3 victory and its first series sweep of the season. His 6.1-inning performance was crucial after the Giants played a 14-inning game Tuesday night.
“[It was] really a gutty effort he gave us,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We were trying to squeeze everything out from him because our bullpen situation, and boy he gave us a great effort out there.”
San Francisco used six relievers in the four-hour and 45-minute win that placed closer Mark Melancon on the disabled list with a strained right pronator. As a result, Bochy said before Wednesday’s game that his bullpen would be limited. He also sat lineup regulars Denard Span, Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey in the series final.
That allowed a new member of the roster to make his mark.
Third baseman Jae-Gyun Hwang, who signed from Korea in the offseason, needed just three at-bats to launch his first major league home run.
His sixth-inning blast — a no-doubter to deep left field — gave the Giants a 4-3 lead and brought the crowd to its feet. Known for his post-dinger bat flips in Korea, Hwang extended his bat high in the air before electing to drop it down gently in an off-the-cuff moment.
He went 1-for-4 and added a fourth-inning RBI ground out. After the game, he received a beer shower in the Giants clubhouse.
“The only thing I’ve imagined is just to set my feet on the field and the grass at AT&T Park,” Hwang said. “I never even dreamed of hitting a home run here.”
Other role players stepped up, too, helping San Francisco rack up seven hits.
Catcher Nick Hundley, starting in place of Posey, provided a two-out, two-run home run down the left field line in the fourth, and right fielder Austin Slater filled in for Pence by going 1-for-3 with a walk.
With a 4-3 seventh-inning lead, Bochy left Blach in the game despite a pitch count above 100. While the left-handed starter allowed a one-out single, forcing Bochy to turn to his relief unit, he finished with just one earned run allowed in 6.1 frames.
“I felt a lot better, especially as the game went on,” Blach said.
George Kontos finished the seventh and got the first out of the eighth without surrendering the lead. In place of Melancon, Steven Okert and Hunter Strickland combined to close out the game — and a third-straight win — with a flawless final 1.2 innings.
“This game is about picking each other up and that’s what we did this entire series,” Blach said.
–Mark Melancon, placed on the DL after appearing Tuesday night, received a PRP injection on his injured right arm. There’s no official timetable on his return, but he’s unlikely to come back pre-All Star break.
–Reliever Dan Slania was called up from Double-A to replace Melancon but didn’t arrive at the ballpark until the second or third inning, according to Bochy. The right-hander woke up before dawn to travel from Trenton, New Jersey, to San Francisco.
–Before this outing, Blach had allowed 22 earned runs in his previous 21.1 innings of work (9.28 ERA)