ORACLE PARK — Mauricio Dubon felt no ill effects from a Wednesday-night basebath collision when Bruce Bochy slotted him in at leadoff Thursday morning.
“I thought I was done for,” Dubon said. “Then I caught my breath … you’ve got to be tough. That’s baseball.”
The 25-year-old rookie then went out and had arguably his best game as a Giant in San Francisco’s 8-3 win over Colorado. Dubon and Mike Yastrzemski, both key pieces for 2020 and beyond, combined to drive in or score five of San Francisco’s eight runs, buoying the team as young righty Tyler Beede exited early with injury.
“Whether I play him second or short, no matter where I hit him in the order, he just goes out and plays,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Dubon. “Nothing affects him. And that’s what’s going to make him a nice player.”
Dubon homered and doubled in a three-hit effort, but started the day in a supporting role. Beede — like Dubon, a piece of the long-term puzzle — was exceptional in his brief stint, showing his ceiling in an 11-pitch, first-inning battle against Nolan Arenado — one of the best hitters in baseball — featuring 96-mph fastballs and a variety of darting breaking balls for a strikeout.
“His good stuff was as as he’s thrown this year,” Bochy said. “He was really locked in with all his pitches.”
In his 3 1/3 innings, Beede fanned seven, allowing just one baserunner when his strike three, 82-mph curve to Yonathan Daza kicked away from catcher Aramis Garcia in the third. Beede — who struggled with command during his late-season call-up last season and who’s been maddeningly inconsistent in 2019 — clutched his left oblique after striking out Ryan McMahon in the fourth, and left with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Dubon.
The 25-year-old infielder led off the game with a first-pitch double, advanced on a fly ball and scored on a single, as Kevin Pillar shortened up on a 1-2 offering and poked it through the right side, but the Rockies tied things up as soon as Beede left. Burch Smith allowed a single and a game-tying triple to Sam Hilliard in the fourth.
Yastrzemski, the Giants’ 29-year-old rookie, untied things in the bottom of the inning with his 21st home run — a 429-foot home bomb over Triples Alley. Unlike Dubon — considered the Milwaukee Brewers’ No. 3 prospect when he was acwuired at the trade deadline — Yastrzemski had spent seven years in the minor leagues when first-year president of baseball operations traded for him in March.
“It’s more just accomplishing dreams,” Yastrzemski said. “Looking back on it, it’s what I waited for a long time and really worked hard to get to, and it’s about remembering the process it took and not taking it for granted.”
Yastrzemski is now the sixth Giants rookie to record 21 or more homers in a season, following Jim Ray Hart (31 in 1964), Dave Kingman (29 in 1972), Bobby Thompson (29 in 1947), Orlando Cepeda (25 in 1958) and Bill White (22 in 1956). Hes locked himself into the everyday leadoff spot, and looks like he’ll be a corner outfield starter again next season, while Dubon has all but secured his Opening Day spot at second.
After the Rockies plated another run in the top of the fifth, Dubon came through again in the bottom, cashing in an Alex Dickerson leadoff double with a liner to right that kicked off Hilliard.
In the seventh, he socked a 1-0 offering for his third hit of the day and fourth homer in just 27 games — a 370-foot solo shot to left that put the Giants up by two. That gave the Giants a 4-2 lead, and gave Dubon five hits in his previous seven plate appearances.
“I’m trying to… every day trying to get bette, Dubon said. “Try to get better every day. Get better every day. It doesn’t stay the same. You just gotta get better.”
Dubon is now hitting .280, slugging .494 with an OPS of .817 and has played flawless defense. His extrapolated defensive runs saved is 28 over 1,200 innings per Baseball Reference, which would lead all of Major League Baseball.
“I can’t tell you exactly what’s going to happen [next year],” said Bochy, retiring at the end of this season. “But I think you look at what he’s done, he’s made a lot of noise there. I’m sure he’ll be in the mix on this team.”
Trevor Story led off the eighth with a double, stole third (his 22nd) and came home when Fernando Abad uncorked a wild pitch to Hilliard, but Yastrzemski keyed a four-run eighth, sending a sinking one-out liner to center to bring home Pillar, aboard with a leadoff triple. A two-run Aramis Garcia single and an RBI groundout by Alex Dickerson rounded out the scoring.
“I take pleasure watching guys come up and do well,” Bochy said. “You pull for them, you want them to do well and show what they’re capable of doing.”