With an 11-8 win on Wednesday, the San Francisco Giants completed a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies, even with a getaway day lineup taking the field.
With the likes of Donovan Solano getting at-bats while Alex Dickerson and Buster Posey sat on the bench, San Francisco (47-49) still feasted offensively and extended the team’s torrid run to 12 wins in 14 games.
The biggest factor over the past 14 games — which started on the last day of June — has undoubtedly been production from the outfield, made up of three players that weren’t on the Opening Day roster. Onn Wednesday, the Giants got two hits from Austin Slater, two from Mike Yastrzemski and one from Kevin Pillar.
Slater scored on Pablo Sandoval’s two-run double in the first, Yastrzemski knocked Sandoval in shortly thereafter and Pillar knocked an insurance run in to help put the game away in the eighth. Even with the day off, Dickerson — another mid-season addition — still got his licks in, delivering a key pinch-hit single in the top of the seventh off flamethrower Carlos Estevez to open up a 7-5 lead.
The real hero, though, was Solano. Having spent the entirety of the last two years in the minors, Solano has been a key contributor for the Giants as a utilityman and platoon bat, but even facing a right-hander as Jon Gray took the hill on Wednesday, Solano made his mark, going 4-for-5.
Solano hit his second homer of the season and ninth of his career in the sixth inning, a no-doubter to left-center to give the visitors a 6-5 lead. He also doubled in the fourth inning, singled to set up Dickerson’s RBI single in the seventh and came around to score on a Brandon Belt RBI single to pad the lead. For good measure, he also hustled for a double to right-center in the eighth inning, taking advantage of the spacious Coors Field dimensions as Joe Panik raced home with San Francisco’s final run of the day.
Solano raised his batting average to .337 and his OPS to .837. For reference, his highest single-season average is .295 and his highest OPS for a year is .717, marks he hasn’t posted since his 2012 rookie season, in which he had 316 plate appearances with the Miami Marlins as a 24-year-old.
While Solano isn’t the only contributor who’s factored in to the Giants’ hot play as of late, his production has been typical of a team that’s gotten solid at-bats out of anyone and everyone. Stephen Vogt hit his fourth homer of the year and second of the series to give his team a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth, dashing any hopes Gray had of replicating his prior start, in which he held the Cincinnati Reds to two runs over seven innings.
Nolan Arenado tied the game with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning — the last of the five runs Shaun Anderson allowed over his 4 1/3 innings — but it would be the Giants who emerged with the sweep and left Colorado (46-50) thinking about selling at the upcoming trade deadline after losing four straight to a San Francisco team that had won just two games at Coors Field over the prior two years.
The Giants — long thought to be deadline sellers as Farhan Zaidi beings a multi-year, bottom-up rebuild — have transformed the picture in the National League West. When they return home to open a four-game set with the New York Mets on Thursday, their flag will be raised to the third spot in the division on the pole in right-center at Oracle Park, above the Rockies and San Diego Padres.
Winning the division is all but out of the question with the Los Angeles Dodgers 14 games clear of second place entering Wednesday’s action, but a wild card race in the tightly-packed NL is still a possibility. No, the Giants don’t have many assets to trade for impact pieces, but if the current roster can keep it going, Bruce Bochy’s final year as manager might have a better outcome than many expected.