Only one time all year, coming into Saturday’s game in Arizona, had the San Francisco Giants led after the first inning. Given that they had been outscored 46-6 in the first inning this season, that’s not all that surprising.
Against the Diamondbacks, though, San Francisco scored first, scored late and scored often, banging out 11 hits and two home runs.
In the Giants’ 8-5 win over Arizona, seven different Giants drove in runs, as San Francisco got key hits in key spots, found holes and backed up Madison Bumgarner, giving the team a chance to take the series on Sunday.
The biggest blows came from Brandon Crawford, who, after spending the day watching his oldest son play his first game of youth baseball, drove home two and scored one.
Crawford — whose wife and four children live in Arizona during the season — had an RBI triple and a sacrifice fly on the day, pressing San Francisco’s advantage in the middle innings, something the Giants have had trouble doing over the course of the season.
San Francisco got on the board early with their seventh first-inning run of the season, when a Joe Panik infield single and a laced single to right by Steven Duggar set up the heart of the order.
Buster Posey struck out, but Brandon Belt pounded an 83-mph Zack Godley curve to the deepest part of the park in left center. The 413-foot drive was caught, but allowed Panik to move to third, as Belt walked back to the dugout and shook his head — the same reaction he’s had when he pounds a would-be homer into Triples Alley. Instead, it was a humble two-out flare to center by Evan Longoria that brought Panik home, giving San Francisco a 1-0 lead.
Despite working 30 pitches in the first inning against starter Zack Godley — who owned a 7.74 ERA coming in — the Giants couldn’t push more than one run across. They then busted out for three in the third, starting with a four-pitch walk by Panik, followed by a Duggar triple (his second of the year), an RBI single by Posey and finally a two-out Crawford sac fly, where he dug out an 83-mph curve off his shoe tops and flicked it deep enough into center to give the Giants a 4-0 lead.
Bumgarner threw 21 pitches in the second, but faced little stress after that, aside from allowing a leadoff, first-pitch laser to left to Eduardo Escobar in the fourth. In his first six innings, he threw just 81 pitches, striking out six and walking one, though that one did score on an Adam Jones single in the fifth.
After Evan Longoria led off the seventh with a four-pitch walk, Crawford yanked a hanging breaking ball off the hands and tucked it inside the first base line for an RBI triple. The Giants nearly tacked on a sixth run on the next batter, but a 105-mph bullet by Kevin Pillar was speared with a high backhand from Escobar. Instead, that RBI went to Mac Williamson, who sent a humble grounder through the right side.
Bumgarner hummed for the most part, aside from some late squirrelyness from his curve, and hit 93 mph on his 100th pitch of the night in the seventh inning. Five pitches later, John Ryan Murphy, 0-for-3 lifetime against Bumgarner, got down 2-2 with men on first and second and one out, and went down to one knee to hit Bumgarner’s last pitch of the evening inside the third base line for a pinch-hit double. An RBI groundout by Adam Jones against reliever Sam Dyson narrowed the lead to 6-4. Dyson would hit Ketel Marte on the elbow guard — a pitch which caromed off and hit Buster Posey on the thigh — before retiring Escobar to end the threat.
Pablo Sandoval gave the Giants a bit of breathing room in the top of the eighth with a two-out, 0-2, pinch-hit homer, looking like he got jammed on a low and inside pitch from reliever Matt Andriese, but instead yanking a backdoor breaker over the fence in right. Brandon Belt followed in the top of the ninth by dunking his seventh homer of the year, this one into the swimming pool beyond the right field wall, punishing an 85-mph changeup that leaked back out over the plate. It’s a ball that may very well not have been a home run at Oracle Park.
That insurance run proved to be just that, as closer Will Smith allowed a line-drive solo to left by catcher Carson Kelly on a breaking ball down and in. That was the only blemish on Smith’s ninth, though, as he struck out the side in order after the home run.