Even with fans back at Oracle Park, San Francisco Giants pitchers have been able to find some solitude while warming up in the bullpen, and Anthony DeSclafani took advantage of that on Sunday.
“I was saying to (pitching coach Andrew) Bailey that we needed to make it a Sinatra Sunday,” DeSclafani said. “Turns out we had a speaker in the bullpen and he cranked it up.”
Utilizing the sheltered bullpen beyond the wall in left-center, something that would have never been possible until the bullpens were reconfigured before the 2020 season, DeSclafani was able to calm himself to the sounds of his fellow New Jersey native before finishing off a weekend of excellent pitching for the Giants. They allowed just four runs over the entire weekend, and he capped it off by striking out eight over six shutout innings to finish off a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a 4-0 win.
“Everyone’s been doing their part in the rotation,” DeSclafani said after making his second start with the team. “As a staff, you just kind of roll with it when things are going good.”
His sixth and final inning was by far his most laborious. Staked out to a 2-0 lead since the first, he allowed a leadoff double to Trevor Story and an infield hit to Charlie Blackmon. Ryan McMahon’s flyout to the track advanced both runners, but DeSclafani finished his day off by striking out both Josh Fuentes and Sam Hilliard to get out of the inning unscathed.
The offense was quick to reward DeSclafani for his work, with Brandon Belt taking German Marquez deep for his first homer of the year, getting the ball rolling as part of a rally that ultimately chased Marquez, Colorado’s Opening Day starter, from the game. In fact, the lineup got all the way to the pitcher’s spot, forcing manager Gabe Kapler to pinch-hit for DeSclafani with Darin Ruf in a bases-loaded situation.
“We had actually planned to send him back out if his spot hadn’t come up,” Kapler said. “He was really dominant through periods and was able to reach back for everything he needed. He did a nice job executing his slider and his changeup.”
That bottom of the sixth was the first substantial offensive inning for San Francisco (6-3) since the first. After Marquez retired the first two batters he faced, Alex Dickerson hit a solo homer and Belt worked his way back from an 0-2 count. With the count full, Belt took a sizable lead off first, but rather than waiting for the pitch before running, he broke for second and stole the base with nobody covering.
“That was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Belt said. “Some people call it stupidity, I call it instincts. (First base coach) Antoan (Richardson) kept telling me to get off the bag, and I looked up and I was about halfway there.
That steal paid off immediately as Evan Longoria singled to center on the very next pitch, allowing Belt to score from second and open up a two-run lead in an inning where Marquez was forced to throw 36 pitches. The 25-year-old Venezuelan settled down from there, with only LaMonte Wade Jr. finding success against him until the rally in the sixth.
Wade Jr., who was on the taxi squad and had been prepping with the Giants’ alternate site crew in Sacramento, was notified Saturday night that he would be making the drive down on Sunday, but didn’t know until an hour before the game that he’d be in the lineup.
“It’s been a crazy day, but it was a good day,” said Wade Jr., who was inserted into the lineup after Reyes Moronta was placed on the injured list with a right flexor strain and Austin Slater was held out to continue healing from a ball he fouled off his foot. Wade Jr. singled to center in the second, doubled in the fifth and walked in the sixth, becoming the last batter Marquez faced. Robert Stephenson came in to face Ruf and induced an inning-ending groundout.
Colorado (3-7) had a shot to make things interesting in the seventh as pinch-hitter Yonathan Daza and Raimel Tapia each singled off Jose Alvarez, leading Kapler to bring in Tyler Rogers for a right-on-right matchup with Trevor Story. Story walked, but Rogers got a first-pitch comebacker from Charlie Blackmon, who saw just five total pitches in his four trips to the plate, to end the inning. After the Giants added on a run against Carlos Estevez in the bottom of the seventh on Longoria’s second two-out RBI single of the day, Rogers took care of the eighth in order, getting another comebacker from McMahon to start the inning before retiring Fuentes and Hilliard on weakly-hit balls in the air.
“He’s always interesting to evaluate because he’s excellent at getting weak contact,” Kapler said of Rogers. “I don’t think he’s a straight-up righty killer. At times, he’s better against lefties. His slider can run up and in to lefties, and it’s a very unusual pitch for them.”
The Rockies did put together one last threat in the ninth against Wandy Peralta as both Garrett Hampson and Tapia walked, but Story grounded into a force out on a 3-1 pitch to end the game and secure the Giants’ first shutout since September 13, 2019.