As they’ve done so many times before, the San Francisco Giants have managed to fight through injuries with contributions from a very unlikely candidate. This time, with Joe Panik sidelined for thumb surgery, Alen Hanson has to take charge.
The journeyman second baseman is living up to his former billing as a top prospect, and he started in Saturday night’s 11-2 win over the Atlanta Braves, a victory that gave the Giants a fifth consecutive series win.
Hanson hit a two-run double to put San Francisco (18-15) on top in the second inning, and his two-run homer in the third stretched the lead to 6-1, as the Giants cruised against Brandon McCarthy, handing the tall right-hander his first loss of the season.
In all, McCarthy, who entered the night with a 3.09 ERA, surrendered 12 hits and eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings. Eight of those hits were singles, but it was the four that went for extra bases that made the biggest impact. An Evan Longoria double made it 4-1, and a double by Andrew McCutchen with one out in the fourth inning ignited the rally that ultimately chased McCarthy from the game.
The bullpen did little to stop the bleeding for Atlanta (19-13). Lucas Sims allowed the runner that he inherited from McCarthy in the fourth, plus one of his own on Brandon Crawford’s two-run double. Sims gave up another run on Buster Posey’s fifth-inning single, part of the Georgia native’s three-hit night, and the Giants added one more for good measure in the ninth off of A.J. Minter.
In all, the Giants racked up 18 hits, with three apiece from Posey, McCutchen and Crawford, plus four from Gorkys Hernandez. Comparatively, Hanson’s two hits look tame by themselves, but both went for extra bases and each knocked in two runs.
On the other side, Ty Blach was happy to finally receive some run support to pick up his second straight win. The lefty allowed seven hits, but held the Braves to just two runs (one earned) over 7 2/3 innings. He pitched to contact, striking out just two but holding the Atlanta offense without a walk.
The only Giants pitcher to allow a walk was Reyes Moronta, who issued two before leaving with the trainer. Pierce Johnson came in to relieve Moronta, and finished the game without allowing a runner to score.