AT&T PARK — As Bruce Bochy took his seat on the stage to begin his post game press conference, a big smile flashed across his face. In a second half full of too many late and narrow defeats, it was a rare sight.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve had a game like that,” the San Francisco Giants manager said after the 12-3 beatdown of the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night. “Hopefully it’s something that helps get them going and [gives them] their confidence.”
On a night when the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals had won big, the Giants needed Matt Moore to deliver. The starter did just that, tying a career high with 11 strikeouts in 7.2 innings of one-run ball.
“It starts with that pitcher,” Bochy said. “And Matty just set the tone early.”
The bats showed up too, as the Giants piled up 19 hits in the thrashing, which keeps the club half a game behind the Mets and one game ahead of the Cardinals in the wild-card standings.
“This is fun. It really is,” Bochy said. “I wish we were in a better position, but we’ve been in this position so many times where we have to win and the guys responded well.”
Moore’s outing was especially impressive considering how poorly he’d pitched the last time. Six days earlier, Moore had authored one of the worst starts at Dodger Stadium in Giants franchise history. Los Angeles jumped Moore for six runs in one-plus inning of work, making him the third Giant pitcher ever to give up that many runs in that brief of an outing.
After his gem against the Rockies, Moore explained that the difference was all about tempo.
“If you said, ‘Hey, we’re going to go for a bike ride and bike 10 miles.’ And out the gate you’re just burning, giving everything you’ve got, that’s kind of what happened in L.A.,” Moore explained.
Holding a 2-1 advantage entering the bottom of the fifth, the Giants broke the game open with a four-run inning.
The crowd had only just sat down when Hunter Pence’s 13th home run went sailing half way up the bleachers in left-center field. Moments earlier, Buster Posey sent his second home run of the second half beyond the wall in left.
The consecutive solo shots from Posey and Pence marked the first time since July 2 that Giants teammates have gone back-to-back.
Brandon Belt drove in the first run of the rally, and appears to have found a new home in the lineup. Batting in the No. 2 spot for the second time in the season, Belt went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs.
Brandon Crawford, who was playing in his second game back since dislocating his left pinky, also enjoyed a strong night at the plate. The shortstop went 4-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Crawford also collected a pair of triples, giving him 11 on the year.
The second of his three-base hits came in the club’s five-run bottom of the eighth. The inning also featured a two-run homer from Conor Gillaspie, which landed atop the arcade above the brick archways in right field.
With the exception of Angel Pagan, every Giants starter collected an extra-base hit in the rout.
“The two teams that we’re going against had big games,” Bochy said. “They won, so we had to go out there and win this game. And they won it in a big way.”
— Bochy was some 15 minutes late for his pregame press conference on Tuesday afternoon. As an unusually large herd of reporters and TV cameras waited for the Giants manager in the home dugout, Bochy was busy standing in the batter’s box — fungo in hand — as Johnny Cueto threw a bullpen session.
“It went well. He feels great,” Bochy said. “He doesn’t feel the groin at all, so right now he’s scheduled to go Thursday. So, [that’s] good news.”
— The timeline for Eduardo Núñez’s return to the lineup remains murky. Sidelined with what Bochy called a “mild hamstring pull,” the third baseman likely won’t play until the weekend when the Los Angeles Dodgers arrive to town.
With Núñez shelved, the Giants acquired utility infielder Gordon Beckham from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league infielder Rich Rodriguez. The Giants also added Tony Sanchez to the roster as a third catcher. To clear room, the team designated left-hander Matt Reynolds for assignment and put Mac Williamson (left quad strain) on the 60-day disabled list.
— The A’s lost to the Angels, 8-1, on Tuesday. Daniel Mengden was tagged for runs in the fourth inning.