PHILADELPHIA — At the end of April, the Giants called up Christian Arroyo from triple-A Sacramento, and the third baseman has played in 33 games this season. Orlando Calixte made his major league debut earlier in the week, hitting a 2-run double in Wednesday’s series-ending loss to the Nationals. And late yesterday the club selected the contract of left-fielder and No. 17 prospect Austin Slater.
Asked whether the recent infusion of new blood signaled a change in direction for the Giants, manager Bruce Bochy wouldn’t say. “We want to take a look at these young guys and see what we’ve got,” offered Bochy, lounging in the dugout before Friday night’s game against the Phillies. “They’ve been on our radar for a while now.”
Both Calixte and Slater were in the line-up for the series opener at Citizens Bank Park, a 10-0 rout in which the players combined for two singles and an RBI. But it wasn’t the young cats who brought the noise against right-handed starter Jared Eickhoff. It was – as they say in Philly – the “old heads.”
Denard Span, who at 33 is the team’s third-oldest player, paced the Giants with three singles, two doubles, and an RBI, marking the fifth time in his career that the center-fielder has recorded five hits in a game. While 30-year-old Eduardo Nunez, who missed a game last week with concussion-like symptoms, went 3-5 with a single, two doubles, and three RBIs.
“It was good to see Span and Nunez break out,” said Bochy following the game. “They’re not going to do it every night, but if you can get the top two guys to consistently get on base for you, the offense is going to click.”
The Giants chased Eickhoff after just 2 2/3 innings, tagging him for four runs on six hits.
Ending his night a touch later than Eickhoff was Giants’ right-hander Ty Blach. He threw the first complete game of his career as well as his first shut-out, striking out four batters and walking none.
“This kid has stepped in and done a terrific job,” said Bochy of his starter. “He’s commanding the ball so well, and inducing ground balls when he needs them.”
Blach, the first Giants’ rookie to win four-or-more consecutive starts since Madison Bumgarner did it in July of 2010, was reflective talking to reporters . “As a kid growing up, you always dream about being able to throw a complete game in the big leagues. Buster called a great game, and it makes it a lot of fun to pitch when you have a big lead.”
That “big lead” was something to behold. Granted, the Phillies pitching corps is the worst in baseball, with a combined ERA of 4.95, but it was refreshing to see the offense come alive after being held to just four runs against the Nationals.
“I can’t tell you when we’ve had a game like this,” smiled Bochy, “where you can just sit back and relax. It’s a good way to start the road trip.”
In celebration of the win, Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance” was playing in the locker room. Though Slater, Arroyo, and Calixte weren’t even alive when the song came out, they were nodding their heads nonetheless. And so were Span and Nunez.
After not hearing it for a while, that old song still sounds pretty damn good.