Under sunny skies Sunday afternoon, the San Francisco Giants scored a season-high fifteen runs, setting a new mark for extra base hits at AT&T Park in the process with ten, and went on to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers 15-5. In winning their sixth straight and sweeping the first-place Brewers, the Giants outscored the Brew-Crew 31-8 in the three-game series.
Madison Bumgarner started for San Francisco and extended the streak of consecutive quality starts by the rotation to seven, which has resulted in a 6-1 home-stand. The Giants have won eight of their last nine games at AT&T Park, scoring a total of 44 runs in the current seven-game home-stand.
For once excellent pitching takes a back-seat to the “extra” display of fireworks, as Bruce Bochy’s lineup, without Buster Posey, hammered out sixteen hits, ten of them for extra bases. Only Pablo Sandoval put one over the wall, a two-run shot in the fifth, but Pablo and five other Giants ponied up to the batting cage to combine for nine other extra-base hits, including three triples.
For starters, every spot in the lineup scored at least one run, even if it was scored by a late-inning replacement.
Pablo Sandoval walked, singled, tripled, hit the home run, scored three and knocked in three.
Hunter Pence singled, doubled twice, tripled, scored three and knocked in two.
Andrew Susac, trying to fill Buster Posey’s shoes, singled, doubled twice, had three RBI’s and scored once himself.
Angel Pagan had two singles, scored a run and knocked in one.
Joe Panic tripled, walked, scored a run and had two RBI’s.
Gregor Blanco doubled, walked and scored once; Travis Ishikawa, on for Michael Morse in the sixth, walked, singled and scored a run; and even Brandon Crawford, who did not have a hit, managed to score twice and drive in a run.
Considering how poorly both Pence and Sandoval began the season, Giants fans can appreciate the fact that both seem to get hotter as the season wears on. That is the stuff of which legends are made.
The score was 7-1 at the end of six so it made sense to give Bumgarner, at 95 pitches, the rest of the night off. George Kontos and Javier Lopez pitched the seventh, with Kontos giving up a solo home run to Martin Maldonado, and when the Giants offense erupted for seven more runs in the bottom of the seventh, Bochy brought Tim Lincecum in to pitch the eighth.
Lincecum ended up finishing the game, giving up three runs, two of them earned, surrendering a solo big fly to Ryan Braun in the eighth. It was the perfect setting for Timmy to begin to work on his mechanics. The fact that he did not walk a batter is a step in the right direction. With the team playing so loosely right now, there is no timetable for Lincecum’s tuneup.
For the Brewers, who dropped into a dead tie with St. Louis, Kyle Lohse started and went five-and-two-thirds innings, giving up 7 earned runs on 9 hits with two walks and three K’s. Zach Duke relieved Lohse with two out and two on in the sixth and got out the jam when Joe Panik flied out to Braun in right field.
The seven-run uprising in the seventh came at the expense of Alfredo Figaro (two IP overall, 2 H’s, 3 ER’s, and a walk) and Will Smith (two-thirds IP, 3 H’s, 4 ER’s, a walk and a K). Brandon Kintzler got the last out of the seventh and pitched the eighth inning, giving up the final run on two hits, with a walk and a strikeout.
With the Giants already a full game ahead of St. Louis and two-and-a-half back of LA, the series sweep over the first place Brewers sends the message that the Giants can, indeed, beat a good team. They need to keep the pressure on as they head to Coors Field to complete a suspended game tomorrow, and go on to play the regularly scheduled three-game set.
If they can sweep a first place, hard-hitting team at AT&T Park, then they ought to be able to compete with a last-place team at Coors Field.
That being said, September is when it’s best to ignore the standings and just win games.