BY ANTHONY SOSA
The San Francisco Giants, backed by a five-run sixth inning outburst and a solid start from Derek Holland, took the rubber match against the Miami Marlins, 6-3, Wednesday at AT&T Park. The Giants have yet to lose any of their last eight home series, winning seven and splitting one.
The Giants’ offense started the game off very sluggish, scattering just four base runners throughout the first five innings. Marlins’ starter Jose Urena looked in complete control and was unphased through five frames. However, in the bottom of the sixth, the Giants finally put together some good at-bats and got on the board. After a leadoff walk by Kelby Tomlinson and a single by Joe Panik, Brandon Belt delivered an RBI ground-rule double into triple’s alley that scored Tomlinson. Panik later scored on a fielder’s choice hit by Mac Williamson.
Hunter Pence also chipped in with an RBI bloop single down the right-field line. Gorkys Hernandez gritted out a 14-pitch at-bat and drove in both Pence and Williamson to put together a productive five-run inning. “Their guy (Urena) was really tough and we found a way to get some runs there,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We had some great at-bats, Pence had a couple of RBIs, but I loved Gorkys’ at-bat. I thought that was the key to the game. He really grinded out that at-bat. He just came through with a huge hit to give us some cushion.”
Urena, who entered the game with a 2-8 record, had pitched well over his past couple outings. He had quality outings in each of his previous two starts. He came within one out of recording his third straight quality start in a row, Wednesday. By the time he got out of the sixth, it turned into a poor outing for the 26-year-old. He finished the game with 5 2/3 innings of work, allowing five earned runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out five Giants. Urena suffered his ninth loss of the season.
Derek Holland started the game for the Giants and delivered one of his better outings of the season. The left-hander opened the game by striking out the side in order. He only faced adversity in the second and the seventh innings. He delivered six innings of work, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and two walks. The Giants’ starter punched out seven batters as he earned both the quality start and win. “The main thing was that Hundo (Hundley) and I did a great job of establishing what we needed to, getting ahead of hitters,” Holland said. “Doing a different thing today, pitching on the other side of the rubber compared to where I’ve always been was a big part too.”
The Marlins put a run on the board against Holland with a small rally turned-in during the top of the second inning. Cameron Maybin led off the inning with a double down the right-field line. Following a Justin Bour walk, Lewis Brinson grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, which left just a runner on third. Miguel Rojas came up and delivered an RBI single. The Marlins threatened in the top of the sixth but didn’t manage to score. With runners on first and second and just one out, Holland got Bour to roll into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
After the Giants exploded for five runs in the bottom of the sixth, Bochy decided to send Holland back out for the seventh. He allowed a leadoff double to Brinson and then a single to Rojas, and that’s when Bochy tuned the ball over to the bullpen. Pinch-hitter Yadiel Rivera knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly. Two batters later, Starlin Castro came through with a run-scoring single to left field.
The Giants added an insurance run in the bottom half of the eighth inning. Nick Hundley led off with a shot into shallow triple’s alley. He hustled into second base and the ball skipped away on a throwing error by JB Shuck, which allowed him to advance to third. Hundley later scored on a bloop single by Pence with the infield drawn in. “Whenever they call on me, (I’ll) be prepared,” Pence said about his new role with the club. “I definitely feel really fresh, so that’s kind of nice with this new role. That’s one of the big parts of it. Get out there and compete and (I) found a way to get some knocks today.”
The Marlins made the ninth inning interesting. Sam Dyson entered the game looking for his second straight game with a save. He allowed a lead off single to Rojas. After striking out Rivera, Dyson allowed a double to Derek Dietrich, which was lost in the sun by Hernandez in deep center field. Castro followed with a sacrifice fly. After back-to-back singles by Brian Anderson and J.T. Realmuto, the Marlins cut the deficit to one. Bochy pulled Dyson and put in Reyes Moronta. Moronta struck out Shuck and earned his first career MLB save. “Reyes, who’s done a lot of closing in the minor leagues, he’s got the weapons to do it. He made some great pitches to finish it off,” Bochy said.
After taking the series against the Marlins, the Giants prepare for a four-game series against the San Diego Padres. They are currently 3-4 against the Padres in 2018. The series starts on Thursday as the Giants hand the ball to their ace Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 4.67) as he looks for his first win of the season. For the Padres, Tyson Ross (5-4, 3.51) toes the rubber. In his last seven outings, Ross has gone at least five innings and allowed three runs or fewer in each of those starts. The series opener is set for 7:15 p.m. at AT&T Park.
In the first inning of Wednesday’s game, Alen Hanson fouled a ball off his knee. He stayed on the ground for a couple of minutes before being helped to the dugout by the medical staff. He was diagnosed with a left knee contusion. After the game, Bochy said he’d be fine, but sore over the next couple days.
Bochy talked before Wednesday’s game about both Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto taking strides to return back to the mound for the Giants. For Samardzija, he will make his second rehab start tomorrow. “You’re looking at 60-70 pitches, so you’re around that five inning-mark if all goes well,” Bochy said. The right-hander made his first rehab start last Friday. In that outing, he pitched three innings allowing just one hit and striking out four. He’s been on the shelf since May 30 with right shoulder tightness.
As for Cueto, the plan for rehab will be based on him playing catch tomorrow. “We’re going to have Johnny play catch tomorrow and decide whether he’ll start his rehab or throw to hitters again,” Bochy said. “The lean is toward Johnny starting the rehab, to be honest with you.” The 32-year-old last pitched in early May before being placed on the DL with a right elbow sprain.
Both Hunter Strickland and Evan Longoria underwent successful surgeries on their respective hand injuries. Before Wednesday’s game, Bochy said that he had yet to talk to Strickland since he injured himself punching a door after blowing a save in Monday’s game. He planned to talk to the closer after the game. “Heat of the moment got him,” Bochy said about Strickland taking out his emotions. “Part of this game is controlling your emotions. I talk about that a lot. The best players have that emotional control that you need. It’s performing under pressure, which he has, but at the same time we all have a different way of letting it go when it’s over. Some guys are yellers, screamers, some kick stuff. Unfortunately, he decided to hit something with his hand.”
Brandon Crawford, who is currently on the paternity list, rejoined the club on Wednesday. He’ll return to the lineup starting on Thursday.