SF Giants’ bullpen steps up huge time to clean Brewers, enhance to .500 | Baseball
MILWAUKEE — The Giants said they planned to end their stinking series finale in Minnesota quickly, and they kept their word on Thursday, earning a 5-0 win in their first of four games against the Brewers.
Having won for the eighth time in the last ten games, it should come as no surprise that the bullpen played an important role. Wait, you say, that bullpen who was the third worst in the majors month one of the season and blew 12 leads this season? Expecting them to win an entire game for the second time this week, the Giants continued their strong performance and did it flawlessly.
Even the best bullpen games can resemble a jigsaw puzzle with some pieces missing, but the Giants (25-25) put together a stained glass masterpiece to bring their record back to .500. Manager Gabe Kapler combined six arms that collectively knocked out the Brewers for nine innings – San Francisco’s fourth shutout of the season.
Scott Alexander initially opened 1-2-3, and the Giants’ pitchers outplayed the first 11 batters they faced and only conceded four hits for the remainder of the game. With 13 strikeouts, her pitching team recorded double-digit strikeouts for the 20th time this season.
Michael Conforto continued his winning streak with a mammoth home run that nearly hit the SUV on display in the hall at right midfield — his 11th top-team hit of the season and his seventh since May 10, a 14-game streak , averaging one every other day — and hitting base on every other three at-bats, even adding in his second steal of the season.
LaMonte Wade Jr. also grabbed a sack after giving the Giants the first run of the game in heat five with an RBI single. The Giants’ rookie pair extended the lead in the eighth after Conforto’s home run, with Casey Schmitt doubling two runs and Patrick Bailey swapping places with him.
The bullpen was the biggest cause of the Giants’ troubles as they sank below .500 for as many as six games. Suddenly it seems to be among the best of the majors.
Over that 10-game streak, the Giants relievers (including Alexander’s “starting” Thursday) have the best ERA of any group at the majors (.92) and, after fanning out 13 other Brewers batters, the majors too led in strikeouts (64). He scored the second-most innings of any major group (49) while also posting the best ERA (.92).
Alexander remained goalless for the sixth consecutive game, joining Camilo Doval in the highest stakes in ten games.
Doval’s services were not needed Thursday after San Francisco secured a fourth-place finish at the top of eighth. All seven of their previous wins have been within three heats; Doval has completed six of these. Alexander saved the other and made his first appearance of the season on Thursday as the opener.
The Giants went 3-1 in bullpen games this season.
A day after a game of defensive errors reminiscent of last season, midfielder Mike Yastrzemski might have delivered San Francisco’s Web Gem of the Year. Darin Ruf, who came out on top with Milwaukee after being called up by San Francisco earlier this month, gave the Brewers the best-shot ball of the game in the first inning. It sent Yastrzemski to the center right lane, where he jumped, spun, and intercepted the ball from his home run trajectory.
All Ruf could do was smile and shake his head as he walked back to the first base dugout, thwarted by his former teammate.
Ruf spent a significant chunk of time on the Giants side before the game connecting with old teammates.
“I like him better in our lineup,” joked manager Gabe Kapler. “You know how I feel about Darin. I find the world of him. I think he’s a great hitter and the best clubhouse guy there is. … Hopefully it works out well and he has a lot of success after we leave town.”
– According to FanSided’s Robert Murray and Jeff Young, the Giants gained some depth of catch from a small trade. They reportedly traded to Jacob Nottingham, a 28-year-old backstop with a .184/.277/.421 slash line in 53 career major league games and .249/.329/.413 in 10 minor league games -seasons With Nottingham expected to report to Triple-A Sacramento, the move could signal the club are ready to have three backstops in their squad if Joey Bart is ready to be left off the injury list, along with newcomers Patrick Bailey and Blake Sabol.
– Bart (right bar) is “doing fine” according to Kapler, but he’s about five or six days away from running the bases. … Outfielder Austin Slater (left hamstring) is expected to begin a rehab stint this weekend, though Kapler said “nothing is set in stone.” … Joc Pederson (right hand) is still unable to pick up a racquet swing after being hit by a pitch in the hand at the Square-Up to Bunt on May 12. “I don’t think it’s going to be as quick as Joc would like or as fast as we’d like,” Kapler said. “But there’s nothing we can do to speed this up.”
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