Giants end skid, cruise past D-backs

Arizona – A day off was exactly what the San Francisco Giants needed.  Right-hander Kevin Gausman struck out nine as the San Francisco Giants bounced back from a tumultuous weekend.  A day of rest was the remedy to the Giants 8-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“All of our veteran players need to get days off,” manager Gabe Kapler said.  “Veteran players who have some wear and tear are going to need some rest.  These guys can still be great baseball players, but just need more down time.”

Those veteran guys, particularly Evan Longoria (who got two days off) and Brandon Crawford, benefited heavily from Monday’s off-day.  

Crawford launched a deep bases-clearing double in the first inning off Diamondbacks starter Corbin Martin to San Francisco the early 3-0 lead.  Two innings later Longoria crushed a 444-foot three-run homer to left center to put the Giants up 6-0.  San Francisco’s lineup knocked out Martin after just four innings.

“I love hitting here,” said Longoria.  “It’s reminiscent of my days in Tampa.  When you don’t have to worry about wind or sun or heat or cold, it makes it one less thing you have to worry about.  

Obviously the ball flies well, but what you see here too is that the gaps are big.  You get the hard hit line drives and the balls in the gaps that roll for a long time.  It’s pretty comforting for the hitters to have that in the back of their minds.”

Gausman had to play the role of stopper Tuesday night and did just that as he struck out nine while allowing just five hits with two walks through five innings, earning his fifth win of the season, and his fourth win in his last five starts. 

“I think Buster [Posey] just did a good job of mixing up pitches and moving in and out on these guys,” Gausman said.  “I wasn’t very crisp but I made some big pitches when I needed to and it just happened to work out tonight.”

‘Our starting pitching has been our backbone this year, no doubt about it,” Longoria added  “We’re going to need to figure out how to beat teams that have two or three good starters. Having him on the mound today was a good way to reset.”

Following the win Tuesday night, the Giants pitching staff has the fifth-best ERA in all of baseball and fourth best in the National League (3.24).

Despite the solid outing by Gausman, he started his night on the mound a bit slow.  Gausman walked Ketel Marte to lead off the bottom of the first inning, then allowed a single to the D-Backs rookie first baseman Pavin Smith.  Gausman worked out of the inning, striking out Eduardo Escobar, then getting David Peralta to ground into a force out before striking out catcher Carson Kelly to end the inning.  He allowed just four hits after that first inning.

San Francisco added two more runs off Longoria’s double in the seventh inning.  And an RBI single by backup catcher Curt Casali in the ninth inning, who replaced Belt late in the game.  Belt re-aggravate an injury (tightness) during his final at-bat of the night.  Kapler said Belt will get the tightness on his side re-evaluated.

The Giants bullpen once again pitched a solid game.  Combining for a four-inning, four-hit shutout the rest of the way after Gausman was pulled.  Jarlin Garcia tossed four strikeouts in a pair of innings on the mound and Sam Selman struck out two in the ninth to preserve the shutout.

While the win was much-needed for San Francisco, both the L.A. Dodgers and the leading National League West San Diego Padres keep the Giants in third place in the division.  However, they’re a game behind the Dodgers for second and 1 ½ games behind San Diego for the top spot.

San Francisco will turn to Johnny Cueto (3-1, 3.34 ERA, 26K) in the final game of this quick two-game series (6:40 pm PT, NBCSBA) before heading to Dodger Stadium for a four-game weekend series.  The Diamondbacks will send out Merrill Kelly (2-5, 5.05 ERA, 46K) to the mound.

Photo by SFGiants/Twitter

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