The Giants walked off the field Monday night tied for the MLB lead in wins, but they have nearly matched that total with trips to the MRI tube. As he talked about the latest round of injuries Monday afternoon, manager Gabe Kapler mentioned how important it would be to keep veterans off their feet when possible.
Scoring nine times in the first two innings allowed Kapler to do that with Evan Longoria, who returned from hamstring tightness to drive in three of those early runs, and blowing the Colorado Rockies out 12-0 allowed Kapler to rest Brandon Crawford's quad another night. When it came to the pitching staff, Kapler didn't have to move a finger. Anthony DeSclafani made sure everyone sitting beyond the center field fence got the night off.
DeSclafani went the distance, clinching his first shutout since 2016 and second as a big leaguer. He struck out the side in the first and got two more in the ninth, finishing with nine strikeouts. DeSclafani, who has a 1.50 ERA in his first five starts with the Giants, said he started to sniff the shutout in the seventh.
"I kinda peaked at my pitch count and saw that it was low and I knew I had a chance to finish the game as long as I beared down and didn't get too lax and tried to continue making pitches," DeSclafani said. "Sometimes when you have that big a lead it makes it a little difficult but I had to bear down and pitch like it was a close game."
DeSclafani threw 100 pitches, becoming the first Giant to shut out an opponent on 100-or-less since Madison Bumgarner got a 94-pitch shutout in 2014. He established a 95 mph fastball in the first, throwing it eight times in that dominant 12-pitch first inning and 46 times overall. He complemented it with a sharp slider that he threw 39 times.
"Out of the gate he had a really good fastball going," catcher Buster Posey said. "It was jumping. His ability to kind of give the hitters different looks as the game went along helped him pitch deep in the game."
Asked about what's changed this season from last, DeSclafani credited the coaching staff and analytics infrastructure the Giants have in place. He said the game plans have been a key early on and his pitch shapes are back to what they were when he had a strong 2019 season.
"I'm kind of getting my fastball back to what it was in 2019, I'm getting my slider shape back to what it was in 2019," he said. "I think the credit goes to (the Giants staff) just recognizing maybe what went wrong last year and helping me fix those things. And then just the freedom to go out there and pitch is great."
DeSclafani finished his night with a polite handshake with Posey, who carried much of the load offensively. Posey had his first four-hit game since 2018 and hit his fifth homer of the month, tying his total from all of 2018.
That was a down year for the Giants, but right now they're rolling. The 15th win of the month was the first that was a true blowout. The Giants had played 22 consecutive games to start the season that were decided by four-or-fewer runs, their longest such season-opening streak since 1997. But this one was a laugher, so much so that Kapler was able to remove Longoria in the second inning and let him continue to try and heal.
"There's not much to complain about tonight," Kapler said. "I usually spend an hour or so after games picking things apart, and what's there to pick apart? The guys did a great job."