Giants

Bochy, Giants have their eyes open as Mac Williamson puts the pressure on in Triple-A

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Bochy, Giants have their eyes open as Mac Williamson puts the pressure on in Triple-A

SAN FRANCISCO — A year ago, the Giants told Christian Arroyo to go down to Triple-A and force his way up. Arroyo hit his way into the big league lineup by April 24. 

Could Mac Williamson do the same thing this year?

After a big swing, Williamson was sent back to the River Cats to continue working on swing changes he made in the offseason. The results so far have certainly opened eyes. Williamson is 10 -or-17 through five games with two homers, three doubles and just two strikeouts. 

[JOHNSON: Down on the Farm: Mac Williamson off to scorching start in Sacramento]

“A really good start. He’s doing what we were hoping he would do — go down and make noise and play well and put pressure on us,” manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday morning. “This is a huge year for Mac and where he’s at as far as his career. It’s time for him to dominate that league.”

Williamson, 27, now has 856 at-bats in Triple-A. He would appear to be stuck in limbo, as the Giants prefer center field options — Gregor Blanco and Gorkys Hernandez — on their bench and there are veterans at every starting outfield spot. But this is a bit of a different time for the front office and coaching staff. There is a greater sense of urgency, seen already with moves in the bullpen that will continue as the Giants aim to increase their flexibility. Bochy said he has talked to relievers already about the fact that they might be sent down regardless of their numbers, if they have options and the Giants need a fresh arm. 

All involved with these decisions know that they might not survive another losing season, and the offense has been frustrating to watch through most of nine games. Hunter Pence, in the last year of his contract, has a .435 OPS so far in left field, and while the bench has been part of some comebacks there haven’t been many power flashes. 

“We would find a way to put somebody in our lineup when we think he could help us,” Bochy said. “We could get creative here to mix it up. It’s a small sample, whether it’s here or in Triple-A, so let’s play some baseball and see where we’re at.”

Chase d'Pitcher? Watch the infielder take the mound for Giants in blowout loss

Chase d'Pitcher? Watch the infielder take the mound for Giants in blowout loss

On April 28, Pablo Sandoval took the mound in a Giants blowout and pitched a perfect inning against the Dodgers.

Nearly four months later, Chase d'Arnaud was called on to pitch in a lost-cause game and almost matched Sandoval.

With the Giants trailing 11-4 in Cincinnati on Sunday, Bruce Bochy had d'Arnaud pitch the bottom of the eighth inning.

The first batter d'Arnaud faced, All-Star third baseman Eugenio Suarez, flew out to right field. Reds right fielder Phillip Ervin ruined d'Arnaud's big for a perfect inning by singling to right. Pinch hitter Preston Tucker followed by flying out to center field. d'Arnaud retired the side by getting second baseman Dilson Herrera to fly out to right field.

Watch the highlights from d'Arnaud's inning of work above.

Giants swept by lowly Reds in Cincinnati, sink deeper into hole

Giants swept by lowly Reds in Cincinnati, sink deeper into hole

BOX SCORE

CINCINNATI -- Eugenio Suarez and the Cincinnati Reds closed out a nice weekend with another solid day at the plate.

It was quite a response to a tough series against Cleveland.

Suarez hit a two-run homer during Cincinnati's seven-run third inning, and the Reds swept the San Francisco Giants with an 11-4 win on Sunday.

Jose Peraza also hit a two-run homer for last-place Cincinnati, which outscored San Francisco 18-5 in the last two games. Billy Hamilton tripled twice and drove in three runs.

The Reds also swept the Giants in Cincy last season. Nine different Reds scored at least one run, helping Cincinnati bounce back after it was swept by Cleveland.

"Sometimes it is when you play a club," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We had a hot Cleveland team, then we get a Giants team that's been struggling with the bats. We got them at the right time."

San Francisco had a chance to sweep Los Angeles before the Dodgers' 12-inning victory on Wednesday night. The Giants then managed just six runs in the sweep by the Reds, extending their slide to four games.

"It's frustrating," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "We didn't hit much, The offense didn't do anything here. We were hoping for more."

Giants left-hander Andrew Suarez (4-9) was tagged for seven runs, five earned, and seven hits in a season-low 2 2/3 innings in the finale.

"I got ahead," Suarez said. "I just couldn't put them away. I didn't have that putaway pitch today. I thought I had good stuff. The location wasn't there."

Giants infielder Chase d'Arnaud worked a scoreless eighth in his first career pitching appearance.

Suarez's career-best 27th homer made it 6-1 in the third. Scooter Gennett hit a two-run triple before Suarez's drive to center.

Curt Casali also had two hits and drove in two runs in Cincinnati's big inning.

"It was an awesome inning," Casali said. "I'm sure I've had two hits in an inning at some point in my career, but not in the big leagues. Any time you put up a crooked number against a club like that, it's important."

Reds right-hander Luis Castillo (7-10) struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings. He was charged with three runs, one earned, and six hits.

"Everything was working for me today," Castillo said. "I was commanding my changeup. My slider was good and I was throwing strikes. I think, like last year, I'm able to throw my pitches in any situation."

Castillo retired 13 straight batters before Stephen Duggar's two-out single in the seventh.

"You look at his velocity," Bochy said, "I don't know of anybody in the National League who throws harder on average, and his changeup was biting. He was on top of his game."

Peraza finished with three hits as Cincinnati closed out a 5-4 homestand. Phillip Ervin had two hits and scored a run.

NEW LOOK:
Brandon Belt became the first first baseman to lead off for the Giants since David Bell on July 6, 2002, at Arizona. Belt went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

NEW FACE:
Aristides Aquino made his major league debut when he ran for Gennett in the sixth inning. Aquino was recalled from Double-A Pensacola on Friday when Joey Votto was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

TRIPLE HAPPY:
The Reds had three triples in one game for the first time since Hamilton, Peraza and Devin Mesoraco tripled against the Dodgers on June 17, 2017. Hamilton is the first Red with two triples in one game since Jay Bruce on May 2, 2015, at Atlanta.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Reds: OF Scott Schebler (strained AC joint in his right shoulder) is set for a rehab assignment with Double-A Pensacola. The Reds hope he will be ready to join them in Chicago during their weekend series with the Cubs.

UP NEXT:
Giants: LHP Derek Holland (6-8) makes just his second career start against the Mets in Monday's series opener in New York.

Reds: Homer Bailey (1-10) is scheduled to start Monday in Milwaukee. The Reds are 1-15 in Bailey's starts this season.