Evan Longoria turns back time with four homers in Giants' sweep of Padres

Evan Longoria turns back time with four homers in Giants' sweep of Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Kevin Pillar hit three spots behind Evan Longoria on Wednesday night, so the longtime Toronto Blue Jay was getting ready to grab his bat in the third inning when the former Tampa Bay Rays star crushed a two-run shot to left-center to tie the game. It looked familiar to Pillar.

"He looks like the Longo of old," he said after the Giants' 7-5 win over the Padres. 

Longoria right now looks every bit like that player, the one the Giants hoped would lead them back to the postseason last year. He's had an up-and-down two seasons in San Francisco, generally putting up solid numbers but falling short of his previous standards, and also of what most fans surely expected. 

But over a three-game sweep of the Padres, Longoria destroyed a young pitching staff. He hit a homer and scored three runs Monday, hit two homers and drove in five Tuesday, and had that key early homer Wednesday. 

Longoria said the whole lineup has been able to relax because so many hitters up and down the line are hot. He doesn't feel like he has to save the day every time up, but he's doing plenty of damage. 

"The last seven games -- even the Arizona series I felt like we were doing a good job of stringing together hits and getting big hits when needed," Longoria said. "It's fun, having fun helps a lot."

As Bruce Bochy always says, a team can look depressed when it's not hitting. But the Giants were a raucous bunch in San Diego and Longoria was a big part of it. 

He teammed with Alex Dickerson on Wednesday to give the Giants back-to-back homers for the first time this season. Longoria is the first Giant since Jarrett Parker in 2015 to homer four times in three games; Barry Bonds (four times) and Ellis Burks are the only others to do it since 2000. Longoria also joined Andrew McCutchen and Hunter Renfroe as the only players to hit four homers in a series at Petco Park, and he has seven homers in San Diego since joining the Giants, the most of any visiting player. 

[RELATED: Giants keep rolling with fourth straight offensive outburst]

Pillar and Longoria have become friends in part because of their AL East connections, and as Pillar talked about the lineup's outburst, he pointed out that there's been a lot of work involved. Longoria has searched relentlessly for a solution and is constantly talking about hitting with Pillar. He took early batting practice recently and something has seemingly clicked. 

"People get maybe a misconception about guys who have been doing this a long time and have been paid and think they're okay with not being the best version of themselves," Pillar said. "But he's constantly working."

If Giants, Dodgers never moved West, MLB might look very different now

If Giants, Dodgers never moved West, MLB might look very different now

Back in the mid 1950's, Major League Baseball hadn't conquered the West Coast.

But that changed in 1957 when the Giants and Dodgers were granted permission to move from New York to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively.

Both teams played their inaugural season in California in 1958.

Baseball hasn't been the same since, relocating or adding teams all over the West Coast.

But how would MLB look today if the Giants and Dodgers hadn't moved West? According to the MLB Cathedrals' Twitter account, the Dodgers wanted a new stadium in Brooklyn in 1957, but were denied, leading to the two teams moving.

So MLB Cathedrals ran through the hypothetical scenario with real-world info and some fan input to see what the league would look like today if the Dodgers had been allowed to stay in Brooklyn.

First, the San Francisco Giants in their current form wouldn't exist. The New York Giants would have moved to Minnesota in 1959.

In 1961, the Washington Senators moved to Los Angeles and became the Angels.

That same year, the American League adds two expansion teams: The San Francisco Seals and a new club in Washington, D.C. According to MLB Cathedrals, the Seals would play at Seals Stadium until a new ballpark could be built for them.

In 1962, the National League expands, adding teams in Houston and Los Angeles. Because the Dodgers stayed in Brooklyn, the Mets are never created. The new team in LA is called the Stars, meaning the Giants and Dodgers names never exist.

[RELATED: Inside Giants' 2012 WS sweep]

When MLB Cathedrals conducted the experiment Saturday, they had Oakland getting an expansion team, the Oaks. On Sunday, in a new version of the experiment with more info and fan polls, Oakland never gets a team.

Here's how the AL and NL look as of 1998, according to MLB Cathedrals.

Based on these projections, Major League Baseball and baseball in the Bay Area would look very, very different.

Giants' Mauricio Dubon shares hilarious story of meeting Hunter Pence

Giants' Mauricio Dubon shares hilarious story of meeting Hunter Pence

Mauricio Dubon is living the dream of every young Giants fan right now. 

Dubon moved to Sacramento when he was 15 years old to live with a host family -- leaving his family in Honduras -- in order chase his dreams of playing baseball. He attended his first Giants game as a teenager in 2010, sitting in the center field bleachers as Tim Lincecum pitched the Giants closer to a division title. As a young shortstop he idolized Brandon Crawford, and now is his teammate and will be Crawford's double-play partner on many occasions this season. 

When Dubon first made his Giants debut in late August after being acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, he certainly could feel his fandom come alive. The same can be said for when the team brought Hunter Pence back this offseason.

"The first time I saw Hunter at FanFest, I asked for a picture, actually," Dubon said on the latest episode of The Giants Insider Podcast. "I asked him for a picture, yeah. 2014, with the whole speech and everything -- as a fan, you kind of get excited. As a player, you get even more excited." 

Dubon said he had to get away from the Giants' veteran players last year when guys like Tim Lincecum, Angel Pagan and many others came back for Bruce Bochy's final game as San Francisco's manager. The young infielder simply couldn't help but get giddy seeing his childhood heroes. Dubon even used Pagan's salute celebration in high school. 

Now with Pence in the fold and Pablo Sandoval returning to San Francisco, Dubon doesn't see why the Giants couldn't shock the world again once the season returns amid baseball's suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[RELATED: How Dubon is staying ready after missing first Opening Day]

"I keep telling people that when were we favorites -- I say "we" as a fan -- when were we favorites to win a World Series in '10, '12 and '14? Never," Dubon said. "So why's it gonna change right now?

"We have the same veterans. Same hunger, probably even more. We got guys that are willing to do anything to win a game. I think we have a pretty good chance of [winning] the whole thing." 

Dubon is expected to be manager Gabe Kapler's do-it-all utility man up in the middle at second base, shortstop and center field this season to keep his athleticism in the lineup. And while his fandom always will live within him, he could be a major key to the Giants brining their next World Series trophy back to San Francisco.