Giants bats pick up the slack in win vs Nationals

Giants bats pick up the slack in win vs Nationals

WASHINGTON D.C. — Bruce Bochy smiled and shook his head. The numbers don’t make sense to him, either. 

“I guess they like home cooking?” he said of a lineup that is having a backwards season. 

The Giants walked into Nationals Park on Friday averaging 3.38 runs in 32 games away from AT&T Park. At home, where they happen to, you know, take their at-bats in the worst hitters’ park in the majors, they are averaging 5.03 runs per game. 

It makes no sense. A deep and improved lineup is one of the league’s best when at AT&T Park. But put those same hitters in smaller parks, in warmer weather, in thinner air, and they had been turning back into the 98-loss Giants. No team in the National League was averaging fewer runs on the road entering play Friday.  

“You go on the road and the parks are a lot more conducive to hitting,” Bochy said in the afternoon. “You look at the past and we’ve hit pretty well on the road. That’s what’s surprising. You could say it doesn’t make sense because it’s a pitchers’ park at home.”

On Friday night, this lineup started to act accordingly. The Giants had 15 hits against the Nationals, and all of the production was needed. Andrew Suarez nearly gave back a 5-0 lead and the Nationals got within a run in the sixth inning, but the Giants struck back with three more in the top of the seventh. They kicked off a long trip with a 9-5 win. 

“The bats picked us up. A lot of good things we did offensively, and throughout the lineup,” Bochy said. “Everybody did something to contribute. The thing I liked is we came back and scored a couple times after they scored. That’s always huge.”

The onslaught started early and was all-encompassing. Andrew McCutchen homered in the first inning and Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence highlighted a two-run second with doubles. Alen Hanson, starting at third base for the first time, tripled to lead off the fourth. Gorkys Hernandez hit his seventh homer a couple minutes later. When the Giants ran into trouble, they responded by sending eight hitters to the plate in the top of the seventh. Sandoval and Pence had RBI singles this time around. 

The rallies kept Suarez from what could have been a brutal night. He had his best fastball of the season early and struck out four in the first two innings, but he couldn’t maintain it. His command disappeared in the fifth but the lineup had already done enough.

“It was a good feeling. I was already out of the game, but it's nice know we had the lead and with our bullpen it's pretty much game over once they grab the lead,” Suarez said. “Coming here and getting that first game definitely sets the tone."

MLB Rumors: Phillies, Yankees scouted Giants' Madison Bumgarner recently


MLB Rumors: Phillies, Yankees scouted Giants' Madison Bumgarner recently

Some interested teams reportedly got a good look at Madison Bumgarner recently. 

The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees were among "several clubs" who scouted the Giants ace in his second-to-last start last Saturday, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Wednesday.  Bumgarner pitched 6 1/3 innings that day, striking out six and allowing four earned runs in a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

The Phillies and Yankees both reportedly feel they could use a top-line starter, although both teams entered Friday in the top 10 in earned run average. Still, both teams are on Bumgarner's no-trade list.

What might be a bigger deal to the Giants, however, is the quality of both team's prospects. 

Neither New York nor Philadelphia cracked MLB Pipeline's top 10 farm systems at the start of the season. Still, both teams have two prospects in the top 100: The Phillies have third baseman Alec Bohm (No. 54 overall) and right-handed pitcher Adonis Medina (No. 70), while the Yankees have outfielder Estevan Florial (No. 52 overall) and right-handed pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (No. 59 overall). 

Nightengale reported that the Giants have "hopes of seizing at least one top five prospect from a team, or perhaps two others of their top 15 prospects in return." Their best match, then, might be another team that already got an up-close look at Bumgarner this week in the Atlanta Braves. 

[RELATED: What Giants can learn from Braves' young, rebuilt roster]

As NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic noted Thursday, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has history with the Braves front office. Plus, the Braves sat third on MLB Pipeline's farm-system rankings at the beginning of the season. 

No matter which hypothetical Bumgarner destination you prefer, though, it seems increasingly certain Bumgarner will no longer be wearing orange and black when the July 31 trade deadline passes. 

Giants vs. D-backs lineups: Brandon Crawford out for second straight gane

Giants vs. D-backs lineups: Brandon Crawford out for second straight gane

It was a long one on Thursday that ended in disappointment. The Giants fell to the Braves, 5-4, in 13 innings thanks to an Austin Riley homer -- he had his fifth long ball in nine games to set a modern-day franchise record.

That's cool.

But Friday is a new day and it's a new series for the Orange and Black as the team preps to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in an NL West matchup.

For the Giants, Drew Pomeranz will have starting pitching honors. His last start on the bump was also against the D-backs. He gave up two runs in 4 and 2/3 innings in his first start since returning from the injured list.

He's currently 0-3 with a 7.76 ERA in nine career appearances against Arizona.

On the other side, Robbie Ray will get the ball for his second straight start against the Giants. He tossed 87 pitches in four innings Sunday at Chase Field allowing four walks, three hits and two runs on six strikeouts. 

The Giants will be starting without Brandon Crawford Friday -- it's his second straight missed game as he battles pink eye.

Here are how the lineups look for the Giants and D-backs. You can follow the action on NBC Sports Bay Area, or by downloading and streaming on the MyTeams app

Arizona Diamondbacks (25-25)

Ketel Marte, CF
Ildemaro Vargas, 2B
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Adam Jones, RF
Christian Walker, 1B
Nick Ahmed, SS
Carson Kelly, C
Tim Locastro, LF

Robby Ray, P (3-1, 3.25 ERA)

San Francisco Giants (21-28)

Joe Panik, 2B
Donovan Solano, SS
Tyler Austin, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Kevin Pillar, RF
Steven Duggar, CF
Mac Williamson, LF
Stephen Vogt, C

Drew Pomeranz, P (1-4, 5.66 ERA)