These are the kind of games and the kind of series that the Giants have to win.
After watching their six-game win streak come to an end Saturday against the lowly Colorado Rockies, San Francisco bounced back Sunday behind a strong outing from Alex Wood and timely hitting at Oracle Park. The end result was a 5-2 win and a four-game series win over the Rockies.
For how important wins against teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres are, the schedule letdowns are just as important. Especially in a game where Wood was coming off two tough starts and the bullpen was leaned on heavily the night before. The schedule is about to get much tougher, too.
Before the Giants face the Rockies again on Sept. 6, they have two series against the New York Mets, one against the Athletics, one against the Atlanta Braves, one against the Milwaukee Brewers and their final series against the Dodgers this season. Champions take care of the bottom feeders, and the Giants did just that with the Rockies on Sunday.
Here are three more things to know from the Giants' 76th win of the year.
Alex Wood Finds His Groove
Wood came into Sunday allowing nine earned runs combined over his previous two starts. He needed a strong start in a big way, and found his footing from the first pitch on until running into some trouble in the seventh inning. The veteran left-hander allowed two earned runs (both in the seventh) over 6 2/3 innings while striking out six and walking only one.
Only seven total Rockies reached base against Wood. This also was his longest start since July 7.
With Johnny Cueto still on the injured list, combined with how much harder the schedule gets for the Giants, Wood will be a big piece to the puzzle down the stretch for the Giants. He has to be happy with the day's results and will look to feed off them going forward.
This is the beauty of Gabe Kapler's roster. It's built to do damage against right-handers or lefties and the interchangeability was on full display against Jon Gray and the Rockies' bullpen.
Kapler started six left-handed hitters against the right-handed Gray. In 4 1/3 innings, Gray allowed seven hits and six came from the bat of a lefty. Tommy La Stella finished the day with three hits (two off Gray), raising his batting average from .234 to .255.
The magic continued in the bottom of the seventh inning too when the Giants added two big runs. Austin Slater came off the bench to face left-hander Ben Bowden and hit a RBI double down the right-field line.
Righty? Lefty? Doesn't matter. The Giants are made to beat any pitcher thrown at them.
Play of the Day
Somehow, someway, Wade Jr. always seems to have his pulse on the outcome of the game. That continued Sunday, like usual.
Wade Jr. went 1-for-3 at the plate, but it was his defense that showed up in the biggest way. The versatile outfielder/first baseman became Wood's best friend with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning when a perfect throw home nailed Elias Diaz at the plate for the final out of the inning. It preserved the Giants' 3-2 lead and kept Wood in line for the win.
It really isn't a Giants win without this guy doing something big.