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What we learned as two late homers lift Giants past D-backs

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A series of soft-tissue injuries have forced Gabe Kapler to change the look of his starting lineup and dig far deeper on his bench. The latter group was up to the task Wednesday night. 

Austin Slater came off the bench to hit a mammoth two-run homer in the top of the eighth that tied the game and Jason Vosler, who replaced an injured Darin Ruf at first, followed with his first MLB homer.

That one held up, giving the Giants a 5-4 win on a night when they looked headed for a pretty bad loss. 

The Diamondbacks have lost 10 in a row, and in the late innings it was easy to see why. They jumped out to a four-run lead but the Giants chipped away, and Slater brought his sledgehammer. Vosler's ensuing homer into the visiting bullpen came on a whirlwind of a day. 

Vosler has been up and down this season, with the latest call-up coming after an MRI showed an oblique strain for Brandon Belt. Kapler intended to give Vosler a start at some point, but he was needed right away because Ruf injured his hamstring in the sixth inning. In his first at-bat back in the big leagues, Vosler yanked a fastball out to right, allowing Kapler to turn the game over to Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers. The latter loaded the bases with one out, but got out of the jam. 

 

Here are three more things to know from a wild win at Chase Field ... 

Long, Long, Long, Long, Long Gone

Madison Bumgarner used to take aim at the Friday's restaurant in the second deck at Chase Field during BP, and Slater dropped one into that deck to tie the game. The homer left his bat at 109.1 mph and went an estimated 460 feet, making it the longest homer of the season for the Giants. The previous high mark? A 456-foot blast by ... Austin Slater. He's strong.

Slater's blast was the 21st-longest of the season in MLB. He has two of the top 36 homers by distance. The Giants are tied for the league lead with six pinch-hit homers, two of which have come from Slater.

Making His Case

Steven Duggar and Mike Tauchman are basically competing for the same spot, and Duggar has been far hotter in recent weeks. Kapler wanted to keep Tauchman involved, though, so he got the nod in the second game of this series. 

Duggar came off the bench and still found a way to make an immediate impact, and remind the staff that right now he's their best option in center field. He hit a leadoff single in the sixth and raced around from first on Mike Yastrzemski's double to left, getting the Giants on the board. Kelly had retired 11 straight, but Duggar and Yastrzemski got the Giants on the board.

Duggar raised his OPS to .872. His previous career-high is .693. 

Piling Up the Hits 

Johnny Cueto has made three starts since coming off the IL and has yet to find consistency. Cueto gave up eight hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his first start back, and then seemed to right the ship against the Cincinnati Reds last week. Wednesday was another subpar one, although Cueto wasn't hit particularly hard.

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Cueto gave up eight hits but seven of them were singles, and about half of those had eyes. The Diamondbacks scored a run in the first and then stacked up four singles in the second, scoring three more times to take a 4-0 lead. Cueto ended up giving up eight hits and the four earned runs in five innings, striking out five and walking none. He has a 3.86 ERA, but opposing hitters are batting .292 in his seven starts.