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What we learned as Giants ride Cueto, Wade Jr. past Phillies

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LaMonte Wade Jr. triples

When Bryce Harper talked to the Giants during the 2018-19 offseason, he dug deep with the questioning. He wanted to know what the franchise was going to do with its aging stars, and what the minor league system looked like. Harper, like everyone else back then, probably figured the Giants were pretty far away from contention.

Well, it's 2021 and these Giants are shockingly good, with no signs of slowing down. 

After sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Giants welcomed the Philadelphia Phillies to town with a 5-3 win. They are 45-25 through 70 games, the second-best mark in franchise history. Only the 1993 Giants (47-23) had more wins at this point of the season. 

This one was a little hectic early, but the Giants pulled away in the middle innings on a triple by LaMonte Wade Jr. and solo shot by Brandon Belt, who joined fellow longtime Giants Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey in double digits. Here are three things to know:

Quality Cueto

Cueto gave up a leadoff homer to Odubel Herrera and some hard contact in the first, but he settled in and had a solid start. The only other damage came on a two-run blast by Andrew McCutchen, his former teammate. Cueto went six innings, allowing three earned on six hits. He struck out five and walked none. 

Cueto did have a scare when he crashed hard to the mound after throwing one pitch, but he shook it off. He also made up for one of those runs allowed on his own, drawing a walk in the fourth inning and racing around from first on Wade's triple to the gap. The run was the first scored by Cueto since 2017. 

 

#Belted 

When Belt gets hot, he can carry the entire lineup for a few days. The Giants don't quite need that right now given how deep their lineup is, but they'll certainly take the hot streak. 

Belt returned on the last road trip and had three hits before going into an 0-for-16 funk. He entered Friday night's game with nine hits -- including six extra-base hits -- over his previous 19 at-bats, and he homered in the fifth inning to give the Giants a 5-3 lead.

The homer was the 10th of the season for Belt, who has never hit 20 in a season. Oracle Park robbed him of a few 20-homer seasons over the years, but he has four homers in his last 11 games at home. 

One Of A Kind

One of the biggest bummers from the down years was the fact that the Giants never truly got to enjoy having Andrew McCutchen around. He hit 15 homers for them in 2018 but the team faded and he was dealt to the Yankees at the end of August. That season wasn't much fun, so McCutchen never fully got to be the fan favorite he has been everywhere else. 

He soaked it all in on Friday, though. During an injury delay in the sixth, McCutchen walked over to the warning track and chatted with a bunch of fans hanging over the wall. He fist-bumped a few and even signed one autograph before returning to his position. 

The homer to dead center was the 12th of the year for the 34-year-old, who is in his third season with the Phillies.