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What we learned as Giants' bats explode in 19-4 win vs. Reds

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The Giants warmed up for the biggest series of the year by lighting their bats on fire. 

Steven Duggar hit a 427-foot grand slam and Brandon Crawford drove in six runs, pacing the best offensive effort in MLB this season. The Giants beat the Reds 19-4, clinching their first four-game sweep in Cincinnati since 1983 and their first four-game sweep of the Reds, period, since 1990. This also puts the Giants run differential at +57.

The Giants had 16 hits and four homers, and the explosion was backed by five solid innings by Johnny Cueto against his former team. 

With the blowout, the Giants got their run differential to plus-56, which ranks second in the National League. They trail only the Dodgers, who come to Oracle Park on Friday for the first meeting of the season between the rivals.

Here are three more things to know from Thursday's game ... 

Another HUGE Inning

Tyler Mahle entered the day with a 2.93 ERA in eight starts, but the Giants knocked him out in the third inning with a very, very patient rally. They went walk, single, single, walk, single, single to extend the lead to 4-0. Mahle was pulled after getting just six outs with his 66 pitches. He had gone at least five innings in seven of his previous eight starts. 

Mahle ended up being charged with seven earned when Duggar took Michael Feliz to dead center for his first career slam and the longest bomb of his career. Duggar has the two longest homers of his career on this trip, the other being a 411-foot blast in Pittsburgh. 


Mahle, by the way, now has a 4.20 ERA. 

Ruf To Have To Face

Darin Ruf has done a great job of filling in for Brandon Belt, who has missed most of this road trip with pain in his side. He hit a two-run homer to cap the nine-run third inning, putting him a triple shy of the cycle through just three innings. Ruf lined one into the right field corner in the top of the seventh and certainly had triple on his mind, but Curt Casali, who was on first, was held up at third given the score. 

Ruf had started five consecutive games coming into the day, with four of them at first base, and he has become a regular in the heart of Gabe Kapler's order. He has two homers on the trip and with his four hits on Thursday he raised his OPS to .944. He doesn't have nearly enough plate appearances to qualify for league leaderboards, but that would rank him seventh in the NL if he did, one spot ahead of Max Muncy.

Better Than He's Ever Been

At the age of 34, Crawford is on pace for by far his best offensive season. Crawford made it 14-1 with a three-run shot, his 11th of the season, which gave him a clear team lead and currently has him tied for third in the National League. He later added a two-run single that clinched his fourth career game with at least six RBI. Three have come in the last three seasons. 

Crawford has never had a slugging percentage over .465 or an OPS over .792, but he's currently at .563 and .899. He also has made just two errors in the field. Even in a league with a loaded group of shortstops, he's trending toward his first All-Star appearance since 2018. 

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