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What we learned as Giants launch five homers in rout of Marlins

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There's an old baseball saying that momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher. Rarely has that been more true than in the first two games of this series in Miami.

A night after they were shut out by Cy Young frontrunner Sandy Alcantara, the Giants teed off on Marlins righty Elieser Hernandez and a collection of relievers, hitting five homers in a 15-6 blowout that evened the series and the road trip. 

The Giants had nine extra-base hits, including the five homers, which marked a season-high. The first came from Mike Yastrzemski, who broke the game open with a three-run blast in the second inning. Joc Pederson joined the party with his 13th of the year, which ranks fourth in the National League, and Brandon Crawford capped the scoring with his fifth career grand slam. 

Crawford's homer finished off a six-run seventh inning that gave the Giants a season-high for runs scored in a game. It was one of the better offensive displays of the season, but the momentum might not last long. On Saturday, the Giants face righty Pablo Lopez, who is fourth in the NL in ERA. 

Good Hjelle

When Alex Cobb's back flared up, the Giants flew Sean Hjelle out to Miami to be the bulk innings guy in a bullpen game. It was his second big league appearance, and just like his first, the Giants had things set up well. In his debut, Hjelle pitched one inning of relief against a righty-heavy team, and on Friday, Hjelle entered after "opener" John Brebbia and found himself with a 5-0 lead.

 

Hjelle took advantage, working quickly and pounding the strike zone. He went three innings, striking out five and allowing two runs on two hits and two walks. Hjelle showed off a good pitch mix, getting four swinging strikes with his curveball and repeatedly getting ahead with a 93 mph sinker that had a lot of movement. 

Hjelle still has some work to do in Triple-A, but he pushed the pace on Friday, something that Giants coaches preach repeatedly, and he threw strikes. If he keeps doing that, he'll get plenty more opportunities. 

Full Team Effort

The Giants were at their best last year when they were grinding teams down with their entire lineup, and this game was one of those ones. 

With the lead at four, Thairo Estrada crushed a two-run blast to left that was his first homer since April 17. The ball left the bat at 109 mph, a season-high for Estrada, who has lost time in recent days to Donovan Walton. 

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Jason Vosler has gained playing time with Evan Longoria having shoulder soreness, and he played one of his best all-around games as a Giant. Vosler had a very strong defensive night and yanked a homer off the right field foul pole in the sixth inning, extending the lead to 9-2. 

Hoping For Good News

The Giants will hold their breath a bit on Luis González, who left the game after getting drilled in his first plate appearance but initially seemed to get good news. González took a fastball off his shin but an X-ray taken at the ballpark came back negative. He was diagnosed with a right lower leg contusion. Those can linger, but it's certainly much better than any sort of fracture. 

González was limping right away and spent some time trying to jog down the first base line as Gabe Kapler and trainer Dave Groeschner watched. He initially stayed in the game, but after one more batter, he came off the field and went straight to the clubhouse. It was a bad end to a good day for Gonzalez, who was named the NL Rookie of the Month for May. 

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