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Giants use power, patience to outlast Reds in bounce-back win

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Giants' Wilmer Flores and Donovan Solano

SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey leaned back in a chair and looked into a laptop camera, not the slightest bit of concern on his face. He has seen team-wide slumps before, some that lasted weeks or months, or even seemingly a full season. There was nothing about the last week of short innings and strikeouts that made him think the Giants lineup was in trouble.

"I think last season is probably a better indicator than the 10 games this season," Posey said Tuesday afternoon. "Sometimes it only takes a game or two to really get everyone going. Maybe tonight's the night."

Maybe it was. 

The Giants busted out at the plate early and often Tuesday night, coming back from a four-run deficit in the first and beating the Cincinnati Reds and ace Luis Castillo 7-6 in a wild back-and-forth game. It was their most complete victory of the year, even if you account for the fact that their own ace, Kevin Gausman, gave up five earned runs.

The lineup showed power, patience and an opportunistic streak. Gausman recovered from the early stumble to retire 13 straight to finish his night. The bullpen, an issue on the first road trip, was spectacular, with Wandy Peralta, Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee closing it out. 

The fireworks started before most of the 3,673 had even settled into their seats. The Reds greeted Gausman with two two-run homers. The Giants answered back with two of their own, one each from Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Crawford. It was the first game in Oracle Park's history with four homers in the first inning, and the fact that it happened with Gausman and Castillo, an All-Star in 2019, on the mound made it even more remarkable. 

 

"That was huge from a momentum standpoint to come back and just kind of make it a 0-0 game right away," Gausman said. "The guys just battled and put together a bunch of good at-bats. Longo told me [to] keep my head down, keep going, keep grinding, we're going to win this game. With these guys you feel pretty confident that eventually they're going to get the job done."

The Giants have survived on homers for the first couple of weeks of the season, but this is an offense that wants to grind, and that's what the rest of the game was. They got Castillo up to 98 pitches through five and Evan Longoria greeted reliever Sean Doolittle with a homer.

San Francisco added another that inning, and then another in the seventh with a rally that went walk, walk, fielder's choice, sacrifice fly. The Giants nearly tacked on an insurance run in the eighth, loading the bases in a 32-pitch inning.

"I thought we did a really nice job of spoiling tough pitches, I thought we did a really nice job of extending at-bats and we got some really timely and important hits," manager Gabe Kapler said. "I thought our offense looked good today from both sides."

Kapler joked that he made "line changes" in the middle of the game, inserting all his right-handed bats for the lefties, including some who were having big nights. Tommy La Stella had three hits in three at-bats when Donovan Solano took his place. Solano walked and scored the eventual winning run. 

With a deep six-man bench, the Giants are able to fully embrace platoons and be the offense they want to be. At their best, it's a group that will take you out of the ballpark or take a walk, and the ability to turn that production into wins. 

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The bullpen was particularly cruel to the Reds on this night, with Rogers showing that he should have plenty of success against NL Central and East opponents who didn't see him last year. He cruised through the heart of Cincinnati's order in the eighth, striking out Joey Votto, Nicholas Castellanos and Mike Moustakas.

Castellanos and Moustakes swung at sliders that looked ready to rise to the broadcast level if Posey didn't snag them. 

"He's going to hit a lefty in the face one day and the guy is probably going to swing at it, which is crazy to think about, but it's probably going to happen," Gausman said. "He has that deception and it's a look that you don't see very often. It's very tough, especially when he's locked in like he was tonight."

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