NBC Sports

What you might have missed in Giants' win over D-backs

NBC Sports

It officially was 88 degrees at first pitch Sunday, although it felt a lot worse at Oracle Park, where smoke from Northern California fires drifted into the ballpark as well. 

That's the kind of day where you expect to win 8-7, but this one unexpectedly turned into a nailbiter. The Giants were prepared, with another solid day from their bullpen and some surprising plays from guys who are anything but defense-first players.

The Giants took the lead on Donovan Solano's two-run shot and held on for a 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, their second in a row. They're one win away from getting back to .500. Here are three things to know ...

Belted Again

There only was one thing hotter than the weather on Sunday. Brandon Belt hit a long pinch-hit homer to right, continuing one of the hottest streaks in franchise history. Belt has 27 hits in his last 55 at-bats, with six homers, eight doubles and a triple. That was his 14th RBI during the stretch. 

Since August 16, when the streak began with a three-hit game, Belt has raised his average from .186 to .340. His slugging percentage has soared from .349 to .681. 

Save From the Starter

Johnny Cueto had one of the best escapes of the season in the top of the fifth. The Diamondbacks put runners on the corners with no outs, but Cueto got a popup before Tim Locastro tried a push squeeze bunt. Wilmer Flores got to it quickly and flipped it home, where Chadwick Tromp put down a quick tag for the out. Cueto walked the next batter to load the bases and fell behind 2-0 on David Peralta, but he worked the count full and struck Peralta out on a diving changeup. 

 

RELATED: Belt included in 15 biggest MLB offseason trade candidates

The Defense is ... Good?

The Giants have gotten a lot better defensively since that ugly start, mostly because they have the Brandons and Evan Longoria back in the infield every day. But Sunday's defensive stars were guys who are in the lineup purely for their bats.  Flores had the big play on the squeeze bunt and Darin Ruf got the Giants out of another jam with a sliding catch on a flare to left that would have scored two in the sixth inning. 

Alex Dickerson, a late addition, made a diving catch to rob the Diamondbacks of a one-out baserunner in the eighth. That halted any chance they had of a comeback that inning.