Giants

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' fourth straight win

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' fourth straight win

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SAN FRANCISCO — It turns out the pole-vaulting bump works on the road, too. 

The Giants hammered the Pirates 13-5 on the first night of a road trip, winning their fourth straight game. Johnny Cueto was far from his best stuff-wise or command-wise, but he battled and the lineup backed him all night with a season-high 18 hits. 

The four-game win streak is just the second of the season, but here, we’re all about fives. So here are five things to know from a game that was not pace-of-play friendly … 

—- With two in scoring position and one out in the fifth, Bruce Bochy visited the mound. The manager still cares about pitcher wins and he let Cueto try to get through five. Cueto rewarded the faith. He got a grounder to third and then got Chris Stewart to bounce out to second on his 114th pitch. The 36-pitch inning ended Cueto’s night. He looked up at the sky and gave thanks as he walked off the field. Later, the win became official.

—- Denard Span entered the night with a .353 batting average in June and Gerrit Cole and the bullpen couldn’t slow him down. Span had four hits, including a leadoff homer in the first, raising his average to .298. He also drew a walk. Span finished with 40 hits in June. 

—- Hunter Pence drove in five runs for the first time since a seven-RBI game in Los Angeles in late 2013. The five-RBI night was the seventh of Pence’s career. 

—- Ryder Jones singled up the middle in the seventh to pick up his first MLB hit and snap an 0 for 17. He couldn’t hide his smile. Jones scored on Pence’s single three batters later. Jones later lined out to first … the bad luck didn’t completely turn in one night. 

—- Dan Slania made his big league debut in the bottom of the ninth and had a perfect frame. He'll now battle Jones for the lineup card. 

Lefty Andrew Suarez returns to big leagues for another shot with Giants

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USATSI

Lefty Andrew Suarez returns to big leagues for another shot with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- For several days, the Giants listed Monday's starter as "TBA," leading to speculation that they would try an opener for a second straight week. Instead, it will be a familiar starter. 

Left-hander Andrew Suarez will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make his first big league start of the season. Suarez made 29 starts for the Giants last season, posting a 4.49 ERA in a rookie season that was a bit better than the final numbers indicated. 

Suarez did not make the rotation out of camp and has a 6.33 ERA in six minor league starts. He missed more than two weeks with a hamstring strain and has given up seven earned runs in 8 2/3 innings since returning to Triple-A Sacramento. 

"I'm sure he's chipping a little rust off," manager Bruce Bochy said. "A day like this, especially for a guy that made as many starts as he did, can be pretty uplifting and fire a guy up. We need a starter tomorrow and with his experience and what he did last year, this makes sense for us."

With Suarez and Shaun Anderson set to go the first two games against the Braves, the Giants will have taken a look at all four young pitchers who could be part of a future rotation. Dereck Rodriguez and Tyler Beede already have gotten a look and been optioned. Both are in Triple-A, currently. 

Given the state of the roster, it's possible either Suarez or Anderson is sent back to Triple-A after his start. Bochy said the young pitchers know the deal. 

"I think they see it around baseball and they understand it," he said. 

Giants trade struggling catcher Erik Kratz to Rays days after DFA

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AP

Giants trade struggling catcher Erik Kratz to Rays days after DFA

Erik Kratz is no longer in the Giants organization. 

Three days after San Francisco designated the veteran catcher for assignment, the Giants traded the 38-year-old to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin first reported the news Thursday, and the Giants announced the news shortly thereafter. 

On Monday morning, the player to be named was announced as minor league pitcher Matt Seelinger. He'll report to Class A Augusta.

The Giants traded for Kratz in late March, wanting a veteran backup for Buster Posey while Stephen Vogt recovered from shoulder surgery. 26-year-old catcher Aramis Garcia still had minor-league options, so the front office looked for a more-polished stopgap.

But Kratz struggled in his short time wearing orange and black, slashing .125/.222/.281 in 36 plate appearances. He also made more errors (four) in 11 games behind the dish than he did in 61 with the Brewers (three) in 2018, and caught two out of nine runners stealing. 

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The Kratz trade was not the only move the Giants made at the position Thursday. They also optioned Garcia to Triple-A Sacramento in anticipation that Posey will return to the lineup Friday after a stint on the seven-day concussion list.