Giants

Top of Giants' lineup again does its part, slugs way past Diamondbacks

Top of Giants' lineup again does its part, slugs way past Diamondbacks

PHOENIX -- The most important thing is that Joe Panik looks the part.

Everyone knows that if you pull up your socks, you immediately look faster, and with his black socks tugged up to his knees Saturday night, the Giants second baseman strolled to the plate in the first inning looking like your typical leadoff hitter.

The second-most important thing is that Panik is playing the part.

He reached base three times, raising his on-base percentage to .342 and extending his streak to 16 consecutive games with a hit or walk. On this night, he had both, with a hit and two walks, while hitting leadoff for a Giants lineup that did what you should against a struggling pitcher.

The Giants knocked Zack Godley out early and cruised to an 8-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Eight players had a hit. Seven players drove in a run. There were productive outs and guys tagging up all over the place.

"I thought there was a sense of urgency early, and it kind of permeated," Giants center fielder Steven Duggar said.

Lately, the production has started at the top. Buster Posey was finding his swing before a concussion, and he has stayed hot since, with two more hits Saturday. Duggar has settled into the No. 2 spot. Ahead of them both, Panik has been a steady presence. He has raised his OBP by 73 points in the last two weeks after a slow start.

"The quality of the at-bats, he just looks comfortable up there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's quiet. He's not making a lot of early outs. He looks like he's seeing the ball.

"I said it's just a matter of time before these guys get going. Joe looked really good in the spring."

That didn't immediately carry over, but it has here in May. The key to taking advantage is for the guys behind Panik, and behind Duggar and Posey, to come through in big spots, and on Saturday, they did.

[RELATED: Cueto looks good throwing in front of Giants staff]

The Giants kept the line moving, which they absolutely must do. And then in the end, there was a little pop, which they absolutely need away from Oracle Park. Brandon Belt hit his seventh homer of the season, and Pablo Sandoval had a pinch-hit shot, his sixth in limited time.

"It's nice to start him, but when he doesn't start, it's nice to have him come off the bench," Bochy said of Sandoval, smiling. "You look across the offense, and he's been the silver lining."

Bruce Bochy reacts to quirk at Oracle Park he had never seen before

Bruce Bochy reacts to quirk at Oracle Park he had never seen before

Bruce Bochy has seen just about everything since he started managing in 1995.

But in the Giants' 5-3 loss to the Brewers on Sunday, Bochy witness something he had never seen before.

"First time I've seen it," Bochy said. "First time."

In the second inning, reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich roped a Jeff Samardzija pitch to right field. The ball skipped to the wall and then it disappeared.

Right fielder Kevin Pillar threw up his arms, the universal signal to the umpires that the ball has gone out of play.

But a ground rule double in right field at Oracle Park? That seems hard considering the height of the wall.

In this case, the ball bounced perfectly between the archway gates and into the standing-room only section under the out-of-town scoreboard where a fan picked up the ball.

First base umpire John Libka ran out to see what happened and once Pillar explained the situation, Yelich was awarded two bases. Ben Gamel, who was on first base, was awarded third base.

"I was a little concerned," Bochy said. "But Kevin, with his experience, he did the right thing instead of trying to dig it out."

Samardzija was able to strike out Ryan Braun to strand Gamel and Yelich.

[RELATED: Giants feeling good about themselves]

Oracle Park is in its 20th year of existence. Bochy is in his 13th and final year as Giants manager. Somehow, after all of Bochy's games in the ballpark on the shores of McCovey Cove, he saw something new.

"I've never seen that," Bochy said. "I didn't know what happened until the replay you could see it, where it went through the cushion."

Giants feeling good about themselves, love how they played on homestand

Giants feeling good about themselves, love how they played on homestand

For the Giants, this season isn't about contending for a playoff spot. It's about doing the small things right and building towards future success.

One thing manager Bruce Bochy wants his team to work on is playing better at Oracle Park.

Prior to the just-completed eight-game homestand, the Giants were 10-18 at home. But against the Dodgers, Padres and Brewers -- three quality clubs -- the Giants took five of the eight games.

"I think you look at it as a pretty good homestand," Bochy told reporters after the game. "We would have loved to have finished it off today ... and we could have, we had our chances. But we took two series against two good teams, so good bounce back off a tough series."

The Giants lost two of three to the Dodgers last weekend, but swept a two-game series with the Padres earlier this week. Then, this weekend, they had a chance to sweep the NL Central-leading Brewers before losing 5-3 on Sunday.

"So, better at home, that's what we've been looking for," Bochy said. "Hopefully when we get back it's the same thing, but now we got to hit the road here against some good teams. I like the way we're pitching, keeping it close and we are creating those chances and that's what you need to do. You do enough of it, as I said, odds are somebody's going to come through for you."

Jeff Samardzija started against Milwaukee Sunday and was tagged with four earned runs in five innings.

Despite taking the loss, Samardzija echoed Bochy's feeling that the team is on the right track.

"We're playing good ball right now," Samardzija told reporters. "I think we even showed it today. There were a couple situations there that definitely on my end, if we get out of there with a zero, it's probably a little bit different of a game and we had our opportunities."

[RELATED: Bumgarner-Twins trade chatter 'premature']

The Giants head down to LA to begin a four-game series with the rival Dodgers on Monday. After that, they head to Arizona for a three-game series before returning home next week to take on the Rockies.

"I love the way we're playing," Samardzija said. "We'll learn a lot about ourselves here in this next week."