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Why DeSclafani was 'just what the doctor ordered' for Giants

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Anthony DeSclafani pitching

The Giants talk about every decision, and then they talk about it again, dissecting new angles and possibilities. They want to be over-prepared for every situation, but sometimes things are out of your control.

The weather in Washington D.C. took Gabe Kapler and Andrew Bailey's pitching plans and swirled them around, so much so that the Giants committed to a bullpen game for the third game of the series on Saturday night before even playing the first game.

And then Anthony DeSclafani stepped in, showed off some of his best stuff of the year, and made sure everything was going to be OK. 

DeSclafani threw his second shutout of the season, a 103-pitch gem in which he faced one batter over the minimum. The Giants won 1-0 behind the effort, and they are now set up well for the rest of the weekend, and the ensuing homestand. 

The Giants have Kevin Gausman going in the first of two seven-inning games Saturday. They have a bullpen that hasn't thrown a pitch since Wednesday and got durable lefty Caleb Baragar back on Friday. At the end of a muggy road trip, they're looking like their pitching will head home in pretty good shape, in large part because of DeSclafani's dominance.  

"It's big. Not only the doubleheader tomorrow, but then you go into a day game Sunday, fly all the way across the country and start a seven-game homestand," catcher Buster Posey said. "It's very big. All in all, very big."

 

DeSclafani struck out eight, showing a dominant slider, a fastball that had as much movement as it's had all season, and a changeup that he has reworked and said he might have thrown more than in any other start of his career. But he also got some help.

The Giants had one of their best defensive nights of the year, with LaMonte Wade Jr. and Donovan Solano making plays that would have stood out more if Mike Tauchman didn't climb another wall. Tauchman pulled back Juan Soto's game-tying solo shot, allowing DeSclafani to keep pitching with the lead. 

"It was a sick catch," DeSclafani said, "And a big reason why I was able to go nine shutout tonight."

Tauchman's catch would have been incredible on its own, but it goes up a notch when you remember he did the same thing two Fridays ago against the Dodgers. 

"It's crazy, you know? The opportunities are pretty few and far between for those," Tauchman said. "Really with any ball I'm just trying to get a good break on it, take a good route, and especially on balls around the wall I'm trying to get there early. I was fortunate to make a play for the team."

RELATED: Tauchman does it again, robs Soto of homer

Kapler credited Tauchman for finding ways to contribute even as he has gone cold at the plate, pointing out that his all-around game isn't appreciated enough. He said Tauchman is "always at the right place at the right time."

On this night, DeSclafani was, too. 

The Giants were ready to patch the pitching together through four games played in under 50 hours, but DeSclafani, who became the first Giant with multiple shutouts in a year since Madison Bumgarner in 2015, allowed everyone to sleep a bit better. 

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"It was just what the doctor ordered," Kapler said.