July 31 deadline acquisition Mike Leake made only one start for the Giants before landing on the disabled list August 3 with a left hamstring strain, but that trade has gone back to looking like a huge boost for second-place San Francisco.
Leake allowed just a hit and a walk and struck out six Pirates over six innings in his return to the Giants’ rotation Saturday afternoon at PNC Park. That one hit was a solo home run by Jung Ho Kang and the Giants wound up losing 3-2 when Starling Marte slugged a walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth, but Leake looked terrific. He could have -- and probably should have -- pitched deeper into the game, but manager Bruce Bochy opted to play it safe with the hamstring and lift him at 77 pitches. That hamstring still is wrapped, though Leake looked fine on the mound and on fielding plays on Saturday.
"It's been a while since he pitched," Bochy told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com. "He did his job. He did a terrific job for us. … He threw great. That one (pitch to Kang) got away from him. He gave us what we were hoping for."
Leake has a 1.06 ERA and 32 strikeouts over his last 42 1/3 innings, dating back to his final four starts with the Reds. He has moved from one of the least-pitcher-friendly home stadiums in the majors to one of the friendliest and suddenly looks capable of moving the needle on some fantasy championship runs. Leake will face the Cardinals, a team he’s very familiar with, next time out at AT&T Park. It’ll be his first home start as a member of the Giants. He’s going to like his new dimensions.
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The Wright Stuff, The Right Time
David Wright played six innings of third base for the High-A St. Lucie Mets on Saturday in what was his eighth minor league rehab game. It also might have been his last minor league rehab game.
Wright will go through a routine checkup Sunday at the Mets’ spring training complex with the hope of getting cleared to return to the active major league roster on Monday in Philadelphia. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco reiterated early Saturday that Wright would get that clearance if he avoids a setback, and reports from Florida haven’t hinted that anything went wrong in Saturday’s game.
Wright has been out since mid-April, first for a hamstring injury and then for a back injury which turned into a diagnosis of spinal stenosis. It’s easy to be pessimistic about how his bat will play down the stretch and Mets manager Terry Collins has stated that the 32-year-old third baseman is not going to be an everyday player out of the gate, but it’s also not unthinkable that he could eventually have a decent “real life” and fantasy impact. Wright has been swinging the ball well on the farm -- he stood 9-for-28 (.321) with five walks after Saturday’s game -- and he was among the best hitters in baseball in 2013.
He’s jumping back onto a Mets team that is making a hard charge for the National League East crown. As of Sunday morning the club’s division lead over the heavy-preseason-favorite Nationals is at five games.
National League Quick Hits: Pirates ace Gerrit Cole delivered seven innings of one-run ball Saturday in the Pirates' defeat of the Giants … Nationals right-hander Joe Ross was phenomenal in Saturday's win over the Brewers, allowing just one run on six hits across seven innings … Yunel Escobar is day-to-day with a hyperextended neck … Ian Kennedy struck out 10 over six-plus scoreless innings Saturday in the Padres’ rout of the Cardinals … Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Saturday that he's hopeful Joe Panik (back) will be able to return to the Giants in the first week of September … Miguel Montero hit a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Cubs defeated the Braves on Saturday at Wrigley Field … Paul Goldschmidt finished 4-for-5 with a pair of two-run homers, four total RBI, three runs scored, and a stolen base Saturday in the Diamondbacks’ win over the Reds … Phillies closer Ken Giles picked up his ninth save Saturday versus the Marlins … Lucas Duda will travel to California on Monday to get a second opinion on his injured back from Dr. Robert Watkins … Curtis Granderson went 3-for-5 with two RBI in the Mets' shootout win Saturday versus the Rockies … Angel Pagan (knee) will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Sunday … Anthony Rendon went 2-for-2 with an RBI double and a solo home run Saturday as the Nationals beat the Brewers … Mets acquired outfielder Eric Young Jr. from the Braves for cash considerations; assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas.
American League Quick Hits: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Saturday that Michael Pineda (forearm) is expected to rejoin the rotation on Wednesday against the Astros … Yordano Ventura allowed just one run over six innings Saturday in the Royals’ defeat of the Red Sox … Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo tossed six shutout innings Saturday in a win over the Tigers … Mark Trumbo was scratched from the Mariners' starting lineup on Saturday due to a sore left knee … Mark Teixeira remains day-to-day with a deep bone bruise in his right shin … Fernando Rodney, who saved 48 games in 2014, was designated for assignment Saturday by the Mariners … Josh Donaldson went 4-for-5 with his 34th homer and 33rd double as the Blue Jays crushed the Angels on Saturday … Rick Porcello (triceps) is on track to rejoin the Red Sox rotation on Wednesday … Jose Altuve went 2-for-3 with a triple, a solo home run, and two runs scored in Saturday's win over the Dodgers … Yankees catcher Brian McCann swatted his 22nd home run of the season on Saturday … Ian Kinsler went 2-for-5 with a double and a two-run home run Saturday in the Tigers’ loss to the Rangers … Astros outfielder George Springer (wrist) has progressed to hitting off a tee … Yankees starter Luis Severino punched out six over six innings of one-run ball Saturday in a win over the Indians … Brock Holt was scratched from the Red Sox lineup Saturday with left oblique tightness … Greg Holland earned his 28th save of the season Saturday versus the Red Sox … Danny Valencia remained absent from the A’s lineup Saturday due to a hamstring injury … Astros lefty Scott Kazmir kept the Dodgers in check during Saturday's win, surrendering one run on six hits over six innings … Logan Forsythe collected his 14th homer and his 22nd double as the Rays edged the A's on Saturday … Matt Moore struck out 16 batters in six innings Saturday evening at Triple-A Durham … Blue Jays outfielder Chris Colabello went 3-for-5 and hit his 12th homer Saturday in a rout of the Angels.