© Kiel Maddox-USA TODAY Sports
For the second straight day, the Giants opened the game with a 4-0 first inning lead over the Texas Rangers. But unlike last night, the Giants didn’t blow that lead. Instead, they held on to beat the Rangers 5-3 on the second day of players’ weekend.
The first-inning onslaught started with a leadoff double from Andrew McCutchen and a single from Brandon “Bob” Belt. A sacrifice fly from Evan Longoria scored McCutchen and a walk from Nick Hundley was followed by a fly out from Austin Slater. It left Brandon “DJ BC Raw” at the plate with two outs and two men. Crawford ripped a three-run home run to left center field, giving the Giants that 4-0 first inning lead.
But it was a game largely defined by pitching, specifically from Andy Suarez. Suarez matched his best performance of the year, pitching seven shutout innings and allowing just three hits while striking out five. He had a nearly identical night June 2 against the Philadelphia Phillies, when he had the exact same line of three hits and five strikeouts through seven shutout innings.
The Giants appeared to be running away with the game after Hunter Pence pinch hit for Suarez in the bottom of the seventh and ripped a home run to left field, extending the lead to 5-0.
But as the Giants have learned, one mistake can change everything. In the eighth, after Hunter Strickland retired his first two batters, he looked poised for a 1-2-3 inning. A fly ball to left field should have seen the inning come to a close, but Austin Slater bobbled and dropped the ball.
After Slater’s error, Shin-Soo Choo hit a single and Rougned Odor stepped up with two men on and two outs – much like Crawford in the first. And just like Crawford, Odor hit a three-run homer. This time it was to right field, over Levi’s Landing, cutting the Giants lead to 5-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Giants did what they’ve done all season – strand baserunners. After Nick Hundley and Austin Slater singled, both Crawford and Alen Hanson – who replaced Chase d’Arnaud – struck out to leave Steven Duggar at the plate with runners at second and third. Duggar popped up with Buster Posey on deck to end the inning.
The waste of baserunners proved to be unproblematic, but only barely. Will Smith came in and retired two Rangers batters but loaded the bases. Mark Melancon came in against Carlos Perez to get the final out and secure the win, moving the Giants to 64-67.