© D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Giants wrapped up a two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon, winning 4-3. A series in which some rookies experienced major milestones in their careers, Shaun Anderson was the guy on Wednesday. After Tuesday night’s loss at the hands of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Anderson looked to make a name for himself in his major league debut.
Tuesday, the Giants experimented with an “opener” for the first time in Bruce Bochy’s managerial career. It did not work out so well, as Nick Vincent gave up three runs in the first inning. It’s been well documented how much the Giants struggle in first innings of baseball games, and Wednesday was no different. Anderson surrendered a lead-off single to Brandon Drury and a walk to Guerrero Jr. before Freddy Galvis gave the Blue Jays an early 1-0 lead on a double down the right-field line.
Pablo Sandoval has been the team’s most consistent hitter all season long and has torn the cover off the ball lately. The bottom of the first began with Joe Panik getting hit by a pitch before Steven Duggar reached base on a walk. Evan Longoria grounded into a double play before Sandoval came to the plate and roped an RBI double into left-center field, scoring Panik and tying the game at one run apiece.
Rookie Ball was alive and well Wednesday, especially in the bottom of the second. Kevin Pillar reached first on an error on a fly ball to right field. Next batter up, rookie catcher Aramis Garcia, launched a two-run homer to left-center. Anderson, the Giants’ rookie starting pitcher followed Garcia’s homer with a double into Triple’s Alley, a hit in in his first major league at-bat. The Giants led 3-1 after two.
First big league at bat and Shaun Anderson rips a double 🙌😂 pic.twitter.com/XYlt2jIitq
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) May 15, 2019
The Blue Jays would scrape another run in the top of the third. Drury walked to lead off the inning, and reached third after advancing on a couple of ground balls, then scored on a past-ball at home, trimming the Giants lead to 3-2.
Anderson’s memorable debut would continue in the bottom of the fourth. Pillar led off the inning with a double, and with one out, Anderson lined a single to left field. Solid through four innings and 2-2 at the plate, Anderson was having himself a day.
Shaun Anderson in his MLB debut is 2-2 at the plate with a double and a single.
He’s also pitched 5Ks through three innings and kept the Jays to two runs off two hits. #SFGiants
— Ryan McGeary (@RM_Geary) May 15, 2019
The Blue Jays continued to play small-ball against Anderson in the top of the fifth. Drury reached on a throwing error by Longoria and would eventually advance to third on an overthrown pick-off attempt at first base. Coming in to score on an RBI groundout from Guerrero Jr., the Blue Jays tied the game at three. That third run scored in the top of the fifth would be unearned.
Anderson’s day would end after five. The rookie impressed in his debut, even at the plate. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB’s, 5 K’s. Anderson kept Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays in check but did end up throwing 96 pitches in those five innings.
Mark Melancon came in to replace Anderson after his solid debut. More small ball by the Blue Jays allowed them to threaten in the top of the sixth. Randal Grichuk led off the inning with a bunt that trickled down the third base line and just nearly stayed fair. Galvis followed with a single and all of a sudden there were runners at first and third with no outs. Melancon would strikeout Teoscar Hernandez to record the first out before inducing a huge inning-ending double play to escape the sixth inning unscathed.
Clutch hitting was a theme for the Giants Wednesday afternoon. They would re-take the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a Brandon Crawford solo home run to left, his second of the year, which gave them the 4-3 lead heading into the seventh inning.
Both the seventh and eighth innings came and went quietly. Both teams were held scoreless throughout those two frames. Will Smith came in to close out the game in the ninth inning. Setting down the Blue Jays in order, Smith recorded his eleventh save, which is good for fourth in the National League.
Shaun Anderson was solid over five innings in his debut, while Melancon recorded the win and improved to 1-0 on the season. The Giants have the day off Thursday as they travel to Arizona to take on the D-Backs. Jeff Samardzija will square off against Merrill Kelly in the Giants’ first matchup against Arizona in 2019.