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Crawford homers twice, Longoria once as Giants take series from Orioles

On Sunday, the Giants proved something that should not have needed proving. They’re at least better than the Baltimore Orioles. With an 8-1 victory, the Giants secured just their fourth series win of the season, which came against the worst team in baseball.

Here are three thoughts from the Giants’ month-opening series win:

Can they switch parks? 

Camden Yards has the third highest home run rate in the major leagues (1.34), while Oracle Park has the second-lowest rate (0.69). Even without that stat, you could tell from watching this series alone that the Orioles’ stadium is a hitter’s heaven. That was especially apparent with the offensive displays put on by Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford on Sunday.

Longoria entered today without a hit in his last seven games, hitting an abysmal .209 and 0-for his last 18 at-bats. Instead of continuing that streak, he nearly hit for the cycle. After striking out in his first at-bat, Longoria hit a solo home run (above, his seventh of the year), a two-run ground-rule double, and a single. His last at-bat was a deep fly ball into the right-center field gap that was snagged with an acrobatic catch by Keon Broxton. Had it fallen, it would have provided a very good chance at a triple.

Here’s the ground-rule double:

Meanwhile, Brandon Crawford also entered Sunday’s game batting an identical .209 to Longoria after going 0-for-6 in his last six at-bats. Much like Longoria, Crawford took advantage of the Giants’ final day at Camden Yards. After a groundout in his first appearance and a pop fly in his second, Crawford put back-to-back jolts into a pair of balls in the following two at-bats. In the sixth, he tagged this solo shot:

In the eighth, Crawford tagged another solo home run for his fifth of the season:

Even Joe Panik and Mike Yastrzemski, who entered the eighth inning 0-for-4 and 0-for-3, respectively, picked up hits in the eighth. The only Giants player who failed to secure a hit on Sunday was, ironically, the team’s batting average leader in Pablo Sandoval (.276), who did secure an RBI with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning. The past three games have been a far cry from the traditionally horrible hitting the team has become accustomed to.

The 22 runs over a three-game game stretch are the most the Giants have accrued since they tagged the Colorado Rockies for 25 runs over two games on May 7 and 9, and put up 4 runs against the Reds in the game prior, for a season-high 29 runs over three games. This series’ 22 runs are the second-highest over a three-game stretch this season.

Samardzija follows Anderson with a stellar outing

Jeff Samardzija made essentially one mistake today, and it came in the first inning. He allowed an opposite-field homer to Trey Mancini in the first inning, and later allowed a double in that inning. After that, the Shark threw 5 innings of one-hit, no walk baseball with four strikeouts (six total). He followed up Shaun Anderson’s 7-inning performance in his first career win on Friday after Madison Bumgarner and Tyler Beede both pitched well on Wednesday and Thursday in 6-inning, one-run performances.

With Drew Pomeranz moved to the bench and Dereck Rodriguez likely back in the rotation, these past few games have given the Giants some hope that the starting rotation can find some of the great form they found last season.

The health of the backstops

Buster Posey was ruled out of Sunday’s game after he came up limping yesterday with a sore hamstring. The Giants haven’t elaborated on his status, but they called up Aramis Garcia today, and say they expect to play Posey on Tuesday in the series opener against the New York Mets after a day off on Monday.

On Sunday, Stephen Vogt took another beating behind the plate and camp up with a slight hitch in his step after a swinging strikeout got past him, and he failed to throw out Steve Wilkerson at first base. It didn’t look all too serious, but both catchers will be glad to have a day off on Monday, and, if needed, the Giants have the option to keep Garcia up and give both an extra day off in New York.


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