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Dickerson astounds in debut, Pillar follows suit as Giants slam Diamondbacks

© Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Giants fans, meet Alex Dickerson. He nearly tripped after celebrating a debut grand slam and came a double short of the cycle to propel the Giants to a rare offensive outburst and victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Dickerson (6 RBIs) and Kevin Pillar (4 RBIs) – neither of whom were on the Giants’ roster at the start of the season, and both of whom are outfielders who were acquired in trades that shipped off pitching prospects – combined to drive in 10 of the the Giants’ 11 runs today. Despite an unsavory, five-run outing from Jeff Samardzija, the Giants built upon the eight-run, near comeback against the Dodgers a night prior en route to a 11-5 win.

Dickerson goes double short of the cycle

There’s not much more Alex Dickerson will have wished for on Friday night, except for a double. He was recalled for Steven Duggar, who was sent to the 10-day injured list with a back strain. With a starting opportunity which saw him slotted into the seventh spot in the lineup, Dickerson notched a few Giants milestones with an outrageous 3-for-5, 6 RBI performance featuring a grand slam, a 2 RBI triple and a single.

Dickerson joined Brandon Crawford and Bobby Bonds as the only Giants with a grand slam on their debut, and his 6 RBIs highest by any Giant on their debut. His grand slam was also a 458-foot line drive and one of the 10 hardest-hit balls by any Giant this season with a 110.9 exit velocity. He also looked like he nearly stumbled from excitement while high-fiving his new teammates, and an extra endearing layer to his milestone night:

Pillar keeps boosting his value in June

As KNBR’s Mark Sanchez pointed out on Tuesday, Pillar has been a completely different player in the month of June than he has been on the year after stating that he hadn’t enjoyed being moved out of his traditional center spot and all but explicitly said he’d welcome a trade.

With a 2-for-4, 4 RBI game on Friday, Pillar is now batting .318 (21-for-66) with three home runs and 12 RBIs in June, and his .214 average at the start of the month has improved to .238. He kick-started the Giants’ offense with a 432-foot two-run home run in the second inning, and added to his tally in the top of the 7th inning with a 2 RBI single. Dickerson drove him in on the next play on a triple to move the Giants’ lead to 10.

Samardzija gave the Giants innings

Four days into the 2019 season, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the expectations for Jeff Samardzija were no longer to be the guy you go to for long-inning outings. Samardzija was sidelined by July last year after failing to get a temperamental, inflamed right shoulder to cooperate from spring training on.

“We’re not looking at him to be the guy to eat a lot of innings now, so we have help for him in the bullpen if needed,” Bochy said on March 31, before Samardzija worked a debut, five-inning, one earned run start. “Sure, you want your starters to have that mindset, but he’ll tell you, ‘Hey,’ if he can give us five or six good innings, that’s good, that’s a nice job on his part.”

Bochy’s “five or six good innings” hope has proven to be near exactly what Samardzija has done. Now, roughly one start away from his halfway mark on the year, Samardzija proven he’s still some version of that inning eater, but not that seven-, eight- or nine-inning guy that he was most recently in 2017, his last 200-plus inning season at an MLB-leading 207 innings, and his sixth-straight season at that mark.

This year, Samardzija’s roughly on pace to finish with around 160 innings pitched. He’s still on pace for about 30 starts (he hit at least 32 in each of that six-year streak of 200-plus innings), but at about 5.14 innings per start, as opposed to the roughly 6.5 inning per start he averaged over that window.

With a now-4.23 ERA after a five-inning, five earned run start on Friday in which Samardzija was lucky to get through a four-run fourth inning, it’s clear Samardzija’s not blowing anyone away. Still, he’s giving the Giants decent innings when they’ve lacked consistency from most of their starters. That ERA is also lower than three of those six 200-plus inning seasons Samardzija had.

Bonus: Giants score 11th run because Diamondbacks forget how to make a relay

After Brandon Belt beat out a throw at first to reach on a fielder’s choice and would-be double play, Steven Vogt (who was also fantastic today, going 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI) hit a double to the left-center field gap that tipped off Jarrod Dyson’s glove and bounced around before Dyson wheeled the ball in to shortstop Nick Ahmed, who threw a dart on a bounce to the plate that was about a full second ahead of Brandon Belt.

For some reason, only known to first baseman Christian Walker, Walker cut off the ball, which, again, was destined to beat Belt at the plate, and then turned to watch Belt score. Here’s what that looked like, featuring a very angry Archie Bradley:


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