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Giants’ forgotten infielder comes up big when given a chance

Donovan Solano. Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports

He hadn’t played in four days.

But Donovan Solano was more fresh than rusty. And more than anything, he was just happy to see the field.

The veteran infielder, who’s been shuttled between the Giants and Triple-A Sacramento this year, made the case for sticking around on Wednesday, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored in the Giants’ 4-2 win over the Padres at Oracle Park.

The big hit came in the fifth, with Steven Duggar on second, two outs and the Giants down 2-1. Solano, who cited how Joey Lucchesi busted him inside in his previous two at-bats, was able to bloop one to left that fell between Josh Naylor and Fernando Tatis Jr. A comedy of errors later, he wound up on third, and he then scored the go-ahead run on an Evan Longoria infield single.

“That’s why he started tonight,” Bruce Bochy said after the Giants improved to 28-38, sweeping a two-game set against San Diego. “Gives you good at-bats against lefties. Allows you to rest [Joe] Panik or [Brandon] Crawford. His splits are really significant, too. … He can be really tough on lefties.”

The righty Solano, a former Marlin and Yankee, is now 9-for-25 (.360) against southpaws this season, compared with 1-for-12 against right-handers.

“I try to take every advantage that I get,” Solano, who played second as Panik rested, said through a translator. “That’s basically what my mindset is — do the best I can every time I get an opportunity.”

The 31-year-old got another opportunity in the seventh, the Giants clinging to a 3-2 lead with Duggar again on second. And again Solano came through, a lined double to left putting San Francisco up by the final margin.

“Today was my turn to help the team win,” said Solano, who had been glued to the bench since Saturday. “I just hope tomorrow someone else contributes to the win and we keep winning.”

He kept on winning after the game, awarded the “Baddest Man on the Field” title belt for being the top hitter in the game.

“Just a great guy in the clubhouse,” Shaun Anderson said after he pitched six strong innings. “Brings a lot of energy every day. Honestly, it’s fun to play with him.”


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