Monday’s doubleheader showcased the Giants could win with their bats as well as with their gloves and pitching.
Tuesday’s game put on display that it doesn’t need to be a revitalized core that makes the Giants’ surge last. Farhan Zaidi’s pickups can play, too. None better than his biggest.
A day after Brandon Crawford was the hero, it was Alex Dickerson who drew the leading role with Zaidi fliers Drew Pomeranz, Mike Yastrzemski and Kevin Pillar playing co-stars in an 8-4, 10-inning win at Coors Field, their fourth straight.
The victory improves the Giants to 46-49, the first time they have been three under .500 since they were 11-14 on April 24. They’re finally out of the NL West cellar, leapfrogging the Padres and tying the Rockies for third place. They maintained pace with the Phillies for the second wild card, still a stunning three games back as Colorado shakes its head and Zaidi scratches his with the trade deadline near. They have now won 11 of 13 games and have shown no signs of slowing.
So much credit, deservedly so, for the Giants’ uptick has gone to the stalwarts, as Crawford has emerged, Buster Posey has found his bat and Evan Longoria was on fire prior to his injury.
This time it was the hey-what-the-hells, led by Dickerson after Will Smith couldn’t come through.
The Giants led 4-1 entering the ninth before the All-Star closer allowed three runs on a pair of home runs to Trevor Story and Ian Desmond.
But Smith escaped the nightmare inning, his second blown save of the season – and of the young half – to allow Dickerson the spotlight.
The Giants rallied in the 10th off Wade Davis, walks to Posey and Pablo Sandoval bringing up Dickerson with one out. He hammered a single to right field, his career-high fourth hit of the game, Posey scoring and putting the Giants ahead. Crawford and Yastrzemski followed with singles before Nolan Arenado booted a Pillar grounder. What had been a 4-1 ninth-inning lead for the Giants became an 8-4 10th-inning lead.
Mark Melancon was able to finish it off — thanks in part to another diving catch by Pillar, who’s had a terrific series defensively — to give the Giants another victory that puts more pressure on Zaidi to figure out the plan.
What Zaidi does at the deadline is still a mystery. The work he’s already done is looking better every day, including Tuesday’s starter, Drew Pomeranz.
The free-agent signing, thought to be here as a cheap possible trade chip, has given reason for both sides to finish out their term together. The 30-year-old ditched his flaky but strong curveball, not throwing it all night, tossing five, one-run innings and allowed three hits and a walk while striking out four. That makes three solid starts in four outings for the boom-or-bust veteran, the blip being a four-inning, four-run performance against the Cardinals. On May 31, his ERA rested at 8.08. It has slashed down to 6.10.
Pomeranz did not have his filthiest stuff, but he was far more efficient than normal, needing just 73 pitches to get through five-plus. After he walked Garrett Hampson and Charlie Blackmon singled in the sixth, Trevor Gott entered and induced a Story fielder’s choice that scored Hampson. But Daniel Murphy bounced into a double play, the Giants’ bullpen locking down until the ninth.
Smith blew a lead that had been established by more Zaidi’ites.
The Giants scored two in the second after Dickerson singled and Yastrzemski launched a double off the right-field wall. Two infield singles, a swinging bunt by Pillar and a Joe Panik grounder that caromed off starter Peter Lambert’s glove, scored Dickerson, and the Giants would have all the runs they would need — until the ninth.
Of course, Dickerson and Yastrzemski provided some insurance, too. In the eighth, Dickerson volleyed a single to left to score Brandon Belt, an inning before Yastrzemski homered to provide a cushion that would prove important.