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Giants bounce back with solid pitching, fielding and Brandon Belt


Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports


Provided fans watching from home took a slightly longer dinner and did not bother to watch the first few minutes of the game, they saw the team Gabe Kapler wants to be.

Those lucky fans missed some of the same: Donovan Solano botching the first batted ball from the Rockies, the Giants’ major league-leading 17th error, followed by a Logan Webb wild pitch. It felt more like a replay than a live game, especially after Charlie Blackmon singled in David Dahl, another error proving costly.

But the misplays would stop there. The Giants were surehanded, solid and just offensive enough in a 4-3 win over the Rockies on Wednesday at Coors Field that represented a much cleaner effort than the messy ones they’ve been putting forth.

The big blow for the Giants was a three-run Brandon Belt home run in the fourth off Jon Gray, whom he has dominated (now 10-for-24 off the righty). Prior to the blast, Belt’s first of the year, the Giants had been hitless until Solano’s one-out single in the frame. For once, the Giants were able to take advantage of another team’s clumsiness, as Mike Yastrzemski also had reached in the inning on an error by Trevor Story.

The Giants added a key insurance run in the sixth again thanks to Belt, his second extra-base hit of the game and season putting him at second with two outs. A pitch later, Wilmer Flores jumped on a Gray fastball to pad the lead to 4-2 — which would prove useful in the seventh.

Noted Giants killer Nolan Arenado again killed the Giants. The great third baseman has homered each game of the series, launching one off Tony Watson in the seventh to make it 4-3. But that was the end of the scoring.

Logan Webb was the winning pitcher, the first Giants starter to earn one this year. The young righty was not thrown off by Solano’s misplay and bounced back, allowing only a cheap run in the third (on a Sam Hilliard single, stolen base and two sacrifices).

Webb lasted five innings — he did not look pleased with himself coming off the field after allowing a leadoff single to Tony Wolters in the sixth, which ended his outing after 68 pitches. His four-seamer, changeup and slider all got swings and misses, and he struck out four while allowing four hits and no walks.

Apart from Watson’s slip-up, Giants relievers — Caleb Baragar, Tyler Rogers and Trevor Gott (third save) — avoided much drama, impressive in a close game.

There were all sorts of encouraging signs for the Giants, including Brandon Crawford skying for a line drive by Arenado that he speared, Arenado slamming his bat in frustration. Tyler Heineman had no catcher’s interferences, which is progress. But what Kapler may have liked most ultimately did not matter.

In the eighth, Yastrzemski hit a soft ground ball up the middle that snuck through, and center fielder Dahl was not going all-out to reach it. Yastrzemski was.

He sprinted out of the box and only stopped when his momentum took him easily into second, sneakily taking an extra base. He would be stranded, but he represented the ideal: smart, aggressive play that puts pressure on the opposing team.

It’s been rare this year for the Giants (5-6), but was welcomed on Wednesday.

 

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