The more glances the Giants get at their future, the more it looks like their present.
Joey Bart did not need to start, did not need to be fresh, did not need many hacks to make his imprint on a game. Mike Yastrzemski did not need to swing to show the Giant a few more reasons he is another piece to build around, contributing first with his glove and then eye.
Both inexperienced standouts helped preserve a dazzling complete game by Tyler Anderson in a 5-1 Giants victory over the Diamondbacks on Saturday, the fifth straight for a resurgent and resilient team surging with seven more games to play before the trade deadline.
Yastrzemski is leading the majors in WAR, and his three triples are tops, too, while his six home runs and 1.086 OPS are turning him into an MVP candidate. But he really should be credited with a save as well.
The right fielder made the best catch the Oracle Park cutouts have seen this year. Anderson was rolling in the sixth, having retired 16 straight Arizona hitters before grazing Kole Calhoun. Ketel Marte powered a deep drive to right that Yastrzemski kept ranging back for, Calhoun rounding the bases with two outs to score the potential tying run if the ball fell. But Yastrzemski, a day before his birthday and on his grandfather’s birthday, timed his jump right and crashed into the wall, snaring the ball and holding on as he hit the ground to hold on to a 1-0 lead.
YAZ HE DID! 😲
@mikeyaz18 | #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/6shb333svZ
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) August 23, 2020
Anderson watched from just behind the mound. And watched. And watched. It was unclear if he didn’t believe Yastrzemski had caught it or was awaiting a review, but he was appreciative all the same.
Still, Arizona would tie it an inning later with some help from the Giants’ (13-16) defense. A high throw by Brandon Crawford allowed leadoff hitter Starling Marte to reach, and he stole second. With one out, David Peralta lined a hit to right that Yastrzemski charged but couldn’t field cleanly to challenge at the plate.
Bart and some wild Arizona pitching would ensure the tie game did not last long.
With one on, Gabe Kapler pinch-hit Bart for Chadwick Tromp against lefty Matt Grace. In his third major league game, Bart had his third major league double, slamming a shot off the very top of the center-field wall. He needs to do a couple more pushups to record his first big-league homer.
Afterward, Grace could not locate the zone. He walked Mauricio Dubon to load the bases without an out. Yastrzemski then walked on five pitches for the anticlimactic go-ahead run, his 22nd RBI on the year. Alex Dickerson followed with his own walk on a night the Giants drew eight bases on balls. Donovan Solano’s fielder’s choice and Brandon Belt’s RBI single accounted for the final tallies.
Anderson’s best start, perhaps of his career, was well-timed; this was his first complete game. The Giants’ rotation has been taking big steps, and the offseason flier from the Rockies took his with a dazzling nine-inning, three-hit, none-earned masterpiece. He struck out four and was ruthlessly efficient, recording 27 outs on just 103 pitches. He had not pitched into the sixth this year, and Kapler showed if he’s efficient, he can pitch very deep.
Anderson was around the plate all night, 68 strikes without walking a batter, and did it all without overpowering stuff. His fastest pitch was 93 mph and he looked like the rookie Rockies star he was in 2016.
The Giants’ first run scored essentially accidentally. Arizona starter Zac Gallen could not find the strike zone in the first inning and walked the bases loaded. Belt hit a weak grounder to second base that became a double play that scored one. Until the Diamondbacks tied it in the seventh, the Giants had a chance for a rare victory without recording an RBI.
They’ll take the regular victory, though.