When LaMonte Wade Jr., the first batter of the game for the Giants, saw four balls, it portended well for a team that had failed to draw a walk in three of the four games in Washington.
When Brandon Belt doubled, the omen was better. When Brandon Crawford homered, there were finally fewer signs to look for and actual runs on the board for San Francisco.
Maybe they needed to escape the East Coast heat; maybe they had to sleep in their own beds last night; maybe they just needed to see the truly terrible Diamondbacks, but something clicked.
The Giants left a ton of potential runs on base but plated enough in a 5-2, bounce-back victory at Oracle Park on Monday in front of 9,906, who witnessed Arizona lose its 20th straight road game.
Belt, Crawford and Alex Wood snapped out of skids in the first of a seven-game homestand. The Giants (41-25), meanwhile, have avoided any types of streaks in the past nine days, alternating wins and losses each game. They moved 1.5 games up on the Dodgers, who were midgame as of publication, and four games ahead of the Padres.
The deciding blow was a big one off their most trusted bat. Crawford’s 15th home run of the season, a fifth-inning, two-run, 403-foot shot off Arizona starter Matt Peacock, was the go-ahead blast. Ten of his 15 have given his club the lead or tied the game. Earlier in the day, MLB revealed he is fourth in All-Star tallying among NL shortstops, and he played as if he took the fan voting personally.
With 15, Crawford already has the second most home runs in a campaign of his career — and he’s done it in 58 games.
Brandon Crawford just smashed his 15th home run of the season, already the second-highest total of his career.
(It’s June 14 btw)
— KNBR (@KNBR) June 15, 2021
Crawford had entered 1-for-16 in five games, part of the swoon that has infected many of the bats in the lineup. He appeared to wake up, as did Belt, who entered in an 0-for-16 skid but doubled in Donovan Solano in the third. As did Curt Casali, who had not even had a multi-hit game this year, but exploded for three against Arizona. (One was a swinging bunt, but he was due for some luck.) Austin Slater, who had been 1-for-16 this month, singled in Steven Duggar — who also singled amid struggles — to give the Giants insurance in the eighth.
The Giants totaled 14 hits and should have scored more than their five runs, stranding 12. They knocked three doubles, two singles and drew two walks in the first three innings but managed a single run. Especially frustrating was a first-and-third-without-an-out opportunity wasted in the second; Wood struck out, and Wade grounded hard to first, with Christian Walker stepping on the bag and spinning and throwing to second behind Jason Vosler, who for some reason had wandered off.
Wood was not as unhittably excellent he was through much of April and May but also was far better than 11-runs-in-nine-innings outings he had suffered through his previous couple starts. His stuff and command were improved as he limited the Diamondbacks to two runs on four hits and a walk in six innings. He was great against everyone besides Carson Kelly, who doubled in one run and homered for another. Wood had an argument that the previous pitch before the homer was strike three.
He was a part of 10 strikeouts, though three of them involved Wood holding a bat. His arm was better than his slugging.
The 17 swings and misses he recorded were his most since July 5, 2017, when he also recorded 17 with the Dodgers (and also was opposing Arizona that day). That year he was an All-Star and finished with a 2.72 ERA; his mark is 3.71 through 11 games.
After Wood, Dominic Leone pitched around a walk and catcher’s interference in the seventh; Tyler Rogers got a big double-play ball in the eighth, and Jake McGee earned his 13th save.
The Giants looked far more comfortable at home. The Diamondbacks looked far from home.