Mike Yastrzemski’s grand slam sent a message to the Diamondbacks that the Giants were not going to lose Tuesday night’s game.
When the home runs continued — and continued and continued — on Wednesday, it felt as if the Diamondbacks were a helpful accessory to sending a message to the rest of the league. Imagine what the Giants could be if they really got going?
Sure, they have the National League’s best record, but much of the credit can be paid to the rotation and much of it to Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and helpful, further-down depth pieces. What if Yastrzemski, last year’s eighth-place finisher in the league’s MVP voting, looks more like the star he had become? What if their Silver Slugger second baseman transforms back into Donnie Barrels? What if Wilmer Flores gets as many balls in the air as he did last year, when he homered every 16.5 at-bats, the best of his career?
Playing the Diamondbacks, who have now lost 22 straight road games, has a way of making teams dream.
The Giants smoked Arizona, 13-7, on Wednesday at Oracle Park and hit five home runs — as many as they have slugged in a home game since 2003 — in front of 11,004 who witnessed a slugfest that made the Washington series feel like a few years ago.
The Giants (43-25) were down 7-0 entering the bottom of the second on Tuesday and outscored Arizona 22-8 since. They moved 1.5 up on the Dodgers, who were still playing as of publication, and six up on the Padres, who have lost seven of eight.
BUSTER BOMB 🚀
— KNBR (@KNBR) June 17, 2021
If Gabe Kapler’s crew is an NL West power, it has announced that by being powerful. Their 99 home runs this season is tied with Minnesota for second in baseball, behind only Toronto’s 103. The five dingers Wednesday came off five different bats; a three-run shot by Posey that stole back the lead after Anthony DeSclafani scuffled in the first; Steven Duggar and LaMonte Wade Jr. blasts interrupted by one batter in the fourth; and a fifth-inning pair from Brandon Belt and Wilmer Flores, the club exploding for nine runs in the fourth and fifth.
DeSclafani spotted Arizona a quick 2-0 lead, with the help of a misplayed ball that Wade overran, but that did not last in a first inning that lasted 43 minutes and included 76 pitches. The game got more watchable, especially for Giants fans.
Their five homers were one off their franchise record at Oracle Park and the most since they had five April 7, 2003, against San Diego. Yastrzemski has been on the injured list twice and has been about 150 points before his OPS from last year. He was on base three out of five times Wednesday.
Solano was on base twice in five at-bats, including a two-run single. In a mini four-game hitting streak, the second baseman is 6-for-16 and showing signs that he can be the barrel machine yet again.
Flores got a pinch-hit at-bat in the fifth and smoked a long, 403-foot shot to left that represented the eighth pinch-hit homer of the year for the Giants, which is the most in the majors and one ahead of Pablo Sandoval’s Braves. Even with the swing, Flores’ OPS is just .682 a season after the mark was .830. There is a lot of room for improvement.
There was room for Duggar to improve, too, as the outfielder went 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts against the Nationals. He is 4-for-6 with a pair of homers since.
His job and Wade’s are in jeopardy with Alex Dickerson possibly able to return from his back injury Saturday, perhaps followed by Darin Ruf (hamstring). But neither Duggar nor Wade wants to go anywhere, the latter going 2-for-5 Wednesday with an impressive opposite-field shot. Wade hit two homers in 42 games for Minnesota, and now has stroked four in 22 games with San Francisco.
The offense is suddenly here — coincidentally or not coinciding with MLB’s crackdown on foreign substances for pitchers — and it is majestic. The Giants did not need much from DeSclafani, who bounced back from the rough first and went five innings without allowing another run.
They didn’t need much from Conner Menez, either, but the lefty didn’t offer anything. He hadn’t given up a run this year, then was tattooed for five in the sixth inning. Jose Alvarez and Jimmie Sherfy finished it off.
It was a loud night at Oracle Park, and the offense hopes the rest of the league could hear it.