Not a no-no, but Wood 'had that kind of stuff'

Left-hander dominant in Giants' win; not 'invisible' on the basepaths, though

April 29th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants left-hander Alex Wood had only one major misstep against the Rockies on Wednesday night, and it came on the basepaths, not the mound.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Wood drew a walk against Colorado reliever Jordan Sheffield and advanced to second on a single by Tommy La Stella. The 30-year-old veteran then tried to steal third, but he was easily thrown out and took a tumble over the bag as he tried to avoid Rockies third baseman Josh Fuentes’ tag.

“I just thought I was invisible, I guess,” Wood said. “That wasn’t the smartest decision that I’ve ever made.”

After returning to the dugout, Wood quickly grabbed his glove and returned to the primary task at hand. He continued to roll, striking out a season-high nine while tossing six-plus innings of two-run ball in the Giants’ 7-3 win, which secured a series victory at Oracle Park.

Following a 5-2 homestand, the 16-9 Giants will now head to San Diego tied with the Dodgers for first place in the National League West. San Francisco's April success is largely owed to its dominant starting rotation, which has logged a Major League-best 2.20 ERA through the club’s first 25 games.

Wood, who improved to 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA over his first three starts with the Giants, didn’t allow a hit until Garrett Hampson produced a double that eluded right fielder Darin Ruf with two outs in the sixth. Ruf nearly pulled off a diving play to try to keep the no-hit bid intact, but he couldn’t hang on after the ball hit the tip of his glove.

Wood thanked Ruf for his effort at the end of the inning and admitted that the possibility of throwing a no-hitter had entered his mind earlier in the evening.

“After the second inning, I thought I had that kind of stuff tonight,” Wood said. “I don’t really hang my hat on being able to throw a no-hitter, but I feel like my stuff has been really good. After that second inning, I felt like I was pretty dialed in.”

Wood carried a shutout into the seventh, but he allowed the first four batters of that inning to reach on a leadoff walk and a trio of singles, the last of which was a Yonathan Daza RBI knock that cut the Giants’ lead to 4-1. With his pitch count at 97, Wood was lifted in favor of rookie right-hander Camilo Doval, who came in to face Fuentes with the bases loaded and no outs in his fifth big league appearance.

Another run scored when Fuentes grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that featured slick glovework from shortstop Brandon Crawford and first baseman Brandon Belt, but Doval limited the damage by inducing a groundout from Raimel Tapia to end the inning.

“It was a gutsy performance by Doval,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I’m sure you guys saw, I went out to the mound with [quality assurance coach] Nick Ortiz to ensure that we got all the communication right. We basically said, ‘We just need you to be in the strike zone as much as possible.’ We reminded him how good his stuff is. He’s just very, very calm out there on the mound. I don’t think the moment is too big for him. I thought he did a nice job tonight.”

Newly acquired outfielder Mike Tauchman impressed as well, going 3-for-4 with an RBI in his Giants debut. Tauchman, who came over in a trade with the Yankees in exchange for left-hander Wandy Peralta and a player to be named on Tuesday, singled to left field to load the bases in the second inning, setting the stage for a four-run rally against Rockies right-hander Germán Márquez.

Tauchman later helped the Giants pad their lead with a three-run seventh. After San Francisco loaded the bases with one out, Tauchman hit a comebacker that Colorado reliever Yency Almonte tried to snag with his bare hand. Almonte ended up deflecting the ball, foiling a potential inning-ending double play for the Rockies and bringing home a run for the Giants.

“He was exactly as advertised,” Kapler said of Tauchman. “Very comfortable in the outfield. Smart on the bases. He got good secondary leads. In the batter’s box, he was a fighter, very competitive and made good swing decisions.”

Tauchman will likely see significant playing time against right-handed pitching now that starting right fielder Mike Yastrzemski is on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain. The Giants had tried to avoid putting Yastrzemski on the shelf, but they determined that the best course of action would be to give him more time to heal.

Tauchman, a left-handed hitter who can play all three outfield spots, should be able to help fill the void in the meantime and prevent the Giants from having to rush Yastrzemski back.

“I think what we came to recognize was that he’s not going to be ready tomorrow or the next day,” Kapler said. “Given where we are, we thought that the most stress-free way to handle this is to give him the full 10 days. We don’t feel like it’s going to be much longer than that at all. I feel good that he’s going to be good and actually refreshed from this little break."