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The 3 biggest boosts in SF's win vs. Padres

@mi_guardado
June 13, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Behind six strong innings from rookie Shaun Anderson and a home run from Kevin Pillar, the Giants won their second straight game against the Padres, 4-2, on Wednesday night to secure their first series win at Oracle Park in six weeks. Neither Anderson nor Pillar delivered the

SAN FRANCISCO -- Behind six strong innings from rookie Shaun Anderson and a home run from Kevin Pillar, the Giants won their second straight game against the Padres, 4-2, on Wednesday night to secure their first series win at Oracle Park in six weeks.

Neither Anderson nor Pillar delivered the most impactful moment of the game, though -- that distinction belonged to second baseman Donovan Solano, whose wacky game-tying single in the fifth inning provided the biggest momentum swing for the Giants, according to FanGraphs data.

Box score

Here’s a look at the three plays that delivered the most significant boosts in win expectancy for San Francisco on Wednesday:

Solano bloops his way to third base
Inning: Bottom fifth
Win expectancy before the play: 37.6 percent
Win expectancy after the play: 55.2 percent
Net: +17.6 percent

With left-hander Joey Lucchesi on the mound for the Padres, the Giants opted to start the right-handed-hitting Solano over Joe Panik and slot him into the leadoff spot. The move paid off, as Solano finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs in only his eighth start of the year for the club.

After Steven Duggar singled and advanced to second on an error by Fernando Tatis Jr. in the fifth, Solano blooped an RBI single to left field to tie the game at 2. Padres left fielder Josh Naylor fielded the ball, but his throw back to the infield skipped past second baseman Ian Kinsler and bounced out of play for a two-base error, putting Solano at third.

“I flew out in my first two at-bats, so I was trying to hit more of a line drive,” Solano said in Spanish. “[Lucchesi] threw me an inside pitch. He had been dominating me with outside pitches, so I decided to swing, and fortunately, that was the result. I had the opportunity to advance with the errors that they made that inning.”

Solano has received limited playing time since being called up from Triple-A Sacramento, but manager Bruce Bochy said he hopes to give the backup infielder more opportunities against left-handed pitchers. The 31-year-old proved that he can be effective in that role Wednesday, as his single off Lucchesi and RBI double off Robbie Erlin in the seventh lifted his batting average against lefties to .360 (9-for-25) on the season.

“That’s why he started tonight,” Bochy said. “He gives you good at-bats against lefties and allows you to rest Panik or [Brandon] Crawford. I thought Donovan put together a really nice game.”

Longoria’s go-ahead infield single
Inning: Bottom fifth
Win expectancy before the play: 56.6 percent
Win expectancy after the play: 71.3 percent
Net: +14.7 percent

Brandon Belt kept the Giants’ fifth-inning rally alive by drawing a walk to bring Evan Longoria to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs. Longoria shot a first-pitch changeup up the middle that was fielded by Tatis, who kept the ball in the infield but couldn’t record an out on the play, allowing Solano to score the go-ahead run from third.

“I guess we did a little ground attack there and got some breaks,” Bochy said. “It was good to take advantage of it and get [Anderson] a win with the job that he did.”

Pillar’s blast
Inning: Bottom second
Win expectancy before the play: 52.6 percent
Win expectancy after the play: 64.4 percent
Net: +11.8 percent

Pillar entered Wednesday batting just .180 over his last 14 games, but he put the Giants on the board by crushing a solo shot off Lucchesi in the second inning. After getting ahead in the count, 2-0, Pillar hammered a fastball out to left field for his seventh home run of the season and his first since May 7.

Pillar also delivered a defensive highlight in top of the second, making an impressive catch in the right-field corner to rob Ian Kinsler of extra bases.

“Great catch,” Bochy said. “It’s kind of difficult. You saw some guys struggling with fly balls and popups out there, but what a terrific catch he made, and of course, [opened the scoring] with that home run.”

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.