Winn's quality start sends Giants cruising to victory

April 17th, 2024

MIAMI -- The Giants haven’t hit their stride offensively yet, but they did enough to squeak past the Marlins, 3-1, and clinch their first road series win of the year in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale at loanDepot park.

Rookie earned the win after tossing six innings of one-run ball, snapping his 0-3 start to the season and lowering his ERA to 4.09 over his first four outings of 2024.

“It’s definitely nice to get that monkey off my back,” Winn said. “I finally felt great out there. … Mechanically I was more lined up, so it was easier to command the baseball.”

Winn blanked the Marlins over his first five innings before his rhythm seemed to be disrupted by an injury scare in the sixth.

Winn went down after taking Luis Arraez’s 94.2 mph comebacker off the inside of his left foot, though the ball ended up ricocheting to second baseman Thairo Estrada, who came charging in to secure the rebound and quickly threw to first in time for the out.

“I’m always there to help the team as much as I can,” said Estrada, who also put the Giants on the board with an RBI double off Marlins lefty Trevor Rogers in the second. “I wanted to be aggressive when it came time to make the play to help the team and our pitcher, who was throwing a great game. I think those are the types of things that help us win.”

Head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner and manager Bob Melvin emerged from the dugout to check on Winn, who remained in the game after making a few warmup tosses from the mound.

“I felt it at first, but once I stood up and put weight on it, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s fine,’” Winn said. “I just kept telling them I was fine. I want to stay in the game as long as I can. I had two outs, so I was like, ‘I can finish it.’”

Still, the Marlins tied the game when the next batter, Bryan De La Cruz, launched a low-and-away sinker out to right field for a solo home run.

Winn’s command continued to waver when he issued a two-out walk to Jazz Chisholm Jr. -- his first of the game -- though Chisholm was thrown out trying to steal second by catcher Patrick Bailey to end the inning.

“He obviously took that ball off the foot,” Melvin said. “It bothered him a little bit, enough to have to come out of the game. Even his warmup pitches were a little high, and then he ended up giving up a run. But we needed some innings today. We were down several guys. He gave us six innings -- really efficient in how he did it, too. He just pitched a great game when we needed him to.”

Winn departed after giving up four hits and throwing 81 pitches, though the Giants put him in line for the win after regaining the lead in the top of the seventh. Estrada reached on an infield single and then went first-to-third on another base hit by Bailey, putting runners on the corners with no outs against Marlins reliever Declan Cronin.

Arraez made a nice diving play to snag Nick Ahmed’s grounder up the middle and initiate a 4-3 double play, though Estrada managed to score from third and put the Giants ahead, 2-1. Matt Chapman then added a key insurance run with an RBI double in the eighth.

“We’re putting balls in play when we need to put balls in play and did just enough,” Melvin said. “We’re going to break out of this pretty soon, but it’s also nice to get some big hits. Chappy’s hit was huge and do some little things right to win a game.”

By taking two of three from the National League-worst Marlins (4-15), the Giants (8-11) picked up their first series win at Miami since 2016 and secured a 3-3 road trip across Florida. They’ll now return home to host the reigning NL champion D-backs on Thursday and attempt to win back-to-back games for the first time since March 29-30 at San Diego.

While they’ve been inconsistent early this year, the Giants will have a prime opportunity to finally put together an extended winning streak behind co-aces Logan Webb and Blake Snell, who will start the first two games of the homestand.

“I think across the board, we need to play better,” Melvin said. “Whether it’s on the pitching end, whether it’s on the offensive end, we just haven’t really hit our stride yet. We have certain games that look good, but we haven’t sustained it.

“To get out of these little funks or whatever we’re in, it usually takes a little bit of a winning streak. Confidence rises and you’re able to gain some momentum. We just haven’t had a ton of traction as far as that’s gone yet.”