This Giants player nearly matched Bonds

April 10th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the second consecutive night, came up to bat for the Giants with the bases loaded. For the second consecutive night, he cleared them.

After hitting his first career grand slam Monday, Pillar delivered a three-run double off left-hander Joey Lucchesi to punctuate a six-run second inning that propelled the Giants to a 7-2 win over the Padres on Tuesday night at Oracle Park.

“He’s just giving you good at-bats,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s got some pop, and he’s really coming through in the clutch here for us, too. The grand slam and then, of course, tonight what happened there. He’s a professional hitter. He’s a great addition to this club.”

Pillar, who joined the Giants one week ago after being traded by the Blue Jays, drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth, giving him eight RBIs over his last two games and tying him with Brandon Belt for the team lead.

The last Giants player to record four RBIs in back-to-back games? Barry Bonds, who collected nine RBIs over a two-game stretch in April 2002.

“I think any time you are traded and brought to a new clubhouse -- new group of players, new organization, front office, fans -- I think you want to go out there and have kind of your moment,” Pillar said. “Today kind of showcased what I feel l can bring to the table.”

Pillar’s production has been particularly impressive considering he’s still in the process of adjusting to the National League after spending his entire career with Toronto.

“There’s a lot of things that people don’t necessarily think about when you are traded from a place you’ve been a long time, especially going to a new league,” Pillar said Monday. “I’m facing guys for the first time. A lot of these guys I’ve never even seen pitch.”

Pillar was still with the Blue Jays when Lucchesi tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Giants in the second game of the season. On Tuesday, Pillar slotted into the leadoff spot against the 25-year-old Padres starter, who did not allow a run in his first two starts of the year.

Lucchesi retired the Giants in order in the first inning, but he yielded four consecutive hits -- including an RBI single to Evan Longoria and an RBI double to Yangervis Solarte -- to start the second.

After walking Gerardo Parra to load the bases, Lucchesi misplaced a sinker to Pillar, who punched it to left field. The ball skipped away from outfielder Hunter Renfroe, allowing all three runners to score and Pillar to cruise into second. Pillar subsequently scored from second on fellow newcomer Tyler Austin’s single, capping the Giants’ six-run outburst.

“That could be one of our best games in a while where we really kept the line moving,” Bochy said.

In Pillar, the Giants finally landed the right-handed-hitting center fielder they had sought throughout the offseason. Cameron Maybin, Drew Ferguson and Michael Reed unsuccessfully auditioned for the role before San Francisco managed to strike a deal for the 30-year-old veteran.

“Ultimately, I’ve just got to hold up my end of the bargain and be the guy they traded for,” Pillar said.

Aside from his recent contributions with his bat, Pillar has also lived up to his reputation as a stellar defender in center, running down several balls in the gaps and making a few diving grabs. His presence allowed the Giants to give Steven Duggar, who is coming off shoulder surgery, his first day off Tuesday.

Pillar received a large shipment of personal belongings from the Blue Jays earlier this week, marking the end of his “past life” with the club. He finally moved into a new place Sunday night, perhaps explaining why he’s beginning to look at home with the Giants.

Holland shines

The Giants provided more than enough run support for left-hander , who struck out nine over seven innings of one-run ball in his longest start for San Francisco. Holland blanked the Padres through six innings before surrendering a home run to Renfroe in the seventh. It was the first time the 32-year-old had pitched at least seven innings since May 21, 2017, when he fired eight innings for the White Sox.

“I joked around with [Madison Bumgarner] and said, ‘I made it past five innings,’” Holland said. “I also didn’t throw 100 pitches in five innings. It was good.”