SAN FRANCISCO -- Virtually every season, the Giants make something out of nothing in their pursuit of able personnel. Their ability to scour talent from the ranks of players who entered Spring Training as non-roster invitees remains uncanny.Aside from Rookie of the Year candidate Dereck Rodriguez, this year's leading example
SAN FRANCISCO -- Virtually every season, the Giants make something out of nothing in their pursuit of able personnel. Their ability to scour talent from the ranks of players who entered Spring Training as non-roster invitees remains uncanny.
Aside from Rookie of the Year candidate Dereck Rodriguez, this year's leading example has been Alen Hanson, who looked impressive even as the Giants fell to the New York Mets, 4-1. Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard struck out 11 and yielded two hits in his first Major League complete game.
Performing an accurate impersonation of shortstop Brandon Crawford, who rested a sore left knee for the third consecutive game, Hanson made several difficult defensive plays besides tripling and scoring San Francisco's lone run in the third inning.
"That was really an impressive game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Hanson's performance.
Asked how he would react if told how much he resembled Crawford, the three-time Gold Glove winner who combines flash, dash and efficiency, Hanson said through interpreter Erwin Higueros, "You'd be saying the truth. It's part of the work I put in."
Hanson established a personal single-game high with seven assists, adding to his total most notably by darting up the middle to snare Michael Conforto's sharp seventh-inning grounder before whirling and throwing to first base for the out.
Hanson's hit, a sinking line drive that skipped under Mets right fielder Brandon Nimmo's glove, ended an 0-for-12 skid.
Formerly a member of the Pirates and White Sox, Hanson has lengthened the Giants' list of successful non-roster pickups, a group that includes Andres Torres, Gregor Blanco, Joaquin Arias and Ryan Vogelsong, among others. Like them, Hanson appears to be a keeper for another season.
"He's so athletic and versatile," Bochy said of Hanson, who has started 29 games at second base, 14 in left field, 10 at shortstop and five at third. "You can play him anywhere."
Hanson's feats weren't enough to inoculate Chris Stratton (9-8) from defeat, though the right-hander performed respectably while allowing three hits in six innings.
Stratton lapsed only in the second inning, when Conforto homered following Todd Frazier's leadoff double. That run support sufficed for the dominant Syndergaard (10-3), who actually faced one of his most significant challenges with Stratton in the third inning. Entering the game batting .108, Stratton fouled off a pair of 0-2 pitches before hoisting a sacrifice fly that scored Hanson.
Stratton put Syndergaard's performance in proper perspective: "His changeup is the same speed as my fastball."
The Giants endured their 30th game in which they scored one or zero runs. That's tied for fourth-most in the Majors with the Mets and Cubs. The Giants collected two hits, marking the 10th time they've totaled three or fewer in a game. That's the fourth-most in the big leagues.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
According to Statcast™, Giants right fielder Austin Slater traveled 85 feet to make his ninth-inning grab of Tomas Nido's drive to right-center field. It was one of several above-average defensive plays that the Giants recorded.
The Giants begin a two-city, six-game trip on Monday with a 12:10 p.m. PT Labor Day matinee at Denver's Coors Field. Madison Bumgarner, who has yielded one earned run in his last 15 innings spanning two starts, will pitch the series opener for the Giants. San Francisco must sweep the three-game series to sustain its flickering postseason hopes. Colorado, in the midst of the scramble atop the National League West, will throw left-hander Tyler Anderson at the Giants.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.