SAN DIEGO -- The Giants delivered a simultaneous display of What Might Have Been and What Could Be during Monday night's 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.The home runs clobbered by Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria demonstrated how the Giants might have been able to compete for a postseason
SAN DIEGO -- The Giants delivered a simultaneous display of What Might Have Been and What Could Be during Monday night's 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.
The home runs clobbered by Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria demonstrated how the Giants might have been able to compete for a postseason berth with a better offense than the one that had scored three or fewer runs in San Francisco's previous 11 games. Merely an adequate offense might have sufficed for the Giants, whose ERA is the best in the Major Leagues since June 1.
Meanwhile, a quartet of rookies generated hope for the future. Andrew Suarez pitched a season-high 7 2/3 innings. Chris Shaw went 3-for-3 to record his second consecutive multi-hit game. Aramis Garcia, making his initial big league start at first base, singled to drive in a key fourth-inning run. And right fielder Austin Slater unleashed a powerful throw, which is the sort of thing seen all too rarely from contemporary Major League outfielders.
"It's really fun to see young players perform well," Longoria said. "It kind of gives you promise going forward."
Crawford's clout interrupted a 60-game stretch in which he homered only twice. The All-Star shortstop explained that relentless soreness in his left knee hampered his ability to hit.
"I wasn't able to sit on that back knee," said Crawford, who has been helped recently by added rest. "I'd drift forward and it's hard to hit like that."
Longoria's long ball was his team-leading 16th. Though that's an embarrassingly low number for a club-high total, Longoria surely would have been more productive had he not missed 34 games with a fractured left hand in midseason. On Monday, Longoria was determined to get the best of Padres starter Bryan Mitchell (1-4), who slipped a couple of fastballs by him in his initial at-bat.
"I told myself I wasn't going to get beat with the fastball again," Longoria said.
Suarez (7-11) broke a mild slump. After yielding eight earned runs spanning 12 innings in his previous two outings, Suarez held San Diego to two runs and four hits. He had thrown only 87 pitches when manager Bruce Bochy strolled to the mound to relieve him. Hence, Suarez didn't respond kindly to his removal and made a gesture toward Bochy as if to indicate, "Are you kidding?" But Bochy didn't mind Suarez's attitude.
"He's a competitor," Bochy said.
Suarez quickly realized that he had committed one of baseball's cardinal sins, though the moment passed quickly.
"I made sure to apologize to him," Suarez said. "I thought I showed him up."
Shaw simply sustained his performance from Sunday.
"I'm a pretty feel-based hitter," he said. "When I can get consistent at-bats going, it really pays dividends as far as results."
Slater wowed everybody with his sixth-inning peg to second base from deep right field that retired Franmil Reyes, who tried to stretch a single into a double.
"That was one of the best outfield throws of the year," Crawford said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Left-hander Tony Watson maintained his quiet effectiveness by inducing Eric Hosmer's comebacker with his one and only pitch to strand two runners and end the eighth inning. Watson ranks among the Major League leaders with 31 holds and has held opponents scoreless in 17 of his last 20 appearances.
This was the Giants' third multiple-homer game in their last 39 contests.
Derek Holland will attempt to continue his 2018 renaissance on Tuesday when he confronts the Padres in a 7:10 p.m. PT rematch. Holland, who finished 7-14 with a 6.20 ERA for the White Sox last season, has compiled a 1.59 ERA in his last six starts. Opponents are batting .197 off him in that span. Holland will be opposed by Padres left-hander Joey Lucchesi.
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.