SAN FRANCISCO -- The legend of Mac Williamson continued to grow with San Francisco's 4-2 victory Monday night over the Washington Nationals, just like the reputations of previous Giants capable of prodigious feats.From recent years, think of Timothy Lincecum throwing unhittable pitches with his impossibly long stride or Madison Bumgarner
SAN FRANCISCO -- The legend of Mac Williamson continued to grow with San Francisco's 4-2 victory Monday night over the Washington Nationals, just like the reputations of previous Giants capable of prodigious feats.
From recent years, think of Timothy Lincecum throwing unhittable pitches with his impossibly long stride or Madison Bumgarner pitching as well as hitting his way to victory. From previous eras, ponder Barry Bonds and Willie McCovey hitting balls literally out of sight, Juan Marichal creating shutout masterpieces with his leg kick as well as his arm action or Willie Mays doing just about anything.
Sheer power is Williamson's stock-in-trade. In Monday's sixth inning, he drove a two-run homer to right-center field at AT&T Park, an area rarely reached by right-handed batters such as him.
The numbers proved that Williamson's clout was as impressive as it looked. According to Statcast™, it traveled a projected 464 feet.That ranked second among Giants only to Brandon Belt's 475-foot drive on May 22, 2015 -- the year of Statcast™'s inception. It also tied for the fourth-longest homer in the Major Leagues this season.
Williamson's round-tripper was the fifth-hardest tracked by Statcast™ from a Giant, complementing his all-time, hardest-hit ball just last Friday at Anaheim (114.2 mph).
Giants manager Bruce Bochy insisted that he had never seen a right-handed batter deposit a ball into that area -- not even in batting practice. "It shows you how strong the guy is," Bochy said of Williamson, who connected off Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley's first pitch.
Having divided his previous three seasons between Triple-A and the Majors, Williamson refused to get too excited.
"I'm encouraged, but this is a game of adjustments," he said. "So I'm not complacent with where I am right now. I know that it's always going to be a game of adjustments. As you have success, they're going to adjust to how you're doing and you're going to adjust back to what they're doing. It's a constant chess game."
On this night, the Giants' grandmaster was starter Chris Stratton (2-1), who worked 6 2/3 innings, yielding two runs and four hits while walking three and striking out five. The right-hander paced the Giants to their third victory in four games, while Washington lost its third in a row.
The Giants have emerged victorious in Stratton's last four starts. In that span, he's personally 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA. He also improved to 4-0 with a 2.02 ERA in six career starts at AT&T Park.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stratton steps up: Stratton proved that he deserved to determine his own fate in the sixth inning, with the Giants holding a 2-1 lead. That advantage was threatened with one out when third baseman Evan Longoria misplayed a foul popup from Bryce Harper, who walked on the next pitch. Harper then went to third base as right fielder Andrew McCutchen muffed Ryan Zimmerman's catchable line drive for a two-base error. But Stratton recovered by striking out Matt Adams and retiring Matt Wieters on a harmless fly to center.
HE SAID IT
"More or less, I added a leg kick and lowered the hands and [made] a few other tweaks to be balanced in my swing throughout from start to finish and be shorter and more direct to the ball." -- Williamson, explaining the changes he made in his swing during the offseason
Giants left-hander Ty Blach will make his first career appearance against Washington in Tuesday's rematch beginning at 7:15 p.m. PT at AT&T Park. Left-handed-hitting Gregor Blanco could get a spot in the Giants' lineup with right-hander Tanner Roark scheduled to pitch for the Nationals. Blanco is batting .345 (10-for-29) when he starts.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com.