SAN FRANCISCO -- Maybe no one but the Giants thought they'd be where they are Tuesday morning, back at .500 after 60 games, just 1 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West and surging after Monday's 10-3 win over the first-place D-backs.A club that had been
SAN FRANCISCO -- Maybe no one but the Giants thought they'd be where they are Tuesday morning, back at .500 after 60 games, just 1 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West and surging after Monday's 10-3 win over the first-place D-backs.
A club that had been written off when starters Madison Bumgarner and then Johnny Cueto went on the disabled list has survived that 1-2 kick in the gut. And now Bumgarner is due to come off the disabled list Tuesday for his first MLB start of the season.
"It's the Giants' way," first baseman Pablo Sandoval said. "It's exciting. And now we get to see our ace come back and throw the ball the way he does."
Sandoval hit one of four Giants homers Monday, all of them solo shots and three of them to lead off innings. Sandoval's came in the fifth inning, but the one that excited him most came from Andrew McCutchen an inning earlier.
The D-backs had just scored twice on a Ketel Marte double in the fourth when McCutchen opened the bottom of the inning with his fifth bomb. Brandon Crawford followed with a blast of his own, and the deficit was neutralized. Before the inning was over, the Giants would add seven more runs.
"That's the good thing; we took advantage in that inning," Sandoval said. "McCutchen hit that home run and after that Crawford, and then we're working and working every pitch to score more. After they scored two, McCutchen really awakened us."
Pinch-hitter Alen Hanson brought in two runs with a double, and after a replay reversal put Joe Panik on base as a hit batter, the Giants scored three more times, the last two on a Buster Posey double. Sandoval and pinch-hitter Nick Hundley then hit leadoff homers in the fifth and eighth innings.
Hanson's hit broke the game open, but it also cost Giants starter Derek Holland the win. Hanson hit for Holland in the fourth with one out and the bases loaded. Manager Bruce Bochy joked with Holland that if he were averaging .200, he would have thought about letting him hit. Instead, reliever Pierce Johnson -- who was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento following the game to clear a roster spot for Bumgarner's return -- got his third win with two scoreless innings.
"I guess I've got some work to do," Holland, hitting .053, said, breaking into a grin. "I know that had to be a tough call for Bochy. If we've got a chance to score some runs, we've got to go for it. Hanson did a great job stepping right in there. We put up seven that inning, and that's huge for us."
On May 1, the Giants were 6 1/2 games behind the D-backs. Heading into Tuesday, they are just 1 1/2 back and on a roll. Not only do they have a five-game winning streak, but they just scored 10 runs against a D-backs pitching staff that allowed them just 14 runs in six April games.
"It was good to break out," Bochy said. "We got down two, and we came back. What a great at-bat for [Hanson]. That got the ball rolling. And that was the ballgame.
"Now it will be exciting to have Madison back. He's our guy, along with Johnny, and we've missed them."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hanson stepped in with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning and just missed a bases-clearing double into the right-field corner on an 0-2 pitch. On the next pitch, he doubled into the left-field corner, scoring two runs and breaking a 2-2 tie.
HE SAID IT
"I'm a diehard fan. I have been for three days." -- Longtime Dallas Mavericks fan Holland, who was wearing a Golden State Warriors cap after the game
The Giants welcome back their ace Tuesday in Bumgarner, out with a broken pinkie in his left hand since March 23, when he was hit by a liner in San Francisco's final Cactus League game. He made two official Minor League rehab starts, going 8 1/3 innings in which he struck out 15 while allowing one run.
John Hickey is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.