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Bump in playing time boosting Tomlinson

MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- With the Phillies seemingly poised to unleash a loud sixth inning, second baseman Kelby Tomlinson made a play that surely brought a smile to starter Jeff Samardzija's face.

With runners on the corners and nobody out, Tomlinson dove to snag Tommy Joseph's grounder on course for center field. He executed a flawless glove flip, transferring the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford covering at second. Crawford then muscled the ball to first to complete the double play and stifle the Phillies' attack before the Giants claimed a 5-4 win Thursday night.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- With the Phillies seemingly poised to unleash a loud sixth inning, second baseman Kelby Tomlinson made a play that surely brought a smile to starter Jeff Samardzija's face.

With runners on the corners and nobody out, Tomlinson dove to snag Tommy Joseph's grounder on course for center field. He executed a flawless glove flip, transferring the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford covering at second. Crawford then muscled the ball to first to complete the double play and stifle the Phillies' attack before the Giants claimed a 5-4 win Thursday night.

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"Obviously, Kelby threw me a big bone there with his play," Samardzija said.

Tomlinson's perspective on the play was much more analytical. He admitted glove flipping isn't often part of his routine -- and certainly not from the ground.

"I dove to try and stop it," he said. "I couldn't figure out how to get it out of my glove with my hand trying to hold my weight up, so I just did a glove flip and hoped for the best, that it would go in the right spot."

Multiple times in recent months, Giants manager Bruce Bochy has said he'd like to get Tomlinson more playing time. That window of opportunity is now open with second baseman Joe Panik on the seven-day concussion disabled list. So far, Tomlinson has taken hold of his newfound playing time. He pieced together a 2-for-4 showing Thursday, legging out a double in the third and singling in the sixth.

Video: PHI@SF: Tomlinson legs out a double in the 3rd

His night drew praise from Bochy, who said he's seen the utility man improve his at-bats with a recent spike in opportunities.

"He's making a lot better contact, too," Bochy said. "I think that's just with increased playing time. He's seeing the ball better right now."

Tomlinson echoed his skipper's sentiment, saying it's much easier to make adjustments game to game when he knows he'll likely be on the lineup card each game.

"When you get four straight days, those adjustments you make, you actually get to use them," Tomlinson said. "That's the big thing whenever you get those consistent ABs."

Tomlinson figures to be a key piece of the Giants' infield plans until Panik can make his way back to the active roster. On Friday, the team will evaluate Panik -- who was pegged in the head while scoring versus the Nationals -- before cementing a rehab plan.

"Hopefully Joe will get to feeling better and get back out there," Tomlinson said. "This team needs him and we're better with him. But [I'll] just use these days to try and get some consistent at-bats, which I haven't got as many this year. Just try to play the game hard and compete every time I get a chance."

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Giants, Kelby Tomlinson