Tomlinson stars in Giants' weird winning rally

April 28th, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- provided order and offense to a scenario that lacked both qualities, which helped make the difference in the Giants' 6-4 victory Friday night over the Dodgers.
Tomlinson lined a pinch-hit double off left-hander Tony Cingrani to drive in one of the four seventh-inning runs that erased Los Angeles' 4-2 lead before a howling AT&T Park audience.
"That's his biggest hit of the year," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Tomlinson, who himself came around to score on Joe Panik's sacrifice fly.

Tomlinson's hit followed 's ill-advised dash from second base to third on 's grounder and preceded the awkward balk committed by Dodgers reliever , who toppled off the mound, looking like a child learning to ride a bicycle, when his spikes caught in the dirt.

Though Tomlinson receives few chances to make an impact in his role as a utility infielder, his productivity against the Dodgers shouldn't have been surprising. He owns a .324 career batting average as a pinch-hitter.
"He has a short swing, a base-hit swing," Bochy said. "He doesn't strike out much. You feel comfortable that he's going to put the ball in play."
That's Tomlinson's constant goal when Bochy brings him off the bench to hit.
"I just try to go up there and compete," Tomlinson said, "It's my first at-bat of the day, so you just have to try to figure it out as you go."
Though Tomlinson had faced Cingrani just once, he had a sense of how he would compete against the Dodgers reliever.
"He throws a lot of fastballs," Tomlinson said.
Additionally, with at first base, Tomlinson wanted to avoid grounding into a double play.
"I looked for something to try to get the ball in the air," Tomlinson said.
He didn't, but he made such solid contact on his smash to left field that it might as well have been a drive off the wall.
The Giants' run total was their second-highest of the season against the Dodgers, who limited them to one or zero runs in five of their previous six meetings.
This time, the scintillating pitching belonged to the Giants, who surrendered four hits in 5 2/3 shutout innings after starter allowed all of Los Angeles' runs and four hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Getting ahead of the hitter, no matter who's at the plate, is one of baseball's biggest musts. Holland violated that unwritten law by falling behind on the count 2-0 against before the Dodgers hurler grounded his two-run, fourth-inning double. Though Holland eventually evened the count at 2-2, he worked harder than he had to against a relatively inexperienced hitter.

Though Belt did not hit a home run Friday night, he's one short of matching his personal one-month high of seven, which he reached in May 2015 and August 2015. Two other months in which Belt hit six homers were April 2014 and May 2017. Two Giants who did go deep, and , hiked San Francisco's home run total to 14 in the last nine games.

The Giants will challenge Los Angeles in Saturday's day-night doubleheader with their top starters, at least based on this year's performance. Proud papa Chris Stratton, whose wife gave birth to the couple's second child (daughter Mary) on Wednesday, will pitch the 1:05 p.m. PT opener at AT&T Park opposite . Opponents are hitting .178 off Stratton, who's 2-1 with a 2.32 ERA. In the 7:05 p.m. PT nightcap vs. the Dodgers' Alex Wood, the Giants will go with right-hander , who leads the Majors with a 0.35 ERA. San Francisco is 3-1 when Cueto starts.