OAKLAND -- Rediscovering the long ball Friday night, the Giants received home runs from Ryder Jones and Pablo Sandoval to support another resolute pitching performance by Dereck Rodriguez in a 5-1 Interleague victory over the Oakland A's.The Giants hadn't homered twice in a game since June 19, 25 games ago.
OAKLAND -- Rediscovering the long ball Friday night, the Giants received home runs from Ryder Jones and Pablo Sandoval to support another resolute pitching performance by Dereck Rodriguez in a 5-1 Interleague victory over the Oakland A's.
The Giants hadn't homered twice in a game since June 19, 25 games ago. They came out of the All-Star break with six homers since July 1, the fewest in the Major Leagues during that span.
Those facts became obsolete before a lively Oakland Coliseum crowd of 45,606 that watched Jones, freshly arrived from Triple-A Sacramento, hammer an Edwin Jackson pitch off the facade of the second deck in right field to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning. Two innings later, Sandoval extended the Giants' edge to 3-1 with his ninth homer of the season.
Summoned here when first baseman Brandon Belt began his paternity leave, Jones almost surely will retreat to the Minors when Belt returns. But Jones may have left an impression with his prodigious drive, which eclipsed anything he did while batting .173 in his 53-game trial with the Giants last year.
"I don't know how long I'll be here, but I just want to show them that I've made a couple of adjustments," said Jones, who mentioned that he has "shortened" his swing and is no longer preoccupied with hitting home runs.
The evening's most complete performance belonged to Giants right fielder Andrew McCutchen, who doubled and scored in the fourth inning, drilled a sacrifice fly in the eighth and made sliding catches of two sinking line drives.
McCutchen's balanced effort was a microcosm of the club's.
"We played very well in all facets," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Got the long ball, but we played small ball too. Got the bunt down, got a sac fly, two-out hits, great game on defense. [Shortstop Brandon] Crawford made a nice play, Cutch had a heck of a game with a couple nice catches out there. He got us going with the double. Buster [Posey], nice job of getting the big two-out base hit. Overall, it had to be one of our better games."
All of that provided ample support for Rodriguez (5-1), who whittled his ERA to 2.72 after allowing fewer than three runs, in 6 1/3 innings, for the seventh time in eight starts. The rookie right-hander remained precise, walking none and allowing three hits, along with Oakland's lone run.
"He's one of those guys who, when he's on the mound, you feel that he thinks he's going to get every hitter out," Jones said. "And you kind of feed off of it."
Rodriguez didn't get overly excited about his winning streak, which he lengthened to four decisions.
"Every day is a new day," he said. "You could have a really good game or you could have a really bad game. I just go out there and concentrate, pitch by pitch, inning by inning, and whatever happens, happens."
That remark reflected Rodriguez's steady demeanor on the mound, which isn't too surprising, given the bloodlines he shares with his father, Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
"Yeah, I feel real calm," he said. "I don't let a lot get to me. The only person I really let get to me is myself. Unless I throw a pitch where it wasn't supposed to be thrown, or a mistake pitch and I know I could've gotten the guy out if I had thrown it where I wanted it. Besides that, it's baseball. They [opponents] are trying to make a living also. So, have fun."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Posey demonstrated the improvement in the condition of his troublesome right hip by lining a fourth-inning RBI single that opened the Giants' scoring.
"Better," he said of his hip. "So I'm happy with that and we'll keep moving forward."
McCutchen finished with eight putouts, one short of his career high. It's the highest putout total by a Giants right fielder in a nine-inning game since Randy Winn also had eight on April 7, 2006, at Atlanta.
The Giants have won four of the last five games started by Madison Bumgarner, who received the assignment for Saturday's Interleague rematch at Oakland. According to Baseball Info Solutions, Bumgarner has had no trouble settling on a favorite off-speed pitch this season. Opponents are 2-for-39 (.051) in at-bats that have ended with his curveball. Bumgarner will oppose right-hander Trevor Cahill, who owns an 11-4 Interleague record.
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.