Giants dump Dodgers, stretch win streak to four

Brandon McCarthy spun between home and second, second to home.

Arm up ready to throw someone out, he froze as Brandon Crawford scored and Eduardo Nunez slid safely into second base. McCarthy looked just as confused as everyone in the stands.

One inning had yielded a four-hit, four-run fourth inning that propelled the Giants (16-24) to their fourth-straight win, a satisfying 8-4 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers (22-17) Monday night. Can Crawford even explain the play?

He laughed:

“No, I don’t think I can.”

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

There was a semi-consensus about what happened, actually: a happy mistake. Nunez sent a slow rolling seeing-eye dribbler up the middle with Buster Posey at third and Crawford at second with no outs. As Posey trotted home, third base coach Phil Nevin thought second baseman Cris Taylor had the ball and sent Crawford enthusiastically.

Shortstop Corey Seager actually had it and hurled it to McCarthy, who never expected Crawford to try for home, said Bruce Bochy:

“(Nevin) sent him and it worked out because of Nuney.”

Nunez was just distracting and speedy enough: McCarthy would get neither of them out, said Crawford:

“That’s when I froze — McCarthy cut it off and didn’t look at me.”

Nevin’s happy accident wasn’t the only positive influence the third base coach had on this game. The Giants were more aggressive on the base paths, stealing bases, taking healthy leads for hit and runs that resulted in another Giants’ run-frenzy. The line was moving, but for the second game in a row, it was moving in seismic jolts.

That fourth inning was sandwiched between two productive innings. Denard Span continued his hot streak — now 10 hits in his last 26 at-bats — with a game-tying bloop RBI single in the third. Arroyo worked a two-out walk in the sixth, stole his first big-league base, and scored easily on a Mac Williamson hit-and-run single to give the Giants a 6-1 lead. They were getting the type of lucky hits that had felt elusive in games’ past, said Crawford of Span’s game-tying hit:

“To be able to catch a break like that and keep adding on was great.”

Bruce Bochy and his team had a rare cushion they could have only dreamed of a month ago.

And when the wind shifted to the outfield, Posey hit a solo home run that was just 95 mph off the bat, giving the Giants their 12th home run over eight games and Posey his fifth in seven games. They hit 16 in all of April. Nunez went with the wind, too, blasting an RBI double over a confused Joc Pederson‘s head to give the Giants an 8-1 lead through eight innings.

Matt Cain (W, 3-1, 4.04 ERA) relinquished one run through 7-2/3 innings,  his longest outing of the season. He dealt 112 pitches — 20 more than he’s used all season — gave up five hits and struck out five.

That one run came in the third when Seager singled on a sharp ground ball that deflected off Cain’s glove. Yasmani Grandal sent a RBI double into triples alley to score Seager easily. But Cain struck out rookie phenom Cody Bellinger to end the threat and notch his 2,000th inning as a Giant, which made him the 12th in team history to do so.

Another quality Cain start seemed imminent when he escaped a Joc Pederson leadoff double by striking out Seager and Bellinger looking, said Bochy:

“He had some good hitters to go through and got those two called on strikes, shows you how good his command was.”

Said Cain:

“I was just trying to keep it as simple as I could.”

Crawford and Joe Panik have been golden up the middle throughout this home stand, but Monday was Belt’s time to shine.

He snagged an Utley line drive and doubled to squelch any inkling of a rally in the second inning. Pederson sent a scorcher his way in the fifth that he reeled in, too.

They’d need every run, too. The Dodgers came up with a ninth inning rally, scoring three runs on a pair of RBIs and a wild pitch and breaking the bullpen’s scoreless streak at 15-1/3 innings. Derek Law struck out Pederson with a runner on second to end the threat.

Up Next

Ty Blach (0-2, 4.88 ERA) will face Rich Hill (1-1, 3.38 ERA). Clayton Kershaw will face Johnny Cueto on Wednesday.

Notes

Hunter Pence was placed on the 10-day DL with a hamstring strain retroactive to May 13. Mac Williamson was called up to take his place in right field. Bruce Bochy said Williamson will play some left, too. … Mark Melancon threw a 20-pitch bullpen before today’s game. He’s eligible to come off the DL tomorrow, the decision on return will come tomorrow depending on how Melancon feels.


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.