If the Giants are using September as a test chamber for 2019, Chris Shaw might be their most intriguing subject.
The powerful rookie followed up the first two-hit game of his career Sunday with a three-hit performance Monday, helping to spur the Giants (71-80) to a 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres (60-91).
Along with Shaw’s three hits, including two doubles, the Giants got long home runs from Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford and an RBI single from Aramis Garcia, moonlighting as a first baseman for the night. The Giants scored more than three runs for just the second time in September and the first time since Sept. 3, and it was enough for Andrew Suarez (W, 7-11, 4.18 ERA), who held the Padres under his thumb for a career-high 7-2/3 innings of two-run ball, allowing four hits, walking three and striking out four.
Suarez credited his mechanics for his recent string of successful outings that includes a pair of seven-shutout-inning starts:
“I think I do a great routine in between starts to stay strong and ready for my start day”
The rookie southpaw was visibly perturbed when Manager Bruce Bochy decided to pull him from the game with only 87 pitches. Suarez said he later apologized to Bochy in the dugout, not wanting to seem like he was showing up the manager. But Bochy only had good things to say about Suarez post-game, lauding his competitiveness:
“What a great job he did. Had a good fastball going, good movement on it. Pitched very efficiently. … I don’t want them to come out. He’s a competitor. We had a guy who’s fresh, been throwing the ball well. … He did his job.”
Entering Sunday, Shaw’s batting average was down to .115, with only one hit and 13 strikeouts in his first 22 major-league at-bats. The five hits in two days nudged Shaw slightly above the Mendoza line to .207, a small sign of progress if he can stay off the interstate for the remainder of the season. Shaw said he’s a feel-based hitter and is starting to get in a groove with consistent playing time:
“When I can get consistent at-bats going, it really pays dividends as far as results. … I’ve always been a guy that tries to think left-center. Because when I start to think about the inside corner, it leaves me susceptible to just about every other pitch other than a fastball on the inside corner. It was a good thing they had a sinker-ball guy going tonight where that has to be your approach anyway or you’re going to roll over to the right side. So that kind of locked me in.”
After Suarez allowed a home run to Padres catcher Austin Hedges in the second inning, the Giants answered in the fourth against starter Bryan Mitchell (L, 1-4, 6.16 ERA). Crawford launched his 13th home run of the season to left-center field. Two batters later, Shaw snuck a double past third baseman Wil Myers. Another two batters later, the Giants had a lead they wouldn’t relinquish after Garcia’s RBI knock to left field.
In the fifth, Longoria took the team home run lead from Gorkys Hernandez and erstwhile Giant Andrew McCutchen with his 16th of the season, a 364-foot blast off the Western Metal Supply Building beyond the left field wall. Longoria needs four more to reach the 20-homer plateau for the sixth consecutive season. Longoria said the success of the team’s rookies bodes well for the Giants going forward:
“There’s a lot of positives in place. From what I understand, and the history of this organization, they’re not really ever going to tear it all the way down. They’re going to try and find a way to make us a competitive group again next year. … All in all, I think there’s a lot of positive stuff in place.”
Suarez gave way to Mark Melancon, who allowed a pair of baserunners that allowed a run to score before giving way to Tony Watson, who finished the inning. Will Smith threw a tidy ninth inning to notch his 13th save.
If the Giants had failed to score more than three runs for the 12th straight game Monday night, it would have been the longest such streak the franchise has had since 1908. … Entering the game, the Giants had scored fewer runs in 2018 than the lowly Orioles. With Toronto beating Baltimore 5-0, the Giants now sit four runs behind the Orioles, 571-575. … Bochy said Brandon Crawford will get a day off on Tuesday against the lefty Lucchesi, with Tomlinson likely getting the start. Crawford admitted post-game he’s been nursing a sore knee as of late.