Giants Open Second Half with Return to Winning Ways

It seems like the All-Star break had no effect on the Giants, as they picked up right where they left off and pounded the Miami Marlins 9-1.

San Francisco didn’t waste much time teeing off on Miami starter Nathan Eovaldi. Michael Morse continued to come out of his June slump with a one-out double down the right field line in the second. With two outs, Brandon Crawford battled through one of his best at-bats of the year, finally launching the 11th pitch into the Marlins bullpen in right to put the Giants up 2-0.

The third inning brought more problems for Eovaldi. Hunter Pence worked a one-out walk, moved to second on a groundout by Joe Panik, and scored on a Buster Posey single. Pablo Sandoval and Morse produced back-to-back singles to bring in Posey and make it 4-0.

Then came the fifth inning, and the San Francisco offense unloaded. Pence led off with a double, Panik singled, and Posey collected his second RBI single of the game before Sandoval crushed a three-run home run over the wall in right. Suddenly, it was 8-0 Giants, and it was the end of the night for Eovaldi (5-5). The Marlins right hander lasted just four innings, allowing nine hits, eight runs, one walk, and striking out five. It was the shortest outing of the year for Eovaldi, and it raised his season ERA from 3.61 to 4.08.

Just for good measure against Dan Jennings, Morse added a double, moved to third on a Brandon Belt groundout, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Crawford to give the Giants nine runs for the first time since May 30 against the Cardinals.

The lone Marlins run came off the bat of – who else – Giancarlo Stanton, who sent a ball deep into centerfield off of Bumgarner with two outs in the sixth. Stanton is now 8-for-13 against the Giants lefty, but despite that ownage, Bumgarner (11-7, 3.38) gave his team exactly what they needed entering the second half of the season. He tossed six innings of one-run ball, giving up four hits, one walk, and striking out seven.

Yusmeiro Petit, Javier Lopez, Juan Gutierrez, and Jean Machi combined to allow three hits and no walks while shutting out the Marlins in the final three innings.

After a prolonged slump throughout June and early July, Friday night was a huge step in the right direction for the Giants offense. Morse’s three hits gave him 14 in July after he only managed 20 in all of June. Friday night was also Crawford’s first home run and three-RBI game since June 5 (pre-team slump) against Cincinnati. It also gave the Giants shortstop eight home runs for the season, one shy of his career-high (nine, in 2013). Five of their nine runs also came with two-outs, something that this line-up has sorely missed over the last five weeks.

They’ll look to continue the upward rise on Saturday evening as Tim Hudson (7-6, 2.87) will take on Henderson Alvarez (6-4, 2.63).

Notes: At the time of this post, the Los Angeles Dodgers were down 3-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth inning. A Dodgers loss would mean a tie between the Dodgers and Giants for first place in the National League West.