MIAMI – Here’s how you knew the Giants offense was refreshed and rejuvenated Friday night:
They scored nine runs, and Madison Bumgarner went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts.
An offense that spent six weeks stifling a yawn came roaring out of the All-Star break. Brandon Crawford opened the scoring with a two-run home run to end a remarkable, 11-pitch at-bat, Pablo Sandoval crushed a three-run shot and Bumgarner pitched six effective innings in a 9-1 victory over the Marlins in South Florida.
Michael Morse had two doubles among his three hits and the Giants rediscovered their two-out magic while battering hard-throwing right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. It was the first time they scored nine runs since May 30, when they blitzed Adam Wainwright in St. Louis.
They scored nine without a contribution from Bumgarner, who hit his second grand slam of the season in his last start Sunday to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park.
The Giants’ 17 runs Sunday and Friday matches their most over a two-game span this season.
Starting pitching report
Bumgarner watched Giancarlo Stanton reach the upperest deck in the Home Run Derby in Minnesota, so he couldn’t have been surprised where the ball landed when he hung an 0-1 breaking ball in the sixth inning.
Stanton crushed it over the acid-trip sculpture in center field and off the batter’s eye – one of the longest home runs in the ballpark’s history. But it only counted for one, and Bumgarner yielded nothing else while striking out seven in six innings.
Bumgarner (11-7) worked quickly and threw just 84 pitches through six innings. But he received just four days of rest in between starts, so Manager Bruce Bochy didn’t try to stretch his opening-day starter any further.
Besides, Bumgarner was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts, and you’d hate to have him wear a Golden Sombrero for the first time in his career.
Bumgarner improved to 7-2 with a 1.94 ERA in 11 road starts. For reasons nobody can explain, least of all him, he is 4-5 with a 5.22 ERA in 10 starts at AT&T Park.
Yusmeiro Petit came on to pitch the seventh inning, and for the first time in forever, that wasn’t a sign the Giants were having a bad night.
At the plate
The icebreaker is always the hardest one, and Crawford gave the Giants the kind of hit they’ve lacked since early June.
With two outs in the second inning and Michael Morse at second base, Crawford worked an 11-pitch at-bat – he fouled off four fastballs and a curve with two strikes – that culminated with his eighth home run of the season.
Even though Eovaldi had just showed him the curve, Crawford was geared up and ready to turn around a 96 mph fastball. It was his first extra-base hit since June 25. He had batted .135 in 52 at-bats since then.
The Giants kept the two-out hitting going in the third inning. Hunter Pence drew a one-out walk, and with the runner going on the pitch, Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria made a tremendous play to reverse course and field Joe Panik’s grounder to the left side. Once again, the Giants had a runner at second base and two outs. They came through not once but three times, as Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Morse hit consecutive singles to give the Giants a 4-0 lead.
They drove Eovaldi from the game before he could record an out in the fifth. Pence hustled out a double when his catchable blooper eluded second baseman Ed Lucas in shallow right field, and the Giants took advantage of the break. Panik and Posey singled ahead of Sandoval’s three-run home run.
Just like that, the Giants led 8-0 – and they didn’t have a single grand slam from Bumgarner this time.
Morse doubled and scored on Crawford’s sacrifice fly to cap the five-run fifth inning.
Pence didn’t just spark the Giants on the basepaths. He also leapt high at the angled wall down the right field line and snagged Marcell Ozuna’s foul fly to start the second inning. Basically, if Moises Alou had caught that ballimagine the ball that Steve Bartman so famously deflected down the left field line at Wrigley Field in the 2003 NLCS.
Bumgarner wasn’t the only one who got a break. Bochy replaced Morse, Crawford and Posey in the later innings as well.
The Marlins announced 23,017 paid, and I wonder if they’ll change the name of the center field nightclub from The Clevelander now that LeBron James is back with the Cavs.
The Giants and Marlins continue their three-game series on Saturday at Marlins Park. Tim Hudson (7-6, 2.87 ERA) takes the mound against Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez (6-4, 2.63). First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. PDT.